Queen B started as a hobby that I took up during years of crippling panic attacks. I also tried many, many other forms of treatment / therapy and as I've had quite a few friends and friends of friends reach out recently with mental health crises, I thought I'd jot down a few of the things that work for me just in case they are able to assist someone else.
Firstly, when I am struggling with anxiety or depression, I know my mind has gone into overwhelm and is 'drawing the curtains' so to speak. So, I honour that by:
- eating really healthily (lots of warm, nurturing foods... lots of veggies)... you want to give your body & brain the ultimate fighting chance.
- focusing on my gut flora... the link between gut flora and mental health is now well established. Eat yoghurt. Eat fermented foods. Weed in the garden (for a little explosion of bacteria with every weed pulled).
- making time for gentle exercise twice a day to use up some of the adrenalin (I have to walk quite slowly as if my heart rate gets too high, it can tip me over into a panic attack!!). If it works for you, borrow a dog... Maggie is quite frankly one of the best mental health treatments I have as she makes me laugh daily with her antics.
- stopping drinking alcohol (whilst it may feel as if it helps in the immediate moment, for me, it always means I am a little less on my game and therefore more likely to feel negative or overwhelmed the next day).
- putting a major focus on sleep... turn lights down at least an hour before bed (your body will stop producing cortisol - unless you're panicking - and start producing melatonin). Talk to your GP or pharmacist about taking Circadin (melatonin) which is now available over the counter. I haven't found it works for me but have friends who swear by it.
- try to take the focus off yourself a little... there is nothing like doing something for someone else to give your self esteem a boost. Send a love letter to a friends and/or family. Bake something and give it to people you care about or who are needing a little help. Knit for the needy. Tidy up your local roundabout or garden verge. Send a Care Pack of 'sweetness & light'.
- if life is feeling out of control, wrest a little back by giving your living environment (and mind) a Marie Kondo... two worker bees have just told me that's been one of their recent coping strategies.
Remember your thoughts are only all consuming if you don't give them something else to focus on (which is how I ended up with a beeswax candle business... I found rolling beeswax candles completely meditative and rolled so darn many candles that I started doing markets to fund my hobby). Focus on someone or something else. Take up a hobby. Cook. Garden. Read. Write. Do puzzles. What will your silver lining be? 😂