A morning routine for a bundle of nerves.

As you have probably gathered from this little corner of the internet if you aren’t a stranger – I am a little bundle of nerves, all squishy and squeaky, and sometimes even am an entire, complete, mess. The mess part usually happens when I’m Wednesday-deep in a week-long bender of panic attacks, whereas the wild bundle of nerves part is my general, day-to-day state of being.

Mornings with anxiety are not often pretty. Instead of rolling out of bed and dancing around with some small, singing animals like in a Disney movie, you might kind of topple out of bed, with a mountain of panic about the day ahead rising in your chest. Sometimes I wake up with my heart pounding, my hands and feet numb and with pins and needles, feeling dizzy. It’s weird; like being awoken mid panic attack.

Having a good morning routine has helped me to manage my anxiety immensely in the past, however I also know that I can do better. A set plan of action, or plan of attack, depending on how you look at it, for the morning, has about an 80% chance of making your day just that little bit better and more bearable. This isn’t a scientific statistic, in any way, but I have found that my immediate actions when I wake up have a definite influence on how my day progresses.

Day 3 – Create a new morning routine.

early, morning, mountain range

Here are some ideas that help bundle of nerves me, to cope with mornings, and what helps to ease our good friend anxiety even just a little bit.

Eat breakfast. This sounds like your mum, teacher, and a Wheatbix advertisement all rolled into one, but it’s true. Your body needs fuel to give the day all it needs, and your brain needs fuel to keep recovering. It’s tough work! We cannot expect our bodies to live a good, whole life, when they have nothing to sustain them. Eat some food with lots of nutrients, or eat some food that makes you soul happy. Either way, simply eating something will help, an awful lot.

Get up. Get out. It seems as though every time I want nothing more than to stay in bed, hiding in our room all day, that this is quite possibly the worst thing I could do. Shock horror! Listening to your head telling you to isolate yourself, that everyone hates you, that you don’t deserve anything good, and all that palava, all day long, isn’t going to help you to feel better. It’s rubbish, and it’s just going to make you feel like so. Hop out of bed, and drag yourself out to the mailbox or into the garden, literally anywhere, aside staying in bed. Written from past experience of many miserable days, I promise it will help.

Shower and get dressed. Showering and putting on clothes for the day makes it feel as though the day is official. That it’s here, and that I can’t hide from it! Because I got dressed already! I feel more able to tackle the day when I’m not in pyjamas, and I’m also less likely to hide away from the world too (bonus points).

Do something for you. Having something to look forward to and be excited about, regardless of how small or trivial it seems, is so important for when the going gets tough. Your morning could include planning something fun for later in the week, talking to somebody you care about, having a delicious breakfast (yes, breakfast is definitely something you can get excited about), or even just reading a chapter of a good book. The mindfulness that may accompany this part will also do very nice, very sweet, massaging to those pesky little claws of anxiety.

Mornings can be wonderful opportunities and bright nightmares, all rolled into one. Yet they are also incredibly powerful, because they set the foundation for the rest of the day. What do you do in the morning, which helps you?


Planning for a healthy 2018.

Ever since my therapist explained the importance of planning my days to help care for my mental health, it’s like a lightbulb switched on in my head. And it’s still shining bright!

For someone like me, who has had a longtime foe called anxiety, simple, everyday tasks can easily become overwhelming. They can feel as though they are all stampeding towards me, and by that stage, my brain utterly convinced that I can’t handle any of them. This contributes to the frequency and intensity of the panic attacks I experience. It goes without saying that generally, the more collected, confident and organised I feel, the less anxiety reigns it’s ugly head and spews out panic attacks. Sorry for the ugly image there. But as anyone who has even merely heard of a panic attack knows – there really isn’t a pretty way to describe them.

A few months ago, my therapist began to help me plan my days for several reasons. The first, as explained above, is that it aids in stabilising my mental health. The second, is that on days that seem impossible to live through, even if I can accomplish the smallest, easiest task on my list, this lessens the feelings of hopelessness, and turns them more into a sort of hope. The third is that I thrive on productivity and routine, and being busy helps to keep anxiety at bay. It also helps my confidence and self-esteem. Last but not least, something I am working on through recovery is creating balance and engaging in self-care, so planning helps me to schedule it all in.

As 2018 is rapidly approaching, my little organised and perfectionist self is getting so excited about a brand new year. New classes will start, I get to take brand new notes (!!!), and I am also hoping to take up the opportunity to start planning my days in a new way.

At the moment, I have a standard planner, where I chuck in everything from my shifts at work, to class times, to assignments, to therapy times, to family and friend things, to birthdays, to random notes. It’s all a big, messy jumble, which is quite an eyesore. I feel as though if I curated it all in a different way, things would seem less overwhelming. It would also enable me to have clearer intentions for each day, and to work my goals into my plans to make them achievable.

White Paper With Note

So, please enter, (about three years too late, I know), the bullet journal. Or something of the sorts anyway.

One of my goals for before January 1st 2018 is to have organised out my planning for the year. I’m hoping to create healthy daily morning and night routines, which includes things that I am learning impact my mental health in a positive way. Things like taking my medication, reading, going outside, exercising, mindfulness time and communicating. I am also hoping to write down my toolbox of strategies, such as mindfulness skills, and DBT techniques, so that I have a physical list in front of me when I need it.

Also, I’m not going to lie, but I do get all wide-eyed in wonder looking at all the pretty colours and the aesthetics of bullet journals. That is definitely part of the pull towards it all.

Something that does put me off bullet journaling a little bit, is how perfect they always look online. I know logically that this isn’t real life, and that these books are not perfect. However, I’m afraid of getting so wrapped up in it looking perfect, and never being able to make it that way, that it will all just crumble around me. Therefore, this is something I have to remember throughout the process, and to just let myself simply be. Hopefully along the way of creating the journal, I will learn give more energy to being creative rather than being perfect. Creativity and growth beats perfection any day.

Some ideas of what I am hoping to include in my bullet journal are goals, well more aims, for my mental health and mindfulness, alongside goals for university, work, writing, and life after graduation, such as jobs and house savings.

2018 – you scare me, you make me excited, and you fill me with hope.