After a hard breakup just before Christmas, I was feeling pretty sh*t. No motivation to do anything, very little appetite, and boxes of tissues used up in one night. Aside from all that, I also felt anxious and helpless, as this boy who clearly stopped caring about me had made me feel this way and it was taking control.
So, after some thinking, I decided that I didn’t want the anxiety to keep progressing and becoming worse. I needed to be able to live without him and I needed to distance myself and be independent. I started researching how to be happier after a breakup and some self-care techniques that I hadn’t already heard about. In this post, I talk about the ways that I was able to alleviate the anxiety I was experiencing and just become happier in general.
Distance yourself from toxic people
Firstly, I thought about what he had done – broken up with me at one of the worst times of the year, broken up with me via text and just given little warning or explanation. Of course, apart from being upset, I should have been angry. It was hard to be mad at him because I do believe I love him but I was able to distance myself and stop myself talking to him, and it really did help. If there are people like that in your life or people who bring you more sadness than they do happiness, or they are just generally a bad friend, try to distance yourself.
There are other signs of a toxic friend, so if someone you know is beginning to put you down and make you feel bad about yourself, it’s probably a sign that you should drop them and move on. People who are overly jealous and clingy, who ask you to choose between them and something else, or people who seem to cause a negative impact on you and your life shouldn’t be prioritised.
Put yourself first
Think about what you want and try to put yourself first, as this will really reduce feelings of anxiety and improve both your mental and physical health. Don’t do something that will negatively affect you, even if it does make someone else happier.
If someone wants something that you don’t, think about whether you also want it and whether it will be positive for you. Although this is more about relationships than anything else, you can also apply it to other things. If someone is trying to pressure you into something, don’t. If people want to make arrangements that cause you stress or anxiety, simply cancel and give them a quick explanation why. Start living your life how you want to live it and choose what’s in your best interests.
Do what you like
Since the breakup, I’ve probably met up with six or seven people, organised many meetups and brunch dates, written about eight blog posts and had probably close to 20 baths with a bath bomb and a face mask; after being sad, your self-esteem can take a hit and self-care is a great way to become a little more confident and enjoy life more.
Create positive distractions
So important! If you are dealing with something right now, remember to schedule distractions that can be something you look forward to and enjoy. This follows on from the last tip, and you can do anything from booking a movie night with a friend or the family, organising a trip to a theme park, booking a coffee date with a friend or having a bubble bath. Doing exciting things like this will almost definitely provide a way for you to relax, take care of yourself and take your mind off anything that’s on your mind. This should also allow you to reduce any feelings of anxiety and be happier, even if it’s for a short time.
There are many ways you can distract yourself from the everyday stress of a job or school, and many of them are free; take a walk, bake something, reread an old book or re-watch an old film, or just add something fun that you’ve been wanting to do into the diary.
Take time for yourself
Ensure that you are taking some time every day, even if it is only ten or fifteen minutes, to think and just <strong>be</strong>. This can prevent panic attacks and it also alleviates anxiety as meditation and mindfulness techniques are relatively easy to adopt and can be done daily without setting out a whole hour to do.
If you have a very busy schedule and taking even fifteen minutes for yourself per day is difficult, it could be time to adjust and change up your lifestyle a little. Mental health disorders can be caused if you don’t practise self-care, and stressful jobs or people who experience feelings of stress a lot are a lot more likely to develop both anxiety and depression than people who are less stressed.
If meditation isn’t your thing, no worries; take a walk, lie on your bed, do a face mask, light a candle, do some baking or just spend time doing something relaxing that you enjoy. Any ‘me time’ will be beneficial to your mental health as it allows your brain to relax and de-stress a little, which reduces symptoms of anxiety and also wards off depression. Plus, your physical health will also be helped as the lower stress levels are great for heart health and just general health.
Improve your sleep cycle
So important! Having a strong sleep cycle and a long rest every night is one of the best things you can do; I find that my anxiety is often worse when I’m tired or not on a specific schedule, and just going to bed half an hour early could make a big difference. If you find sleeping difficult, there are a range of steps you can take:
Drinking green or camomile tea can allow the body to relax faster and aid sleep. Coffee and fizzy drinks should be avoided as the caffeine has the opposite effect; anything electronic shouldn’t be used within an hour of you going to bed, and things like calming music can help you sleep faster. Eye masks are a good way to relax faster, and a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow is recommended if you really struggle with sleep. Remember, if you do have anxiety and getting to sleep is tricky, you are not alone – around 40% of people with the mental health disorder also find sleeping difficult.
Listen to upbeat music
Music has the ability to make us feel very different things, and listening to some upbeat music is one of the best things you can do to boost your mood. If you can, download a playlist of 10-50 happy songs so you can play them whenever you feel the need; you should get a bit of a rush and feel a bit better. Plus, it has been shown that happy music can alleviate anxiety, even if it’s just temporary.