Tag Archives: anxiety

Three things to add to your first aid kit for minor mental health issues


Do you think: there are two types of people, those with mental health problems and those with no mental health problems? I used to think that way too. Like an on-off switch. Now I think of mental health as being on a slider switch.

Physical health can be like that. We can have cuts and pains that aren’t life threatening but require some form of physical first aid kit full of bandages and ASA to help us. Similarly, we can have minor bouts of anxiety and depression that also need dealing with. We should have a mental first aid kit to help us with that too.

Here’s three things to consider putting in your mental first aid kit. First, if you are feeling down more than usual, I recommend adding the HALT method. As they explain here,  How To Use the HALT Method When You’re Grumpy | Well+Good:

What Is the HALT Method? HALT stands for: Hungry Angry Lonely Tired The HALT method is based around the premise that you’re more likely to make poor, highly emotional decisions when hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. “The purpose is to help us identify these experiences when we are tempted to engage in a negative behavior and to instead address the underlying issue,” says Kassondra Glenn, LMSW, a social worker and addiction specialist at Diamond Rehab.

I’d add hungry or thirsty. I don’t know how many times I felt down in a minor way, drank some water, then suddenly felt better. Your down moods may be more serious than this, but like any first aid, try that first and see if it helps.

A second thing to put in your first aid kit is movement. Getting out and using your body has well been shown to help with anxiety and depression. Take a look at how much activity (or not) you’ve been doing when you are feeling slightly mental ill. You may need to get out more and move around. Even a brisk walk. For more on how to go about this and why, read: Can Moving the Body Heal the Mind? – The New York Times

The third thing I’d add is logging. Keep track of your moods and feelings and combine that with self care you’ve been applying to yourself. Log your sleep, your eating, your socializing and your movement and combine that with tracking your mood. Then try to apply the things discussed here and see if it changes.

Finally, if you had a headache or some other pain and you treated it and it persisted, you’d go see a doctor (I hope). Likewise with mental pains and sores. If these things don’t help you, go see your doctor. Take care of yourself the best way you can. For physical and mental illness.

A different kind of notebook: The Anti-Anxiety Notebook

Yesterday I recommended a paper planner. Today I am recommending a different type of paper product, The Anti-Anxiety Notebook. If you suffer from anxiety and cannot get the help you need to deal with it, such a notebook can help you. If you can get help, this notebook could supplement it.

It’s a well-designed book for dealing with anxiety and the approach they recommend I found useful in my dealings with my own anxiety. If you are interested but unsure, talk to a medical professional about it. But please check it out if you or someone you love suffers from anxiety.

(Photo by Ashley West Edwards on Unsplash )

If you are suffering from the Sunday Scarries (with some extra thoughts from me)


If you have those feelings of dread and anxiety at the thought of work tomorrow, then read this:What are the Sunday scaries and how can you banish them?

Lots of good advice in there on how to get rid of them.

Some other things to consider:

  • If you can, on the Friday before, try and leave something positive to work on or do for the upcoming Monday. Try and fill Monday (or at least Monday morning) with positive tasks and meetings.
  • Another thing you can do on that Friday is outline what you plan to accomplish the following week and then stay focussed on that as you ease into Monday. If you can focus on things you want to achieve over the week, it helps dilute the dip into cold water that Monday leaves you feeling.
  • Acknowledge that other people feel that way and make sure that on Monday you fill their day with positive thoughts and feelings. Doing that will pay you dividends as they will likely reciprocate that positivity. It’s a win-win for all, and your Mondays will take on a more positive vibe, which should help lessen the Sunday scarries.

(Photo by Alexandra Gorn on Unsplash )

If you think you are suffering from complex PTSD

If you think you might be suffering from PTSD, I recommend you review this checklist: Signs You Might Be Suffering from Complex PTSD.

As someone who suffered from PTSD, I found it useful. If too many of them ring a bell for you, what should you do? First,

… stop being brave. We should allow ourselves to feel compassion for who we were; that might not be easy, given how hard we tend to be with ourselves. The next step is to try to identify a therapist or counsellor trained in how to handle Complex PTSD

There is nothing wrong with being brave. It’s admirable in many ways. Just don’t let it get in the way of getting help.

.(Photo by Finn on Unsplash )

Some CBT Resources online you may find useful

Man thinking.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy is an effective way to deal with many forms of anxiety and depression. I’d argue it can help people with their thinking in general. If you are looking for tools to help you with it, here are two sets of resources:

  1.  Online Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Workshop
  2. CBT Worksheets (includes this PDF comes).

(Photo by Darius Bashar on Unsplash)

Quote

Tools to help you deal with anxiety, during a pandemic, or otherwise

I think this is a terrible headline, which is too bad, because there is much to take away from this piece:  How to stay sane when the world’s going mad | MIT Technology Review

There are tools and advice in there, including this:

  • Notice when you are worrying, and be kind and compassionate to yourself. This is a difficult time; it makes sense that you might be more anxious.
  • Focus on what’s in your control. Work out what is a hypothetical worry (you cannot do anything about it) and what is a real problem (needs a solution now).
  • Refocus on the present moment. Focus on your breath, or on using your five senses.
  • Engage in activities that you find meaningful and enjoyable. That could include music, walking, reading, baths, household tasks, or calls with friends and family.
  • Notice and limit your worry triggers. If the news is making you anxious, limit your consumption.
  • Practice gratitude. List the things you were grateful for that day: for example, “The sun was shining.”
  • Keep a routine, and stay mentally and physically active.

 

Quote

How to Harness Your Anxiety


Easier said than done, I know. But worth addressing. And not impossible. Good luck! Anxiety may seem like a tiger, but it can also be a horse: you can get a grip on it, break it, and use it to your advantage even.

How to Harness Your Anxiety – The New York Times

Quote

The Apollo 11 mission as told through the astronauts’ heart rates

This is fascinating: The Apollo 11 mission as told through the astronauts’ heart rates | Popular Science

Here’s Armstrong:

A good reminder that even the best prepared and most cool can still have elevated heart levels under stress.

On August Blues 

If you feel yourself out of sorts or not your best in the month of August, you are not alone.  August can trigger bad emotional responses in us for a number of reasons, whether we love the summer or hate it. To see what I mean, see this: August Blues Are Like Sunday Blues, But for a Full Month — Science of Us.

I would add for some, August can be the most extreme month in terms of weather (just like February) and that can make it difficult to deal with too. If you find yourself struggling at this time of the year, cut yourself some slack and prepare yourself for the true start of the new year: September. (A much nicer month than August for many reasons).