Life Hacks For Coping With Anxiety

ANXIETY WORDPRESSI have lived with anxiety at varying levels all my life and have a diagnosis of anxious/dependent personality disorder. Although this has improved over recent years, I still get times, such as I’m experiencing now, where my anxiety levels significantly impact my daily life. One of my major ongoing challenges, as is common for people with anxiety, is coping with being outside. I used to need a lot of support from other people to manage this. However, over the last few years, I have learned tools which allow me to be able to get on with my life independently, as best as I can. In recently revisiting these tool, I thought I might share them to hopefully help others in a similar position.

Preparing to go outside 

Virtual Support

Ask a trusted friend if they can be on standby to be available for a call or text should you find yourself struggling outside. For example, I have a friend who works from home and I know I can send him a message for some encouragement, support or just for a bit of distraction if I find myself getting overwhelmed outside. Having this in place before you leave the house helps to provide reassurance and the sense of not being alone.

Using public transport 

Comfort/distraction items 

Public transport can be very difficult to negotiate when anxious. