Wellbeing Matters: a word or two about anxiety

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In our weekly spot where we talk about mental health and wellbeing, just a few words about anxiety in these difficult times.

Hello and welcome to Wellbeing Matters, our weekly spot for a quiet chat. This week, a natter about anxiety.

There’s a lot to be anxious about at the moment, on a personal and global level. Uncertainty, health and economic worries – all can build up to a crescendo in your head, singing a discordant tune that only you can hear, but which buzzsaw away at you on repeat.

Each of us will have a different tune, with a unique discord note. For many of us there may be a sense of helplessness, that events and actions are out of our hands and running away with themselves.  That we are out of control of our own destiny.

Firstly, you are not alone. There are people out here who are willing to listen, to give you a virtual fist bump and a shoulder if you need someone to lean on. Just shout (or whisper) below the line if you need to.

Consider reaching out to the professionals. There’s been a reticence to overburden health services – understandably so. But if you are falling into crisis mode, then contact someone if you feel able to. Your GP, hospital, a charitable organisation. Please reach out for help if you can.

Our anxiety demons play the Devil’s own tune on their fiddles, often with broken strings. Find a way to let them out. An example of the discord in my own head; I’m terrified of leaving the house after eleven weeks indoors. I can’t imagine putting shoes on and walking out the front door. It’s magnified in my mind, as the need to begin leaving the house begins to grow. There are some appointments I can’t put off any longer.

I’m fretting about things I can’t control. This includes summer, my least favourite season. Biting bugs, pollen. You name it, it comes for me in June. Combine these together and my anxiety has skyrocketed. I need to reframe it.

How to do that? It’s not easy. My usual coping mechanism is to go for a long walk, which I can’t do right now. My only available outdoor space is a very untidy back yard. It’s swarming with bugs.

Instead of looking at them through the lens of my anxiety, I’ve taken to examining them through that of the camera on my phone. To capture the critters, to take a good look at what they are.  At the iridescence of their wings, the intricate patterns on their exoskeletons. At what draws them to the yard.

I’ve signed up to the Wildlife Trust’s #30DaysofWild challenge, to give me a focus on what’s out there in my ten-foot square patch of ground. I’m switching my focus from the racket in my mind to the buzz of wings and the irritation of the local blackbirds, intent on murdering snails. There is so much life out there. As yet, none of it has bitten me!

The soundtrack out there is different. Slower. There are grasshoppers and hoverflies. Wildflowers self-seeded from who knows where. Red, green and candy stripe pink spiders. I’ve had this yard for 15 years; only now am I learning to hear it.

How are you all doing? Have you found a way or a challenge to help quieten your mind when you are feeling overwhelmed? How do you change the soundtrack in your mind for the better? Park walks, cycling, running – anything that helps. Is there anything we can do here to help you? Give us a shout below the line if there are any topics you’d like to see us cover.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Details of the Wildlife Trusts’ 30 Days of Wild challenge can be found here.

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