Speaking to a trained mental health professional is 100% wellness and 0% wankery. We need to give our emotional health the same importance we give our physical wellbeing.

Anxiety is a journey many of us navigate silently. From early signs to diagnosis, medication, therapy, and the continuous quest for mental peace.

So, let’s get into it and unravel the tangled web of anxiety together.

What does anxiety look like?

Anxiety often creeps in unnoticed. Masquerading as persistent worry, stress over life’s milestones or even daily tasks. 

It can feel like a constant overwhelm. It’s like you have this idea of all the things you should be doing, but feel so paralysed you’re not able to do anything. You just want to press pause on life and be able to catch up.

And if it feels like you’re keeping your head under water, it’s a cue to make an appointment with your doctor and talk through your symptoms.

Navigating the maze: anxiety treatment and therapy

The path to managing anxiety is far from linear. Often involving different treatments. From medication and therapy to a myriad of coping strategies. 

​​Therapy is a cornerstone of a coping mechanism. And seeing a psychologist can be extremely helpful. These health professionals are trained to give you the tools and advice to feel more clear-headed, calm and at peace with yourself. Especially if you’ve been diagnosed with anxiety, depression, or any other mental health condition. 

Speaking to a professional can be beneficial for everyone, not just those with mental health issues. Because going to a session helps you feel even better. And makes it a lot easier to work on yourself when everything’s not on fire.

The therapist hunt

Finding the right therapist is a lot like dating. It requires patience and persistence to find someone you’re compatible with. And the start of your ‘dating’ journey may involve a lot of trial and error.

Once you’ve gotten a referral from your doctor, book your first appointment with a therapist. And if you like them and feel like there’s something there, stick around and keep seeing them.

But know this: sometimes finding the right therapist means navigating through mismatches. Until you click with someone who feels like a friend, who’s done a lot of training on the brain.

Be the DJ of your own mental health party

Think of it this way: managing anxiety is like being the DJ of your mental health party. You’ve got to spin the right tracks to keep the vibe chill. If you’re thinking “what the heck are you on about?!” – let me break it down into the killer tracks for your anxiety management playlist.

Track 1: Mental health walks 

These walks are like your personal escape button, a way to step away from the chaos and just breathe. Exercise in general can be a powerful natural anti-depressant. And when we exercise, we naturally release ‘happy neurotransmitters’ like serotonin into our brain. So, exercise for your mental health first. And your physical health second.

And yes, walking counts towards exercise. But you can also go to a yoga class, pilates, hit the gym or go for a run. Choose something that feels enjoyable and doable.

Track 2: Sleepy stories

Think of your bedtime routine as a pre-sleep concert. It’s all about setting the stage for a night of restorative sleep. Ditch the screens and their blue-light buzzkill. Instead, get cozy with a book, tune into a podcast or listen to relaxing music. Your bedroom should be cool, dark, and oh-so-comfy.

This track is all about turning sleep into a nightly highlight. Not a struggle.

Track 3: Brain fuel

What you eat impacts your mood. Instead of focusing on what you can’t eat, focus on filling up on more healthy, mood-boosting foods that make you feel good. 

You can find heaps of delicious, healthy recipes on my website, or get over 550 recipes in the palm of your hand from my Back to Basics app- you can even try it 7 days free.

Side note: If you regularly drink alcohol, this might be something worth taking a break from… it could be the very thing that’s fuelling your anxiety.

Track 4: Self-care

Find some ‘you time’ during the day – a peaceful moment without the buzz of social media or screens. Just you. Unwinding in your favourite way. Whether it’s getting lost in a captivating book, going on a walk, cooking up something delicious, or calling your bestie.

By spinning these tracks regularly, you’re not just managing anxiety; you’re remixing it. You’re taking what could be a solo tour of stress-town and turning it into a curated festival of feel-good vibes.

Remember, it’s not about silencing the anxiety DJ for good. It’s about learning to change the records and control the volume. So, keep that playlist handy, and whenever anxiety tries to crash your mental party, you’ll know exactly what track to play.

Work with your anxiety – not against it

One of the biggest things my therapist taught me is that everyone’s brain has a manual on how it operates. Instead of fighting against yourself, understand your manual and do things that work for you.

So, if you’re not a morning person, accept that’s the way it is and don’t always put pressure on yourself to change every part of you. That’s so overwhelming. Feeling guilty when you do things differently? Accept this is the way you operate. And that’s okay!

Learning to nod to your brain’s quirks without feeling like you’ve gotta redo your entire self is a game changer. It’s like saying, “Hey brain, you’re kinda intense, but that’s cool. Let’s not turn everything into a makeover project.” How you respond to these inner thoughts is your ticket to feeling more at peace. Plus, it’s way more fun than trying to be perfect all the time. 

After being diagnosed with clinical anxiety back in 2011, there are MANY lessons I’ve learned. If you want to know what they are, read this blog.

The lifeline of support: anxiety medication and beyond

For a lot of us, medication is a powerful ally. Helping us climb out of anxiety’s depths.

It’s important to remember that reaching for medication isn’t a sign of defeat. It’s part of a broader strategy to manage anxiety with a supportive tool in your corner.

And lastly, please know this: in the journey of anxiety, you’re not trekking solo. Acknowledging you need a hand is often the first step towards finding your way out.

For more information, check out the awesome peeps at Beyond Blue.

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