Categories
Self Development

Managing Anxiety

Anxiety is something that so many suffer with. It creeps up when we are least expecting it, and can even stop us from doing the things we really want to do.

It is a completely normal feeling to have, but it can get overwhelming and start to effect your life. It’s hard to carry on as normal when it can bring physical side effects like panic attacks, heightened emotions and nausea.

I like to think I am quite a confident person but anxiety is something I still suffer with! I find myself shaking, feeling sick and fighting back tears when it hits hard. However over the years I have found several ways to manage it, and the more I do these things, the easier it gets, so I wanted to share them with you!

Accept you have anxiety

The first stage in managing your anxiety, is accepting you have anxiety. If you can accept thats what the feeling is, it’s a lot easier to manage it. And if you can accept it, you can start to figure out what the cause of it is. For me, I know that my anxiety is triggered when I have to talk about myself with figures of authority. And from that I can recognise that it most likely stems from feelings of embarrassment and a fear of showing weakness. Being able to recognise that means I am able to work on it and figure out why I have these feelings!

Prepare

If I know I have something coming up that is going to cause me anxiety, I like to prepare myself as best as I can. If it is something that can be scheduled like a meeting, I make sure it is first thing in the morning so that I don’t have too much time to overthink it. The night before I will make sure I get an early night, I will do things I find calming like have a bath, watch a film, and try to keep my mind off of whatever it is I feel anxious about. I ensure I have everything ready for the morning, and that I get up early enough that I am not going to be in a rush.

This allows me to be in the calmest frame of mind possible when anxiety does hit. If I didn’t prepare, chances are I would be running around in the morning, adding to the stress I am already feeling, and just making it worse!

Talk to someone

They say a problem shared is a problem halved, and it really does help. Talking to someone helps get your anxious thoughts out of your head, and friends and family will always try to reassure you and help you. You may be embarrassed or afraid, but the more you talk to people, the more you will see that these things are completely normal, and everyone has the same feelings from time to time.

Meditate

Meditation can be a really good way of working through your emotions, whilst also calming your mind. When you are anxious it can be hard to control the thoughts in your mind which is why I like to use guided meditations or yoga to calm me. I used guided meditations and yoga it gives you something to focus on apart from your thoughts. For guided meditations I like to use the app Happy Not Perfect as it gives you little tasks to do, which is a great way to start getting into meditation, as it doesn’t feel as silly as sitting down in silence can do!

Or if that is still a little too holistic for you, following a simple yoga video will help to relax your body and your mind, and is a form of meditation that doesn’t really feel like meditation! Often I find a lot of clarity after my yoga classes, and since I started practicing yoga more often I’ve been a lot calmer in general!

Distract your mind

Whilst it is good to acknowledge your anxiety, sometimes you just need a distraction from it. Watching films, reading books, or even scrolling through Instagram can actually help! Not only will it distract you from what’s going on in your mind, mote often than not you will come across messages that will help you too. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve been anxious about something, and I’ve been reading or watching a film, and there has been a some kind of message in the story that relates to what I’m going through. Even looking at positive quotes on instagram, often I come across the exact words I need to hear.

Breathe deeply and slowly

With my personal anxiety it mainly occurs when I am talking to people, so it can be really hard to control when I’m trying to hide it from other people. The best advice I can give is to breathe, long, deep, slow breaths, to calm yourself. Something I struggle with the most is getting emotional whilst I’m talking, I will feel absolutely fine, and then all of a sudden I have tears coming out of my eyes and I lose control over my voice. At this point I focus on taking deep breaths and answer in short sentences if people ask me questions, which helps me to control my outbursts.

I even tell people sometimes that I’m feeling anxious, and that I may randomly burst out crying, as then they are expecting it, so it’s not so embarrassing when it happens! But the main thing I always focus on is breathing, it’s amazing how a few deep breathes can really calm you.


In my experience, the more you deal with your anxiety, the easier it will get. I purposefully put myself in situations that are out of comfort zone, because the rush I get afterwards when I see that actually, I survived and it wasn’t as bad as I thought, helps to reduce my anxiety the next time.

I hope that by sharing the ways I deal with anxiety it can help others! It doesn’t always come easily, and I have days where I really struggle to get it under control, but it doesn’t need to take over your life!

If anxiety is something that is seriously impacting your life, you may need some help from someone else. Talking to your GP or a counsellor can be so helpful to get to the bottom of what is causing your anxiety, and they will help you to find better ways of coping with it!

Click here to see a list of helplines, charities and services that are there to help you with your anxiety!

Please share if you have found any other useful ways of dealing with anxiety!

B x

Categories
Equality Self Development

Three Films You Should Watch Now.

Before I start, I just want to say, I hope this post does not come across as jumping on a bandwagon. As a person with white privilege I am very aware I am beyond unqualified to talk about race. But I believe very strongly that it is our responsibility to better educate ourselves and others so that we can work towards a truly equal society.

It can be hard to know where to start, as there are so many documentaries, books, films, articles, podcasts etc. that talk about racism. So I thought I would share three films that had a significant impact on my understanding of racism. I hope by sharing these, they may help you to get a better understanding too.

The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give has probably had the biggest impact on me than any other film I’ve ever watched. It depicts modern day America, and follows a teenage black girl called Starr who lives between two worlds, the black neighbourhood she lives in, and the white school she goes to. Her whole world is changed, when she witnesses her friend be wrongfully murdered by a white police officer.

