Anxiety is a natural response to stress, and it can become an issue when it interferes with everyday activities, relationships, and overall quality of life. Anxiety disorders are a group of mental health conditions characterised by excessive, persistent worry, fear, and nervousness about everyday situations, objects, or activities. It goes without saying that the past few years have caused a level of anxiety even to those who weren’t able to identify or manage it.
The key to taking charge of your mental well-being involves being intentional about improving emotional, psychological, and social well-being. We generally know what we should be doing to take care of ourselves, but we often don’t do it. And that’s because we’re not intentional about it, and as the pace of our daily lives increases, we fall to the bottom of our priority list. Our tendency as human beings are to take care of everything and everyone else before taking care of ourselves. We need to be in constant pursuit of our overall well-being to ensure that our mental health is taken care of.
Creating a mindful routine is the first step into managing our anxiety and building intention. Here are six lessons that may help you with your wellbeing journey:
The first thing to realise is that your well-being starts with you. As they say, secure your own oxygen mask first. And just like any executive has to set priorities for their department or organisation, you have to set priorities for yourself. And you need to be on the top of your priority list.
Prioritise the things that are important to you. What do you enjoy and what are your non-negotiables? Setting priorities for yourself, and sticking to them, helps you own your self-care. Remember your ‘why’!
Connect with people
Anxiety can feel very lonely. Connecting with people removes the stigma around suffering in silence. Spend time with friends or meet other people through activities that you enjoy whether in a social setting or at work. By cultivating a healthy environment through meaningful conversations and connecting with others, gives you back your power.
Spend time in nature
Spending time in nature has a positive impact on mental health. It can help us feel calmer and less anxious. It has been proven that nature is the best way to connect with your inner self and become more mindful. It can range from taking a walk, going for a hike, bike ride, or joining in on a park run.
Schedule time for yourself
The number one issue that stops us from taking charge of our well-being is, “I don’t have time to take care of myself.” Well, you have to make time. And the way to do that is the same way you make time for other things in your life. S time for self-care like your most important meeting and stick to it. And then guard that “me time”.
Allow for failure
Being intentional about your well-being doesn’t mean that you will get everything perfect all the time. It doesn’t mean you won’t feel fatigued, or that you won’t eat a less-than-nutritious meal or stay up late one night bingeing your favourite show instead of prioritising a good night’s sleep. Prioritising your well-being sometimes looks like taking two steps forward and one step back, then another step forward — and that’s OK. Just think about how you can learn from each experience, and then move on.
Revisit your well-being goals regularly
By regularly checking in and revisiting our well-being strategies, we can change course if we need to. So, take a step back and ask yourself, what’s working and what’s not working? Have your well-being goals changed? Are they still aligned with what you value in life? Then celebrate the successes and figure out what needs to be adapted moving forward.
Find joy and practice gratitude
One of the biggest observations or lessons in the journey to holistic mental health is that we become so scheduled by others, that we don’t create time and space for things that give us joy. Find victory in the small things and bring gratitude into your daily routine, start by just giving thanks for the small blessings in your life, that in-turn will make you more joyful and you’ll then be able to inspire and encourage others to do the same.
We understand that managing anxiety can be challenging and we want you to know that you are not alone. We encourage you to take advantage of our Employee Assistance Programme, Ask Nelson for any support you need. Ask Nelson 24/7 to offer confidential support, guidance, and counselling. All consultations are confidential and free.