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There are probably millions of self-care books out there.

The self-care book section of Barnes and Noble can be pretty big and intimidating. I’ve stood in front of that long stretch of books so many times, trying to figure out which book would enlighten me most– make me my best self. Cure me of all my emotional ailments. How do you know which self-care books are legitimate and which ones are a load of horse shit?

This Mental Health Monday, Jo (Duffy the Writer) and I are going to help you out with that. Jo has picked out five self-care books that she has personally read and enjoyed. She gives you a quick synopsis of each one, along with a little guide of who should read each book! That way, you’ll know exactly how to avoid wasting your time on a book that isn’t helpful for you.

If you’re not sure what you’re reading, let me give you a little explanation before we start. At Uninspired, we’re all about helping people in their twenties be the best adults they can possibly be. We talk about lots of things, ranging from cooking and DIY tips all the way to personal finance. But one of my favorite parts of Uninspired is Mental Health Monday.

Every week, I feature a different blogger who has something to say about mental health.

I am a therapist (in training!) myself, so technically I could write a post myself every week, but I choose not to. I have extensive knowledge on how to treat lots of different mental disorders and relationship troubles, but a lot of times, people get more hope from seeing that people have actually been through the same things as them and come out the other side better for it. Mental Health Monday is all about hope stories.

So, now that we’re all on the same page (haaah. Get it? ‘Cause this post is about books), I’ll let Jo take the wheel and talk about the top five self-care books for people in their twenties. Happy reading!

Related: 25 Blog Posts About Practicing Self-Care

There are probably millions of self-care books out there. In fact, the self-care book section of Barnes and Noble can be pretty intimidating if you don't know what you're looking for. Luckily, today Duffy the Writer and I are here to help you find the perfect self-care book to enlighten you.

Bonus!

Self-care books are great for helping you get from your baseline up. But if you’re in an emergency situation, or just looking for more tailored help than a self-care book can provide, I’m here to help. I compiled this list of mental health resources that I’m offering you for free. It’s full of hotlines for lots of different situations including substance abuse and trauma, as well as online counseling options through BetterHelp. BetterHelp is a great option for people who are struggling but don’t have enough time or money to visit a therapist’s office. Check it out and get a free 7-day trial with this link. And don’t forget to claim your list below!

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Self-Care Book List For 20 Somethings

“It’s the beginning of the year, and our Instagram feeds can be full of inspirational quotes with whimsical backgrounds and Facebook posts welcoming the challenges of 2018.  It’s great that the dawn of a new year means we can start fresh and kick some goals, but sometimes it can all be a little overwhelming. Especially for young people who may have trouble expressing how they feel, or even knowing where to start.

Luckily for us, as much as our social media feeds are full of positive vibes, it’s also becoming more commonplace to also talk about mental health and self-care. Stigma and taboos are gratefully being torn down and in its place we have understanding and empathy.

So, as well as looking to improve your muscles at the gym, be sure not to forget about the biggest one you have: your beautiful, barmy, bewildering, brilliant brain. These excellent self-care books will help you do that.

Related: Classic Novels from High School to Re-Try in Your Twenties 

1. The Anxiety Book by Elisa Black There are probably millions of self-care books out there. In fact, the self-care book section of Barnes and Noble can be pretty intimidating if you don't know what you're looking for. Luckily, today Duffy the Writer and I are here to help you find the perfect self-care book to enlighten you.

Elisa Black talks about the triggers for anxiety and some really practical solutions to reducing attacks and symptoms in a witty, matter of fact way.  There are no air-fairy statements to be found in this self-care book, just real life observations of what it’s like to live with anxiety. And who better to write such a book than a journalist who suffers from it herself?

Read Q&A with author Elisa Black here

Buy now on Amazon.com

A Good self-care book for: Anyone experiencing, or living with someone suffering from anxiety and panic attacks

Related: Mental Health Monday- Understanding Anxiety

 

2. Because We are Bad by Lily Bailey

There are probably millions of self-care books out there. In fact, the self-care book section of Barnes and Noble can be pretty intimidating if you don't know what you're looking for. Luckily, today Duffy the Writer and I are here to help you find the perfect self-care book to enlighten you.

Lily Bailey details a heartfelt childhood into adult account of what it’s like to be a young girl with severe OCD. The rituals that can make or break her world and the thoughts and anxieties that run rife through this little girl’s mind can be a little tough to read at times, but there is an ending of hope and optimism. An inspiring true story of an ordinary girl with a busy mind and her journey from childhood, teenage years and into adulthood.

Read the full book review here

Buy now on Amazon.com

A good self-care book for: Anyone experiencing, or living with someone suffering from diagnosed OCD

Related: Mental Health Monday- Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors 

 

3. Presence by Amy Cuddy

There are probably millions of self-care books out there. In fact, the self-care book section of Barnes and Noble can be pretty intimidating if you don't know what you're looking for. Luckily, today Duffy the Writer and I are here to help you find the perfect self-care book to enlighten you.

Starting your first full time job can be a daunting one. There are workplace politics, strong personalities, difficult conversations and awkward social interactions to deal with, and that’s all before you actually learn the skills of the job!

Presence gives practical exercises, power poses and examples to help you go into work, university, in fact any social situation feeling ‘present’, positive, and confident.

Read full review here

Buy from Amazon.com

A good self-care book for: Introverts entering the workplace for the first time, social anxiety sufferers and those who find public speaking and presenting excruciating

Related: Mental Health Monday- Getting Through a Job Interview with Social Anxiety

 

4. UnFu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop

There are probably millions of self-care books out there. In fact, the self-care book section of Barnes and Noble can be pretty intimidating if you don't know what you're looking for. Luckily, today Duffy the Writer and I are here to help you find the perfect self-care book to enlighten you.

There are lots of expletive filled motivational self-care books out there, but this is one of the best.  Bishop, in his straight talking Scotsman way tells you why you are where you are. What’s difficult to comprehend at the start of the book is that where you are right now, however unhappy you are. That’s right! It starts tough, but talks you through some sometimes confronting thought process and negative thought loops we all get ourselves tied up in.

