With the party season upon us, starting with Halloween (HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE), we have high expectations for the coming celebrations. Over the past weeks Instagram has been exploding with photographs of Halloween costumes and evidence of some very messy nights on the town. Soon we will hear the roar of fireworks as we celebrate Bonfire Night and then, quick as a flash, Santa Claus will be putting presents under our trees before singing Auld Lang Syne and welcoming in 2018. For many, including myself, these events bring excitement for months on end. We look forward to the family coming together and eating our body weight in delicious home-cooked food. All of this however does not stop the psychological alarm bells that, for many, come hand-in-hand with these joyous occasions.
Am I organised? How many people will there be at the party? Do I know anyone? I’ll be fine. I’m out of my depth. Everyone is having a good time- except me. Do I look stupid? Do people think I am boring? Do I look OK?
For some people the lead up to such events is terrifying. The physiological processes that take place in the body is like the moment you catch a glimpse of a huge spider, when you are walking alone in the dark or seeing a clown when you are out trick-or-treating tonight- assuming that these things creep you out of course. A racing heart, sweating palms and eagerly searching for a way to ‘get out’. Feeling overwhelmed is a common symptom of anxiety. We all have anxiety to different extents in different situations- in the same way that we all experience varied levels of stress. For me, the knots in my stomach arrive mostly after a ‘big’ night. Even when I feel like I’ve had the best night ever my mind works over-time, piecing together different parts of the night to make me feel embarrassed, ashamed or not good enough- it’s worse than a hangover after one too many tequilas. Now, thankfully, I manage these negative surges of emotion- but to do this it is important to admit that you feel overwhelmed. It’s not something to be embarrassed of. We have all been anxious- and if you say you haven’t, you are lying.
I decided to write this blog post and be as open as possible about my personal experiences as I know of people who have, in the past, took months (sometimes years) to research self-help techniques to cope with these feelings. Often people simply bottle up their feelings and push them to one side. This will more than likely lead to increased emotion of upset or anger when alone, the urge to reach for a bottle of wine or becoming angry and frustrated with these feelings you find impossible to explain. If you are reading this and think this sounds like you- GREAT. This is your first step to accepting that you need to discover more positive methods of dealing with feelings of anxiety.
There are many ways to manage anxiety and if you feel as though you are unable to defeat these intense emotions it is important to seek professional help. There are some self-help techniques that are extremely useful to help you to relax and calm your ‘fight or flight’ response. Personally, I like to write and be creative. You could also read, exercise, listen to music, dance, draw, paint, sing, play an instrument- anything that you enjoy. Meditation and aromatherapy can also help you to see things from a different, more positive perspective (particularly guided meditation if you find it difficult).
Have fun over the holiday period and don’t let anxiety define you. Explain your situation to people who are close to you and make time for yourself. Remember, it takes a strong person to start their journey of overcoming anxiety- and you are doing FAB. And again, Happy Halloween!
Kayleigh Rose x