This film will educate you on many things, the extent of racial inequality in the U.S. and it’s police force, the absurd things that are normal for black people such as teaching their children how to act if they get pulled over by a policeman, and how white people can be racist, even when they think they are not. I honestly believe this film should be watched by everyone, it is incredibly moving and eye-opening and really reflects what is happening now.

The photo at the top of this article is actually from The Hate U Give, looks a lot like the news from the U.S. right now doesn’t it.

Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures takes us back to the 60’s and follows three black women who work at NASA. One of the women Katherine, is assigned to work in the all white male team who were responsible for calculating the launch of the U.S.’s first piloted spacecraft. It highlights the racism she faced every day at work. Being mistaken for a cleaner, restricted access to essential information, not being allowed to use the same coffee pot and segregated bathrooms, being just a few examples that were social norms in the 60’s.

The scene where she has to inform her colleagues that the reason she disappears for 40 mins everyday, is because she has to run half a mile to get to the nearest ‘coloured’ bathroom, is heartbreaking. It is crazy to think this was the world my grandparents grew up in, just 60 years ago.

Selma

Selma portrays a significant event in black history, when Martin Luther King Jr. lead a campaign to secure equal voting rights for black people. Before watching this film I had no idea that as late as the 60’s, not all black people had the right to vote. This film exposes the sheer brutality that these peaceful protests received, something that we’ve recently seen still happens today.

An important part of educating yourself about racial inequality is to look at the history, only then can you begin to understand the depths of the injustice. This film really highlights the extreme opposition that many people had towards equal rights, and the danger activists were faced with.

So those are three films, that have educated me on racial inequality. There are so many more out there, some better than others, but these are the three that really had an impact on me.

I leave you with a quote from Hidden Figures.

“Let me ask you, if you were a white male, would you wish to be an engineer?”

“I wouldn’t have to. I’d already be one.”

B x

Categories
Positivity Self Development

Graduating in Lockdown

First of all, if you have finished your degree – congratulations! What an incredible achievement, through one of the most challenging times you managed to get your work done and finish, you should be proud of yourself!

However, graduating in a global pandemic changes things. Graduation ceremonies have been postponed, you didn’t get a last day and the job market doesn’t look the best right now! But, as always, I am determined to see the positives, and so I have put together a list of things you CAN do when you have graduated in lockdown. And, if you are feeling a bit lost and don’t know what to do – I’m sharing with you a simple way to find a career that you will love!

Relax

Remember when you had a million things to do, deadlines were looming and every time you watched Netflix you would start to feel guilty because you weren’t working? Well, no longer! You have worked incredibly hard over the last couple of years and now you can relax. You may still be working, but your free time is now free time.

Watch all the Netflix shows, sleep in til whatever time you want, sunbathe in the sun all day – whatever it is you need to do to relax – do it, you have time for it now! And enjoy the feeling! It’s not often in our lives that we have time to completely relax and not do anything. Take some time to clear your mind and re energize yourself, so that when you do decide you are ready to start looking into your future career you feel ready.

Volunteer

If you feel like you have a little too much free time right now, and you are eager to get your career started, a great thing you can do is volunteer to build up some experience for your CV or portfolio! There are some great initiatives starting, to help connect skilled people with volunteer opportunities like Furlonteer, which is where you can volunteer your time to help charities using your skills!

Not only will this give you something to do, but it will allow you to practice your skills, so when you do apply for a new job you will already have some experience! Also if you are currently unemployed, your volunteering role will fill a gap in your CV whilst you look for work which will make you look better to potential employers!

Develop

As you have some extra time, you can use this time to do some training to help you be more prepared for your new career! There are lots of free online courses at the moment as well as a tonne of free webinars which you can learn a lot from. So if you know there’s a skill you will need to get a job, and you feel you need more training in it, now is the perfect opportunity to learn! This will impress future employers as it will show you have been proactive in preparing yourself for your career during a time when most people have just sat on the sofa!

Figure out what to do

If you don’t know what to do, I feel you, I had no idea when I finished my degree. But now is the perfect time to figure that out, you don’t have to rush into a new job! You have the free time, so think about what sort of career you would like, do you want to start your own business, or do you want to stay in education and study further? I recommend having a look at different job descriptions in your field, read what someone in that role actually does to see if it interests you, and read the requirements to see if they match your skills! 

Now if you really don’t know what to do next, I have something to help you! Finding a career can seem really daunting, especially if your degree opens you up to lots of different careers. I had no idea, so I did a lot of research into how to find a career, and from this I have put together a way that will help you to pinpoint a career that you will not only be good at, but also one that you will love! Which is what we all want right?!

This worksheet will help you to figure out your dream career by getting you to think about four things 1. What you like doing, 2. What you are good at, 3. How you like to work and 4. What you can actually get paid for. Then based on what you have written, you can look for jobs that have things from each box to find your dream career!

To show you how it works here’s mine:

As you can see each box prompts you to think about something slightly different. By combining elements from each box you can find a career that satisfies each one! So for me, I knew I liked design, I felt I was good at it, I liked working from home and for myself, and I realised I could actually get paid for my design work and potentially sell my designs! Which is how I settled on starting my own design business as it is the perfect combination of my interests, strengths and will actually provide me with an income!

I want you to be able to find your dream career too, as working should be something we enjoy not something we have to do! Download my free dream career finding sheet below!

Let me know if this helped you, I’d love to know what your dream careers are – let me know in the comments!

As always, stay safe & stay positive,

B x