Read full review here

Buy on Amazon.com

A good self-care book for: Anyone who feels stuck in a self-pity rut and wants to get back on track

 

5. It’s All In Your Head by Rae Earle

There are probably millions of self-care books out there. In fact, the self-care book section of Barnes and Noble can be pretty intimidating if you don't know what you're looking for. Luckily, today Duffy the Writer and I are here to help you find the perfect self-care book to enlighten you.

This is a self-care book every young adult should have on their shelf.  Luckily, not all of us have manic depression, OCD, or full blown, crippling panic attacks. But many of us struggle with tough days and short-term depressive episodes. It’s All In Your Head deals with all manner of mental health issues and struggles that young people experience regularly, or from time to time. What’s wonderful about this book is that author Rae Earle tells the reader that it’s OK, most of us have experienced it. There is also some sound advice on how to feel better and get better. An excellent plain speaking self help guide for young people with some great illustrations.

Buy on Amazon.com

A good self-care book for: Every teenager and young adult!


Jo-Ann Duff – Duffy The Writer

Jo-Ann, or Duffy as she’s known in the wordy world, is an ex-pat Brit who has lived an incredible Australian life since 2005. Duffy is a freelance writer, and when she isn’t creating engaging content for small Australian businesses, she has her nose in a book as a reviewer for Australian publishers and independent authors. You can follow Duffy on all social media platforms @duffythewriter.

Society is getting better at understanding anxiety because people are getting more outspoken about it…

…but we still have a long way to go before stigma is gone. Understanding anxiety is a difficult thing. Think about it! People who don’t get nervous for no reason can’t fathom doing so, and the people who do struggle with anxiety are afraid to explain it for fear of being judged. It’s kind of a vicious cycle. But there are some brave souls out there who are willing to share their stories in order to lessen that sigma. One of those people is Kylie.

You can find Kylie’s blog here, where she talks about her battle with understanding anxiety. When talking about what she would write for us, she realized that while she has come to understand anxiety in the sense of what made her have it, she has never really brought to light the struggles themselves. That’s what we’re going to talk about today.

At Uninspired, and specifically in the Mental Health Monday series, I’m all about helping you guys *adult* better.

As you know if you’ve been here a while, that doesn’t mean just understanding anxiety or any other mental illness. On Mental Health Monday we’ve talked about literally everything from support groups to autism to emotional support animals. And yet, there are a few things they all have in common.

For one thing, they may help you learn something about someone else. In that way, you’ll learn to communicate more effectively with the people around you, and improve your relationships. That’s better adulting! Additionally, you might learn a little something about yourself, find that there’s someone else out there just like you, or be encouraged to get help for a problem you’ve been having. Facing your tough stuff head-on, like Kylie does in her post below, is a sign that you’re a mature adult.

So, without further ado, here’s Kylie’s post about her struggle with understanding anxiety and moving on from it. She’s been through it in two different ways– generalized and then again at the hands of a particular circumstance. Read on to find out how she handled both cases.

Society is getting better at understanding anxiety, but there is still a long way to go before stigma is eradicated. Luckily, there are some brave souls willing to share their stories to help others gain awareness of what it means to suffer from anxiety. Kylie is one of them, and you can read her story here.

Bonus!

In addition to gaining all the knowledge Kylie has to share about understanding anxiety, I also wanted to offer you all my new freebie. These Mental Health Monday posts can be really motivating, but it can be really overwhelming to figure out where to turn next. That’s why I compiled this list of mental health resources that I’m offering you for free. It’s full of hotlines for lots of different situations including substance abuse and trauma, as well as online counseling options through BetterHelp. BetterHelp is a great option for people who are struggling but don’t have enough time or money to visit a therapist’s office. Check it out and get a free 7-day trial with this link. And don’t forget to claim your list below!

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“Today I had anxiety cause the air-con was too high in the car.

It was too warm and I felt claustrophobic. It was -5c outside but the only way to ease the anxiety was to open the window. If you can understand that, you’re understanding anxiety. Anxiety is irrational, dramatic thoughts. Your brain is at constant battle with your body. My brain will always win because it never sleeps. Even when my body is asleep, my mind is awake. And my fight continues, 10 years after the initial attack.

I don’t know where my anxiety is rooted, but it hit me full force at the age of 20. I had all the symptoms, right out of the textbook. The sweaty palms, heightened heart rate, even the urge to use the bathroom. The latter may not seem like the worst symptom, but it was. I needed the toilet, I couldn’t find the toilet. I couldn’t find the toilet, I became more anxious. At its worst, the anxiety manifested as acute agoraphobia which continued for 6 months. The fear of the outside world was too heavy a burden to carry, so I did not leave the house unless it was absolutely necessary. I didn’t work, I didn’t go out with friends. I didn’t do anything that would threaten my mental wellbeing.

As my 21st birthday approached I spent more time making excuses not to celebrate. There was no celebratory meal, no drinks with friends, nothing. My family and the people around me wanted to celebrate the milestone but I was overwhelmed by the thought of venturing out into the world. They weren’t understanding anxiety and what it was doing to me. Those 4 walls were my saviour but also my prison. It was a hell of my mind’s making and I was a slave to it’s wants and worries.

My first approach was to coax myself out of my prison.

A two minute walk to the corner shop. Five minutes to the supermarket. Ten minutes to my sister’s house. These things may seem small but it took all the energyI had just to walk out of the door. Taking those small steps made a big difference. Don’t get me wrong, the anxiety was still there. But with a lot of calming words and pep talks I was able to break the hypothetical shackles. This didn’t happen quickly.

