How do we all deal with managing anxiety? I’ve suffered with anxiety for as long as I can remember. Looking back to when I was a little girl I used to worry. Of course, not in the same way as I do as a grown up. But I can recall exactly how I felt if I had an approaching test, sports day or if friendship groups decided to fall apart. I remember one particular time I had forgotten my maths equipment for an exam (not GCSE – phew!) I felt sick to the stomach…literally. The anxiety crept through me and it was such an awful feeling, I still remember how I felt to this day, and it really wasn’t a life changing event or anything to be worried about. (Hooray to my Mom for bringing in the protractor and calculator last minute!!) I do think it is a part of my personality and something I will continue to take with me through my life. Of course, life experiences also factor into this, and after my nephew died in 2004, I have certainly struggled to manage certain things in my life since, such as anxiety, worry, stress and in particular health anxiety.
Everybody who suffers with stress and/or anxiety will manage it in different ways. For many years, I used to live with it and accept it without really seeking tools to help me with my feelings. As I have got older, I now realise that there are many things that you can do to support your thoughts and feelings when going through these troubling moments. Recently, I came across a book by Alison Swift who talks about how she manages her anxiety and shares with her readers the tools she uses to get her through these times. It certainly is helpful talking or listening to people who have or are currently going though similar times, and so I wanted to give this book a try. To not only see what tools she used, but if and how I could put them into practice.
My Wellness Toolbox
My Wellness Toolbox is a book about real life. It doesn’t focus on science. It doesn’t focus on medicine. It is about a woman who has suffered with anxiety and who simply shares her experiences and tools that have made her the person she is today. After suffering with crippling anxiety for many years, Alison explains that she came to a turning point in her life where she needed to make change. And that change had to come from within. From this moment, Alison learnt over time the many tools that worked for her to ease and support her anxiety and thoughts around dealing with stress.
Within her book (which is a lovely read of 113 pages) is 26 tools that Alison has collected along the highs and lows of her journey. It was really interesting to see some that I had already tried and tested (and do work for me!) and some new tools that I could put to use. Of course, the book does highlight that not every tool with work for everyone. But I always think, if it’s available to you in your life at that time, why not give it a try.
One of the tools that she talks about and that I already use is making sure you surround yourself with ‘POSITIVE PEOPLE’ and ensuring that any toxic or negative friendships or relationships are minimised in your life. I have two sisters and close friends who also suffer with anxiety and in moments of need, I turn to these people to get me though. I am often sending whatsapp messages to them talking about my feelings. And in return I receive love, support and the occasional positive quote!
A huge tool for me around managing anxiety was ‘MEDIA – TURN IT OFF’ There was a point in my life when I was pregnant with W. My news feed on Facebook was full of health scares, shares of the latest story about a child passing away or a horror story of a child being injured. I was feeling vulnerable being pregnant and terrified of all the morbid and awful stories of loss out there. Ali talks about how, for her, removing the media from her life (whether that was social media or watching the news) helped her with reducing such negativity in her life. I agree with her in the sense that this is easier said than done, especially as there are so many people around you that talk about the latest news or going’s on. But the best advice Alison gives is to walk away from it when those feelings of anxiety creep in.
A new tool for me that Alison has introduced to me is making the use of ‘ESSENTIAL OILS’. She describes in detail the effect this had on her household with the right blend of oils. I really love how she offers her catalogue of blends to her readers that she uses in moments of need. Such as ‘I’m knackered, please make me feel more human’, or ‘just annoyed on a Monday morning’. An essential oil diffuser is now on my Christmas list!
I am so grateful for coming across Ali’s book about her tools around managing anxiety. I have taken a lot from her book and I found it so easy to read, with elements of humour and real life experiences that we can all relate to. I love how each tool offers you her opinion of its effectiveness, ease and cost, making the tools more easily approachable or manageable.
Alison realises that her tools around managing anxiety may not suit all people, however I believe along with her, that this book is a great platform for you to go and find what does work for YOU, and how you can practice it daily in your life.
If you wish to order Ali’s My Wellness Toolbox, you can order it here.
*This is a collaborative post*