Perhaps you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious right now. Or maybe life just feels chaotic. You are not alone, and you are stronger than you think. Here are some things I learnt when life felt like it was closing in around me.”
This time last year was probably the hardest time of my life so far.
On the outside everything was great! I had just got married to the love of my life, I was in a great job which I loved, finished my master’s degree and I’d moved into my first home. Life looked perfect, and to be honest, it really wasn’t far off! Life really was great. But yet, in the midst of great joy, happiness and success, my mind descended into chaos.
I started to experience something that I had never really experienced before. Moderate anxiety. I would never have described myself as an anxious person, but I found myself crying uncontrollably a lot, experiencing moments of intense panic over the smallest of inconveniences or comments, and being completely unable at times to even make the most insignificant of decisions. I hated feeling controlled by anxiety.
It took time, but I learnt how to manage the anxiety I was feeling. Do I still have days where I feel anxious? Of course, I do – it’s normal to! But there are a few things I have learnt through the process which I hope might be helpful to share.
It is okay.
Feeling anxious is a natural reaction to situations and circumstances, and it is okay to feel anxious. It is okay to feel depressed. It is okay to feel overwhelmed. Allow yourself to sit with the emotion a while, don’t ignore or bury it, acknowledge it. Then decide to move forward from the emotion, situation or circumstance.
Chaos does not define you.
It was easy for me to allow anxiety to define who I was. How could someone who could not even make a decision still dare to call herself a leader? I found that at my lowest, it would have been easy for me to disregard everything I believed about myself, everything I believed God had spoken over my life, and to dwell on feelings of purposelessness and disappointment. But that is not who I am. I have a purpose, I am more than how I feel, and I am strong. And so are you.
The chaos around you, whether that is a physical situation, or like me, a mental health battle, does not have to define you, you are not your anxiety, failure or illness. You have control over your attitude and response.
YOU are the single most important thing.
It is not selfish to look after yourself. It is not selfish to have ‘me-time’, or to treat yourself to something you enjoy. If you do not prioritise yourself, how do you expect to be able to prioritise others?
Seriously, I learnt that regularly having a bubble bath, with a face mask, hot chocolate and candles is my ultimate way to care for myself (Cruises and holidays are also great for relaxing, but these aren’t possible every weekend!!). I have a ‘Self-Care Survival Box’, full with bath bombs, aromatherapy oils, face masks and candles so that I am always ready to pamper myself, especially when I feel anxious or upset. I would encourage you to find your ways of looking after yourself and build it into your routine.
Seeking help is NOT Failure.
Sometimes we need someone who is outside of our own mind to help us make sense of it. Whether that is a trusted friend or a counsellor, I cannot emphasise enough the significance of talking things through. Counsellors are incredible, they are trained to help you make sense of your thought processes, and I found talking things through with one helped me to process what I was going through.
It is important to have friends around you who will remind you of the truth when your thoughts are cloudy. An encouraging text in a moment of chaos seriously can be an absolute lifeline. You need people who will challenge negative thought patterns, and remind you who you are.
Perhaps you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious right now. Or maybe life just feels chaotic. You are not alone, and you are stronger than you think. I’d encourage you, I believe in the peace that comes through Jesus, so why not pray? I genuinely believe that the peace of God surpasses all understanding, and for me, prayer has been essential to my personal journey. I am not ‘fixed’, I still feel anxious sometimes, but I find peace in the presence of God, and I know that you can too.
I’ve given you some thoughts about what I’ve learnt through the past year, but I am by no means an expert! How do you deal with anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, or life’s curveballs? I would love to hear your thoughts.
Image Credits: Photo by nikko macaspac on Unsplash, aaron-burden
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