In fact, it took months to get to that point, but the wheels were in motion and I wasn’t stopping for anyone. My next step was to seek help from the professionals. My counselor taught me the evolutionary background of all the symptoms and for the first time, it all made sense. I learnt that anxiety was our animal instinct of preparing for attack. When we were threatened, we readied our bodies to fight. We would sweat to lower our body temperature. Our heart would race to raise our adrenaline and we would ‘relieve’ ourselves to prepare ourselves for the battle. Bingo! There was a medical explanation for the turmoil my body went through. For the first time, understanding anxiety wasn’t half the battle. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel- the path to the outside world and the normality I used to feel.

Over the following months, the self-help, therapy, and daily pep-talks built my “normality.”

Again, the anxiety was still there, but the further I travelled – metaphorically and physically- the more I was able to overcome the doom. Traveling on a bus became an achievement. I planned journeys in my mind in baby steps– I wasn’t going out for the day, I was taking a 20 minute bus ride to the shopping centre. Then I was doing my shopping for an hour. I was taking the bus 20 minutes home. That was the key– breaking down the task and easing each bit of anxiety that appeared before dealing with another.

There were times when things didn’t go to plan– the bus was late; I needed to use the bathroom while shopping– but there were some advantages to breaking things down. I now know the locations of all the toilets in places I frequent, and I still use that internal toilet tracker to this day. Through understanding anxiety, it was possible for me to rebuild my life, return to work, and let this anxiety become a memory. I don’t pretend it never happened, and I don’t pretend it couldn’t happen again, but now I knew I could overcome it.

Unfortunately, five years later, I would once again be crippled by anxiety.

My partner was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and I was there to witness the first seizure of many and I allow those fears to override my mind again. It was different, as it was due to a specific circumstance, but as his health declined, so did my coping mechanisms. I thought he was going to die in that moment, and even as he embarked on treatment and an operation to remove the tumor, my anxiety didn’t calm down. I had nightmares so brutal that I was scared to sleep. The lack of sleep made my anxiety worse. I was distracted, irritable, and miserable. Once again, I became unable to work, unable to even form a sentence or a string of thoughts. My doctors recommended medication but due to stigma and side effects, I declined. And then the tumor came back.

One evening, I hit a wall. I knew I couldn’t cope with work and life and my partner. I was completely full of disturbing thoughts and emotions, but at the same time, somehow I felt completely empty. So I visited my doctor again, and took them up on the help they offered. I took six weeks off work and began to take the medication. If I took them, would people think less of me? There is such a stigma attached to mental illness and the surrounding treatments. Although society is more open to talking about the plethora of mental illnesses and understanding anxiety, there is still a stigma attached.

Luckily I saw my own battle as more important than the views of the outside world.

I knew that regardless of what people may say or think, my mental wellbeing was my priority. The first week on the medication was awful. I felt like a zombie and had absolutely no appetite. I also had the most horrendous heartburn. This continued through the second week but rather than quit, I spoke to my doctor again. He assured me the side effects would subside and prescribed me a tablet to calm the heartburn. Over the next couple of weeks all of the side effects settled and my mind began to ease. Within a month I was a different person. I had peace of mind. Getting up, showering and facing the world was no longer a daunting task – it was life. Such a small change had made such a huge difference. Don’t get me wrong, I still struggled sometimes, but the struggles were manageable.

My proudest moments were the recognition from family and friends. When they noted the shift in my personality I was proud of how far I had come. I felt a freeness I had never experienced before. It was a sobering thought to realise how solemn I had become and I was a shadow, not a person. I was embarrassed of the effect my moods would have had on the people around me but my new attitude and outlook compensated for this. Finally, I was fun to be around, I was spontaneous and most of all, I was a nice person again. I am under no illusion that I could have turned my life around without the medication and accepting the help, in which ever form it would be. There is no shame in asking for help and for me, it saved my life.

Over the years there have been times when a particularly stressful day or not enough sleep would burst my protective bubble.

But I am now strong enough to fight them and win. The key to living with anxiety is just that, living. There will always be times when your heart races and your palms become sweaty but its ok to feel that way. At my worst I drove myself crazy trying to rationalise my feelings and punished myself for succumbing to the doom. But as I became stronger, I realised that some things don’t need explanation. Sometimes we can feel things without there being a reason or rhyme. Its how we deal with them that makes the real difference and that difference will allow you to live life to your own ‘normality’.

When my heart starts to race I breathe my way through it. I concentrate on my breathing. The tightness is still in my chest but instead of panicking I wait for it to subside. When I go out shopping or for dinner and drinks, I always know where the bathroom is and whether I need to or not, I will always use it before leaving. These are such small changes but they make such a huge difference. i have practiced these methods for nearly 10 years and they have worked for me all the way. The day to day stresses that life brings aren’t so scary. They don’t need to be crippling. They can just be a bad day. And what happens when a day ends? A new one starts. And that is what we need to remember. Life goes on and we go with it.”

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If you’re in your twenties, you’re dealing with uncertainty. I am not even slightly uncertain about that.

Hah. But really. If you’re in your twenties and struggling with anxiety or depression, dealing with uncertainty can be that much more stressful. So today, I’ve brought in Sylvia, who like the rest of us, is a twenty-something trying to wade through all the unknowns life is dumping on her. She is sharing the four tips that have helped her the most, and that she thinks will help you, too!

I thought this post was great for Mental Health Monday because like I said, if you’re in your twenties, you’re dealing with uncertainty. And, since Uninspired is a blog for women in their twenties, it seemed like a perfect fit. Since I’m all about trying to strike that balance between enjoying life now and building for the future, I want to make sure I give you guys plenty of tips about caring for yourself. If you don’t engage in self-care, it’ll be next to impossible to find that balance and keep it. Not only will you not be able to keep the balance, you’re also much more susceptible to anxiety, depression, alcoholism, or more depending on your situation.

So, now that I’ve scared you into caring for yourself, it’s time to switch it over to Sylvia, who blogs at sylvmarcia.com. Her four tips for dealing with uncertainty will help keep you sane when you feel like you’re going crazy planning for the future.

Related: Practicing Gratitude in Times of Stress

If you're in your 20s, you're dealing with uncertainty. I know that for sure! But, Sylvia's 4 tips will help you find certainty even in the worst situation.

