Thursday, August 25, 2016

Nature and Nurture: Managing Life Transitions

I feel a bit disappointed that lately I've not been able to blog as much as I want to. Lately life has just been a bit... bumpy. Not bad, not upsetting, just not straight-forward.

Things have been a bit more high-stress recently. That's a bit because of a few unexpected events, but a lot of it has to do with the fact that I'm about to go through a big transition.

Transitions have always thrown me a bit. As a child I was pretty much fearless but when I was feeling particularly anxious a short while ago my mum reminded me 'That's always been a bit of a thing for you'. Apparently on my first time away from my family on a school trip I was fine, happy and got on with everything well... but that didn't mean I wouldn't ask my teachers what was going to happen in advance and get agitated until I knew what I'd be doing.

Photo of Nicky as a toddler crouching to pick daisies


Since my childhood I've dealt with recurrent anxiety. Something which has caused me intense grief in the past, but that I'm getting to terms with. Me and my anxiety are becoming like old acquaintances. I'm able to laugh at it now (even if just a bit) which I couldn't do before. I respect that it's something I deal with and have techniques and support in place to help.

I guess I feel myself writing this knowing that a lot of people are going through a transitory time. It's coming up to September -inevitable school and job changes, new starts. There's a lot of excitement and I do believe that there is so much positivity in this time. However, that doesn't calm down the chemicals in my brain or the knots inside my stomach.

If you're like me your reaction to transition will be one or both of two things:

1) Spend all your time lazing about - unable to do anything productive because you're feeling overwhelmed and don't know where to start

2) Constantly try to organise yourself. Wanting everything written down and in the correct place. Struggling to maintain a conversation because you struggle not to interrupt someone because you know you'll forget what's in your head if you don't get it out straight away. THE SPEED YOU FEEL YOU NEED TO DO EVERYTHING JUST WON'T SLOW DOWN AND OH MY GOODNESS ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE SO IMPORTANT AND YOU'RE NOT SURE WHETHER YOU'RE GOING TO GET EVERYTHING DONE AND I CAN'T STOP AND FIND TIME TO HAVE A BATH BECAUSE I'LL JUST HAVE TO DO IT AGAIN SOON ANYWAY....


Horribly, sometimes, I get a combination of the two. As I'm sure loads of people do.
Meme of Blackadder with overlaid text 'I am therefore leaving immediately for Nepal, where I intend to live as a goat.'
(AnAmusinglyShapedVegetable, 2015)


The thing is when I write this, I feel concerned that people will think I'm unwell. I'm not unwell - I have everything set up in place for me. I'm in healthy habits and am taking care of myself. These mental states just become a reality for me in these times of transition.

I hope in writing this that I can help calm the fears of those who feel isolated or like they're 'going a bit crazy'. I also hope I can encourage you to take some time out for yourself.

Here are some of my top tips for managing transitions:
- Set aside at least one portion of time a week (e.g. an evening off) where you can do something that makes you feel good. Maybe that's going to the cinema, having a meal out with friends, or just reading a book and having a bath. Remember to mark this time out just for you - not letting your anxiety mind control you.

- Practice grounding. Below is a great link that describes exercises on how to bring yourself out of your racing mind and into your body
http://www.get.gg/flashbacks.htm

- Please, if you're struggling do make sure to find professional help as well. Even if that's just popping into your GP and letting them know that you're finding things a bit tougher lately and that's all you need to do. At least then you know you have another person that can support you and help you with your mental health through the transition.

- Cook and Exercise. Obvious ones, but at these times it's good to go back to the basics. Exercise will give you a seratonin boost (Fact. As much as I'd love that seratonin to come from eating Ben and Jerry's). Cooking is a tremendous grounding exercise and can help you really nourish your body as well as giving yourself a bit of time out.

- Don't be too hard on yourself. As frustrating and painful anxiety can be, it is a part of your body trying to save you. I find it helps me to think of it as an anxious child or animal misbheaving - it doesn't respond well to more yelling and negativity but if I try to be sympathetic but stern with it the feelings can get better. You really, really don't need to beat yourself up about struggling, you are a human and you're not alone.

- Actively seek out positivity and give yourself something to look forward to.

I hope these tips help. 

You've got this. You are awesome.

Much love,
Nicky xx










References

AnAmusinglyShapedVegetable (2015) Ministry of British comedy. Available at: http://ministryofbritishcomedy.com/15-reasons-why-black-adder-is-your-spirit-animal/ (Accessed: 25 August 2016).

11 comments:

  1. Great post!! I have some big changes coming up with travelling and uni so I found this so helpful X
    http://www.lilydeal.co.uk/?m=1

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    1. Aww thank you! My previous post was on tips for preparing for uni, so be sure to check it out :). Good luck with everything! x

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  2. I did all about nature, nurture for my religious studies A Level so I can totally relate and understand this post so well! What a good read X

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    1. Thank you! I'm doing Nature and Nurture as a feature which you might enjoy :). Thanks for your comment.

      Nicky xx

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  3. Such a good post. You have such positive understanding of such matters with transitions and change and how it affects us mentally. And our anxiety levels! I could really empathise. It was lovely to read this. Very best wishes. I hope you begin to feel in control with everything new that is coming. Xx

    Keep Calm and start writing -
    23millymay25.blogspot.co.uk
    www.millymayamelia.com

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    1. Aww thank you so much! I'm really glad that you enjoyed the post and found it both empathetic and positive - exactly what I've been aiming for :). Thank you for your best wishes and your lovely comment! I hope everything's going well with you.

      Nicky xx

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  4. Aw loved reading this and all your tips are wonderful + yes self care is so vital. And honestly, I think so many people struggle with anxiety (my husband included) that it doesn't seem strange that you're talking about it, in fact your candidness, is very inspiring!! Wishing you an awesome rest of the week, girly!! xo

    www.girlandcloset.com

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    1. Aww thank you so much. I'm so glad you enjoyed it.
      Yes, they definitely do. I don't think it does us any favours to pretend/hope it doesn't exist! Thank you so much for the compliment.
      I hope you're doing wonderfully :)

      Nicky xx

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  5. I definitely connect with your words. I feel like I'm going through a transition as well, so this was a much needed read. I wish you the best of your luck with your own transition!

    Alaina | http://www.pumpsandpineapples.com

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    1. Oh, I'm so glad it was helpful. I'm in the same situation as you, so you're not alone!
      Thank you for the luck and well wishes. The best of luck in yours too! We're in this together.

      Nicky xx

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  6. Ah it is sooo important to look after yourself, self care is so important as there's only one of us!

    I really love the positivity of this post, it was so lovely to read. And a really lovely reminder that you shouldn't beat yourself up if you're struggling - it's just part of being human. That really resonated with me.

    Thank you, lovely lady and have a lovely weekend!

    katie ♥ lacoconoire.com

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