Bonus!

Dealing with uncertainty in your life can be unsettling, and sometimes downright terrifying depending on what’s going on. That’s why I compiled this list of mental health resources that I’m offering you for free. It’s full of hotlines for lots of different situations, as well as online counseling options through BetterHelp. BetterHelp is a great option for people who are struggling but don’t have enough time or money to visit a therapist’s office. Check it out and get a free 7-day trial with this link. And don’t forget to claim your list below!

ADD_THIS_TEXT


Dealing With Uncertainty

“Sometimes I wish life was easy. That the path I was supposed to go down was clear. I would know the right decisions to make. I’d know when it would be good to chase a dream or when to give it up. I would know which friends to choose or what books to read. I’d know what to major in and what jobs to apply to. I would know that life would work out the way it’s supposed to. I would be able to feel confident that my life is going the way that is best for me.

Right now, I don’t know that. I don’t know anything. I’m treading water trying to grasp at whatever I can, but I feel as if I only end up sinking. Life is currently a blur. I don’t know much right now. I don’t know if I chose the right career path or the right place to live. Honestly, I don’t know if blogging is even worth continuing to work on at times. I don’t know what I’m doing most of the time. I’m making it up as I go along and hope I’m doing something right. At times, the feeling of wanting to give up is overwhelming. I hear it getting louder and louder every day. It’s hard to stop at times. It makes me question who I think I am that I can do whatever I’m about to do.

I’m dealing with uncertainty. A lot. 

I like to believe everyone has these doubts at times. Everyone, at times, wishes they knew what decision to make. I also believe that when you’re struggling with mental health, it can make it harder to manage. Things that are not meant to be anxiety inducing or dreadful are already for me, so let’s add on things that would stress anyone out, and it makes it unbearable.

I find it hard to trust the process of life. To be okay with dealing with uncertainty. To be okay with trying when I don’t know how it’s going to work out. Below are four tips I have for handling the unknowns of life while struggling with anxiety and depression.

 

1. Remember how you got where you are today.

    Once, a path I thought I was supposed to go down suddenly closed. This may sound cliche, but most of the time though, things happen for a reason. The path I ended up going down instead lead me to new passions, relationships I wouldn’t have otherwise. I discovered things I would never expect if I knew exactly where I was going all the time. If you asked yourself five years ago, where you thought you were going to be in five years, would you have been right? I know I wouldn’t have. There is beauty in that, I think. There’s a beauty in dealing with uncertainty, and in embracing it. I remember those times that things didn’t work out the way I wanted, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It allows me to acknowledge that sometimes life’s surprises are for the better.

 

2. Grounding techniques.

   It’s easy to get caught up in the unknowns of the future, especially when it seems anxiety and depression control you. Living in limbo. Getting so caught up in the future, that you forget how to live in the present. Research grounding techniques that bring you back to present. You can only truly control your present, so stay there. I have an essential oil roller that I put on my wrist and smell when I find myself getting caught up in ideas I can’t control. There are many other techniques – I suggest clicking the link above and finding one that works for you.  

 

3. Do your best no matter what.

   The only thing you can do and should do is your best. If you do your best, you can’t have regret. No matter what the future will bring, bring your best self. It’s so easy to get caught up in dealing with uncertainty, especially with anxiety. Currently, I don’t know what job I will have come September or where I’m going to be living. I have goals, but I have no idea what will happen. It’s easy to get caught up in all the negative outcomes that can possibly happen. I become paralyzed by all the options and ideas I can do. This is when I try just to do my best and keep pushing through, so no matter what I will know that at least.

 

4. Take advantage of where you are now.

   I recently moved back home, which is something that gave me extreme anxiety. I appreciated and enjoyed living on my own and having my own space. Moving back home makes me feel restrained or like I’m in high school again. Even though I’m here now, I try my best not to think of it and know that it’s only a temporary situation or else I get too caught up.

I also try to take advantage of living at home. I get to be around my pets, live close to my niece and nephew, save money, not have anxiety about my apartment catching on fire, and it’s a good temporary place before I start the next step. Yes, this situation has some difficulties, but it also has some positives, and I try to enjoy those when I have the chance. Think of where you are now. This could be the people you are around, location, amenities, or anything else. Focus on those things that can make you feel better and remind yourself of those when anxiety teases you about the unknowns.

 

Dealing with uncertainty is typical. No one ever fully knows what the future is going to be even if you have it all planned out. Living in those unknowns can often heighten, especially for me, anxiety and depression. By remembering the four things I listed above, I can cope with them a little bit more.

dealing with uncertainty

Traveling with anxiety can be a really incredible adventure full of growth, if you do it right!

What?! That might sound crazy. Anxiety is a menace that plagues a ton of twenty-somethings like yourself. So is the travel bug. So, what’s a girl to do when she’s got both? Our guest blogger Gabi is here today to share with us that one does NOT have to cancel out the other. In fact, traveling with anxiety can be a really awesome way to overcome that fear that’s keeping you from seeing the world.

Gabi is a third year Morehead-Cain Scholar at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. She’s a biostatistics major, minor in computer science, and she blogs with Medium. But somehow, she has found time to travel! Her blog posts are chock full of tips to help millennials travel more comfortably. And today, she’s visiting Uninspired to teach you to scratch that travel itch, even when you’re anxious.

I thought this would be an awesome post for Mental Health Monday because it hits a lot of salient points for you, millennial readers. Many of us have a desire to see the world and experience other cultures. However, a lot of us also have crippling anxiety that makes us afraid to make phone calls, never mind leave the country.

Gabi’s tips for traveling with anxiety will help you plan ahead so you have as little to worry about as possible. They’ll allow you to enjoy your trip and not spend the whole time worrying about how to handle different customs, delayed flights, or finding familiar food. (That can be particularly helpful if you’re allergic to something!)

That’s enough talking from me, I’ll turn it over to Gabi! If you want to connect with her outside this post, you can check her out on Twitter and Instagram.

Are you traveling with anxiety? My guest blogger, Gabi, has ten awesome tips to curb that anxiety so you can enjoy seeing the world.

Bonus!

Gabi’s tips for traveling with anxiety are crazy helpful. However, I want you to have a backup plan in case it all becomes too much while you’re on the road. That’s one of the reasons why I partnered with BetterHelp online counseling services. They match you up with a real licensed counselor who can talk with you online, from anywhere. Plus it’s cheaper than traditional therapy! Get a free 7-day trial with this link. Click it! You deserve to feel calm and anxiety-free on your trip.


Top 10 Tips for Millennials Traveling with Anxiety

10. Explore to see if the place you are traveling to has different bathroom-centric customs, showers, or toilets.

People do not often know about the bathroom differences when traveling. So if bathroom hygiene is a major concern for you, make sure to do your research. One difference I have encountered is that you don’t flush toilet paper in China. Another is that many Irish showers don’t use knobs to turn on the water, and most places outside of North America and Europe has what I call the ‘squatty potty.’ If you’re traveling with anxiety, knowing this ahead of time can save you a lot of stress.

 

9. If you are traveling for longer than a week, buy a SIM card.

If you are traveling with anxiety and you’re solo, or with a small group of friends, it is important to be aware of where you want to go and how to get there. The easiest way to make sure this goes smoothly is to have a SIM card. This allows you to have data wherever you are.

Honestly, this will help you feel reassured because you can use map apps. It is way safer than being lost on the side of the street! Nowadays, many people rely on finding Wi-Fi, but that’s not always reliable. If you have an unlocked phone, you can easily slide out your old SIM card and put in a new one. If it’s locked, buy a cheap phone or bring one from home.

 

8. Check out the mobile applications in the new country before you arrive.

Often people forget that outside of the United States people have different mobile apps. For example there are other taxi apps besides Uber and Lyft. In Ireland, many people use Hail-O. In China, many people use something called Didi. It’s important to be aware of this so you are not caught without a ride. People also use different communication applications. In Israel, people mainly use WhatsApp, in China it’s WeChat, just to name a few examples. The easiest way to check this out if you’re traveling with anxiety, is to do a little research and ask if you have friends who have been there before.

 

7. If it is your first time traveling by yourself, have a plan and a backup plan.

Traveling for the first time for anyone is scary, let alone when someone lives with anxiety. So, if you are traveling by yourself for the first time, I recommend having a plan. Meaning, if you have a connecting flight, see if you can find a contact in that city in case your flight is cancelled.

Honestly, this is a good idea to do even if it is not your first time flying. But having a plan for that first time helps keep nerves down. I had long days of travel my first time flying, and I think I could have avoided a lot of worry if I’d done this. At least now I know the Chicago airport like the back of my hand since I was stuck there for so long!

 

6. Check out which of your must-have foods might not be available.

This can be done through some research. It’s definitely worth taking the time to do. If you find that you don’t know any foods in the new place, you are going to need to pack ahead. Or, you can find out where the western food stores are.

There are a handful of foods I typically check for. If I find I can’t find a certain food, I ask myself why I like to eat it, and if there’s a replacement. For China, I could not find almond milk, but using some skim milk wouldn’t hurt. Important to note, China has a lot of soy milk, so do not worry if you cannot drink dairy, there are options!

 

5. Check out where the expat communities are wherever you are traveling.

I am a big advocate for learning about the culture of wherever you are traveling to. However, there is something comforting about seeing your usual snacks and drinks for the first time in months. This is true for most people, not just if you’re traveling with anxiety. So, if you are gong to be living abroad for a long period of time and want to know where your ethnicity’s markets and restaurants are located, I would recommend finding the expat community from your country.

 

4. Do not handle home-sickness with food.

During my travel experiences, I have seen many people go to American style or their specific home-country’s restaurant to cope with missing home. But unfortunately, they’re not comforted with the type of food they receive. This is because when going to these restaurants with foods from other countries it is still mainly marketed to the specific country you are in.

During my time visiting Shanghai, we visited a steak house. On the menu were mini tacos and steaks, and some of my friends ordered this and were very disappointed when the food arrived to the table. The mini tacos were practically doll size, honestly barely a bite, and the steak was an over cooked piece of meat that definitely did not resemble anything that we had ever seen. So, when attempting to find some home comforts, I would recommend a call to family or buying an American snack that does not need to be cooked.

 

3. Check out the transportation infrastructure before you go to your new location and once you are there.

Traveling the streets of a new place is very scary, especially with new traffic rules. Especially especially if you’re traveling with anxiety. So, take the time to observe people’s biking habits and what the public transportation is like. This sounds funky, but every place I have traveled to had different bike and general traffic rules, including bike lane directions, carpool lane rules, and general public transportation regulations. Check out what mobile application works best for your specific country. Not all countries use Google Maps. MooveIt and Gao De Di Tu have worked well during my travels.

 

2. If you take anxiety, depression, or another form of mental health medicine before you travel, keep taking it when you are abroad.

Start talking to your physician as early as possible. I take anxiety medication every day and my body does not react well when I go off of this cycle. So it is critical for me to work with my insurance and doctor to have an accurate prescription while I am outside of the United States. I work with my doctor to adjust my prescription with my insurance supplier for a vacation supply. There are ways to manage this, but again, START EARLY.

1. Continue talking with your therapist or psychiatrist if this is part of your normal routine.

For therapy sessions, I mainly use Skype when I am outside of the United States. I have tried FaceTime, but typically the connection is not very strong. Using Skype where I can call my therapist’s cell phone number typically works best and has the clearest connection.

Before my sessions when abroad I prepare a little more than I would for my sessions at home. I like to think about what I ask before hand more since there is less of a connection over Skype. However, I definitely think it is helpful to keep therapy sessions going regularly if you do this when at home. Going abroad is a time of transition, change, and excitement. Maintaining some sense of normal always helps me remain calm and collected when everything is changing.

Do you have any tips you’d give to a person traveling with anxiety?

How many times would you say you’ve felt anxious over the last month? Six months?

I’m willing to wager it’s more than once. Especially if you’re a twenty-something woman! You guys have a ton on your plate with building your futures. Of course, everyone has their own reasons to be anxious, but this stuff permeates the entire generation. That’s why this week’s Mental Health Monday focuses on ways you can overcome personal anxiety and focus on the here-and-now.

If you’re not sure what you’re reading, this is Mental Health Monday, a guest post series raising awareness for all kinds of mental health issues. We tackle tons of different topics ranging from general self-care to autism to depression and anxiety. Originally, I wanted to write the posts myself, but then I realized something. I only have one personal experience. So, how could I help as many people as I wanted to reach? The obvious answer was to ask other people. Other people who had been through the things I wanted to talk about, and who had come out stronger for it. Because as I’ve said in other posts, hope lives in the stories of others who have proof that things get better. Or in others who have proof that admitting you need help doesn’t make you weak.

Lucy is our guest blogger today, and she blogs over at Mind Your Zen! She’s super passionate about mental health, and she has very actionable tips to battle personal anxiety.

When you're in your twenties, there's a lot of pressure to build the perfect future! That pressure leads to personal anxiety. Check out these ways our guest blogger, Lucy, has come up with to beat it.

Bonus!

While Lucy’s tips for getting over personal anxiety are super useful, they may not always be enough. That’s why I compiled this list of mental health resources that I’m offering you for free. It’s full of hotlines for lots of different situations, as well as online counseling options through BetterHelp. BetterHelp is a great option for people who are struggling but don’t have enough time or money to visit a therapist’s office. Check it out and get a free 7-day trial with this link. And don’t forget to claim your list below!

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6 Ways to Overcome Times of Personal Anxiety

“Especially when you’re relatively young, there’s plenty to be anxious about. You might have career anxiety, financial worries, or existential anxiety you can’t explain. And suffering from severe bouts of it can damage your well-being and productivity.

Below are some suggestions for overcoming periods of personal anxiety. Each person will need to find a unique way of dealing with their situation that works for them. However, the methods described below have been shown to work either through scientific research, anecdotal evidence, or both.

Practice Deep Breathing

Deep breathing can help to pull you out of an anxious moment and focus on your pattern of breath. And if you’re already experiencing an anxiety attack, a deep breathing exercise may help you avoid hyperventilating. According to Calm Clinic, the following strategy will help give you the right carbon dioxide balance, which can keep your heart rate in a normal range:

  • Breathe in for 5-6 seconds
  • Hold the breath for 3 seconds
  • Exhale for 7 seconds through your mouth

While this is a recommended pattern, if you find another deep breathing pattern that works for you, use that one. The bottom line is to find a pattern that keeps your heart rate relatively slow and keeps you calmer. Deep breathing is somewhat like meditation in that it can direct your focus to something outside of your immediate anxiety. If you suffer from chronic anxiety, taking frequent breaks to breathe deeply may help lessen the impact.

For some, channeling deep breathing as a part of meditation may be especially effective. Using mindfulness meditation, which often involves deep breathing, can help you to focus your mind away from your anxiety. When practiced over time, mindfulness meditation may significantly reduce your symptoms.

Create an Exercise Routine

Regular exercise has been shown in several studies to help reduce the severity of the symptoms of both personal anxiety and depression. If you’re frequently battling anxiety, regular exercise is likely to help you combat it. If you’re short on time, even a short walk can help. For chronic or severe anxiety, a regular routine of more vigorous exercise (cardio, strength training, or both) will most likely help reduce your symptoms.

Try Supplements

For some, nootropic and mental health supplements can be a way to manage personal anxiety symptoms without having to go to the trouble of seeing a mental health professional. Different supplements will work differently for different people, but many people who suffer from mental health issues have found that natural supplements help them cope with or reduce symptoms.

If you do choose a natural supplement, be sure to check to see whether it interacts with any existing supplements. For example, St. John’s Wort, an herb that has been shown to be more effective than Prozac at treating depression, can interact negatively with several prescription medications.

If you are investigating supplements, being aware of how each supplement works is also important. Nootropics and mental health supplements are used to treat a range of symptoms, so ensuring that the supplement you’ve chosen is intended to target anxiety is a vital step.

Find a Hobby

Just like with deep breathing, taking time to focus on a hobby can help support better mental health over time. Art, mindfulness, and exercise routines are a few ways to reduce personal anxiety while creating new memories.

Get Out in Nature

If you’ve ever gone on a hike alone or with friends and felt more relaxed afterwards, you’ve experienced the mental health benefits nature has to offer firsthand. Some studies have indicated that being out in nature has positive effects on mental health. Nature is so essential to good mental health that city dwellers are often at a much higher risk for mental health problems compared to the rest of the population.

If you live near a park or other area where you can access nature, taking a break to walk or just be in the natural world can help improve your mental health. If you live farther from nature, taking a trip to your closest park whenever possible can give you a break from regular life, which will generally improve symptoms of personal anxiety.

See a Mental Health Professional

While some cases of personal anxiety can be easily managed with relatively minor lifestyle interventions, other cases may do best with professional attention. You may decide to see a professional sooner than later, but if you have dealing with your anxiety for a long time without improvement, some signs that you need to see a professional may include the following:

  • Your anxiety gets in the way of your work and/or interpersonal relationships
  • It makes you physically ill
  • You use drugs or alcohol to medicate it
  • You feel that your anxiety inhibits your ability to enjoy life

For some, seeing a mental health professional is a difficult decision. If you are averse to taking medication, it’s important to realize that not all mental health treatment involves medication. 

While personal anxiety can feel overwhelming, it’s vital to realize there are steps you can take to reduce it. Whether you take up cycling, go on weekly nature walks, or practice deep breathing, any of the above techniques will help to improve your general health as well as possibly reduce your anxiety symptoms. By being open to new approaches and being patient with yourself, you will be well on your way to improving your general health as well as your specific anxiety symptoms.”

About the author:

When you're in your twenties, there's a lot of pressure to build the perfect future! That pressure leads to personal anxiety. Check out these ways our guest blogger, Lucy, has come up with to beat it.

Lucy Miller is a nutrition student, marathon runner, and a passionate writer for Mind Your Zen, a brain nutrition supplement brand. She contributes on a number of blogs sharing useful health tips from her research as a nutrition student. She can be reached at lucy@mindyourzen.com

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Overcome Personal Anxiety | Uninspired | Mental Health Monday

Today’s Mental Health Monday post is about Postpartum Depression.

Postpartum depression might not seem like the most relevant issue for some twenty-somethings. And, in the past, Mental Health Monday has covered topics that were very obviously relevant to what I see as the twenty-something experience. For example, last week’s post on social anxiety covered how to get through it for a job interview. So many twenty-somethings are at a place in life where they’re trying to find their dream job. In May, you may have read The Food & Mood Connection, which discussed how to get more nutrients in our lives so we can be both healthier and happier. I thought that was awesome for twenty-somethings who, if they’re anything like me, lived off Easy Mac all through college.

But– there’s a reason I have other people write for MHM even though I’m on my way to a master’s degree in counseling. It’s because I only have one personal experience, and that’s from the professional side of mental illness. I don’t want to preach at you about things I only know from textbooks! I want you to learn from the personal experiences of others.

A few weeks ago, I was presented with the opportunity to feature Jenn.

She blogs at thismommyisreal.com, and she wanted to write about postpartum depression and anxiety. At first, I wasn’t sure that my twenty-something audience would be able to relate to that, because it didn’t fit my experience. I don’t see children for myself until I’m in my early 30’s. But then, I did a quick Google search, and learned that the average woman in the US has her first baby at age 26! That’s right smack in the middle of my target audience! This is the beauty of Mental Health Monday here at Uninspired– learning about people, and getting to re-shape your view of the world.

So, without further ado, here is Jenn from thismommyisreal.com, and her guest post about postpartum depression and anxiety.

Postpartum depression is an often-overlooked part of early motherhood. Many women do not get the care they need because they feel too guilty not being overjoyed about their new family member. Jenn is here to tell us why we should care about these mothers, and what we can do to help them.

Bonus!

Postpartum depression is serious business. If you’re struggling with this or any other mental health issues, I urge you to take advantage of my new free offer: a mental health resource list. It’s full of hotlines and websites like BetterHelp that can offer solutions and help through many different problems, including postpartum depression and anxiety. Please, if you’ve been looking for a sign to get help, this is it! Claim your free list below:

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This Mommy’s Experience: An Honest Postpartum Depression Experience

“When you’re expecting, there are so many recommendations and courses that you take. They run from dealing with the birth process, to caring for a newborn, to breastfeeding strategies. I’ve even seen courses on how to introduce your pets to your new baby!

Sadly, one of the things I did not see when I was planning, was detailed information on Postpartum Depression (PPD). I also learned nothing about it’s companion, Postpartum Anxiety (PPA). I remember worrying slightly that it could happen to me, but I wasn’t suffering from it, and I didn’t know anyone who did. After all, who prepares for depression that isn’t happening?

I, and many others, had heard of the “baby blues,” which can happen shortly after birth, but tends to disappear within two weeks. It has similar symptoms to Postpartum depression, like weeping, anxiety, irritability, mood changes, fatigue and insomnia, plus more which can vary from mother to mother. Like Postpartum Depression and Anxiety, the baby blues can also happen to both first-time and experienced mothers. We accept the baby blues, but have a harder time accepting how common PPD/PPA are. The fact remains that PPD and PPA are common, and many parents are unprepared.

Many who do suffer, suffer silently, so no one is ever aware that it’s actually happening.

The main differences between the baby blues and Postpartum Depression are the intensity and duration of symptoms. I noticed my symptoms a few weeks post-birth. It was a very difficult birth and recovery and afterward, I was sad every day. There was no attachment to my child. Yes, I cared for him like every mother should, but found myself detached from him, and everyone. Soon I isolated myself from the outside world and was consumed by thoughts of failure. I wept constantly, was anxious, and suffered from insomnia. I thought I was a horrible mother, and that my inability to function would cause my son harm. There were times I wondered if I’d made the right decision to have this child. I’d fallen into such a dark place in my life– so deep I thought I’d never get out. I panicked often, and found myself unable to breathe.

Around the fourth week, I suffered an extremely debilitating panic attack. I realized then that these feelings and thoughts were not me.

Something was wrong, and I needed to get help immediately.

The first thing I did was contact a local Postpartum support group that offered a warmline to provide support and resources to mothers like me. That same day, someone called me back. They listened to my issues, suggested mental health professionals, as well as parenting courses and support groups I could reach out to. Knowing that someone understood me, and that help was available, gave me hope.

A few days afterward, I attended a local Postpartum Depression and Postpartum Anxiety support group. It was run by a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who was compassionate and supportive. Joining this group proved to be a major turning point in my recovery, and brought me out of isolation. I had been terrified to go anywhere, especially with my son. I didn’t want to leave the safe haven of my home. And yet, each week, I was able to do so through this group. I met other mothers who had similar experiences, and who were just as understanding and open about what was happening to them.

Ultimately, I saw my own psychologist as well.

She helped me get to the root of my feelings and taught me coping strategies to deal with the episodes as they occurred. She also gave me an outlet to talk openly. I was relieved to share my thoughts and fears with someone who would listen without judgment. At times, just talking about my experience made it easier for me to recover.

Eventually, I decided to take antidepressants. It was a difficult thing for me to accept, but I realized that it may have been the most beneficial option in my particular situation. My body rejected the first prescription, but the second was a miracle. I had no side effects, and I experienced clarity in my life. I felt like a cloud had been lifted, and I was finally able to address my issues with a clearer mind. I’m still taking it to this day.

My son is now nine months old. It’s been four months since I’ve returned to work. I have many things on my plate, and finding the balance is always a challenge. There are moments where I feel a potential relapse, and times where it feels like recovery is still further away.

However, I learned that each day I try, I succeed.

Every day, those initial feelings seem more distant. When I do experience distress, the intensity is far less than what it was. Now, I’m able to recognize a problem much easier, and deal with it. Finally, I’m happy and enjoying motherhood.

I’ll never forget my experience with Postpartum Depression and Anxiety, and I feel sympathetic to those who suffer through it. I always try to educate people about it, because it’s something that just isn’t discussed enough. It was a horrific and debilitating experience, but there is a silver lining to it. Once the worst was over, I gained a new outlook on my life, a renewed sense of purpose, and friendships with wonderful people who I am proud to call my ‘Mama Tribe.’ Most importantly, it gave me the clarity to see how much I love my son, and how fulfilling motherhood can be.”

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This MHM we’re talking about how to overcome social anxiety for a job interview.

Yup! The owner of the blog Midnight Tea, Nour, suffers from social anxiety, and knows firsthand that it can affect not only social relationships, but other aspects of your life, too. Like, work. How do you overcome social anxiety for a job interview when the thought of proving your wort to a stranger makes you want to gauge your own eyes out? That’s exactly what we’re going to conquer today.

The whole point of Uninspired is to give twenty-somethings actionable advice that they can use to better themselves. And I started this guest post series because mental health is suuuuch a big part of being your best self. All the stress and pressure we’re under as twenty-somethings to magically morph into a fully-functioning adult overnight can cause tons of anxiety, depression, PTSD, and more. So we need to feel comfortable taking care of ourselves, and that starts with the conversation about it.

Today’s conversation, as I said before, is about how to overcome social anxiety for a job interview. Nour has been on the real shitty end of paralyzing anxiety during an interview, and then on the good side of conquering fear and landing the job. Read on to see the EXACT changes that made that turnaround happen!

Today's Mental Health Monday post is all about how to overcome social anxiety for a job interview! Our host, Nour, has tons of actionable tips to make you feel calmer and more prepared so you can land that dream job!

Bonus!

While these tips will help you overcome social anxiety for a job interview, I also want you to have help for other situations your anxiety may get in the way of. That’s why I compiled this list of mental health resources you can download for free. It’s got all kinds of hotlines for serious situations, but it also has links to BetterHelp, a company I’ve partnered with to get you inexpensive online therapy. You can claim your list right below!

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How To Overcome Social Anxiety for a Job Interview

“Job interviews make everyone nervous. But when you’re bad at talking to people, and really bad at talking about yourself, having other people judge your competence based on those two things can be downright terrifying. Despite your qualifications, your social anxiety may get in the way of your interview. I know it’s gotten in the way of mine. I have found too many way to ruin my chances of getting a job. For example, I have:

  • Turned bright red and peppered my responses with “likes” and “umms”
  • Given cold, clammy handshakes
  • Completely blanked and repeated the same answer for each question
  • Gotten too worked up to hear the question, and asked the interviewer to repeat it multiple times
  • Tripped/dropped things.

My first interview ever I got so nervous. As I was walking out, I felt nauseous and lightheaded, and I fainted in front of the whole office! It was embarrassing and I (obviously) didn’t get the job.

After many of these incidences, I knew I needed to make a change if I ever wanted to be hired. I’ve compiled a list of things I did to help me become calmer and more prepared so I could overcome social anxiety for a job interview. I hope they help you as well!

Reflect

Take the time to write down all your accomplishments, professional and otherwise. This will not only boost your self-confidence, it will also provide you with a list of answers to many tricky interview questions.

Practice!

The more you practice, the less intimidating it becomes. I have a constant fear of embarrassing myself, to the point where I end up sabotaging myself. Any mistake I make, I magnify to the point where it’s the only thing I think about for days. I hate feeling unprepared for an interview. Practicing at home helped me improve my skills in a safe environment.

Start of practicing alone. You will become familiar with common interview questions and how to answer them. There are many resources available:

  • The PM Interview is an awesome website that I first used to help me practice. It simulates a real interview and even sets a timer so you know how much time you’re spending answering each question.
  • This is a video simulation. It feels more realistic because there’s an actual person talking to you through the screen.

Once you’ve become more comfortable answering interview questions, try practicing with another person. Start off with someone you trust, like a parent or friend. If you’re a college student, check with the career center to see if they offer mock interviews. While practicing didn’t necessarily ease my anxiety on the day of the interview, it did make the interview itself go more smoothly. I had run through so many questions, I knew exactly how to respond.

Come Prepared

The night before:

  • Print your resume
  • Set out your outfit
  • Set your alarm clock
  • Go to bed early! If you have insomnia, there are things you can do to relax.

The morning of the interview, wake up early so you have as much time as you need to get ready. Arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled time to catch your breath and get yourself together. I have made the horrible mistake of oversleeping the day of my interview. I showed up flustered, messy, and unprepared. So, giving yourself enough time is extremely important!

Act Confident

Another reason to show up early is to have a few minutes to practice acting more confident. Acting confident will translate to being more confident. The trick I like to use is called power posing. I learned it from a TED Talk by Dr. Amy Cuddy (below). This was an amazing, eye-opening video. If you have time, definitely watch the whole thing. If you don’t, you can skip to 8:05, where she begins talking about power poses.

After Interview

You finished the interview, you survived! You deserve a reward. Relax, watch your favorite movie, or do something else you enjoy. Even if the interview didn’t go well, try not to focus on the little mistakes you made. This is a learning experience, and you’ll do better next time.

I hope these tips help! Using the above steps has helped me improve my communication skills and finally landed me a job. Once I started working, I was interacting with people daily. Over time, it became less scary! I still experience social phobia before presentations and in large crowds, but I was largely able to overcome one of my most debilitating fears. I think you can, too.

*Note: I am not a professional. My advice is from personal experience, and will not replace the expert opinions of a licensed health professional.”

overcome social anxiety for a job interview

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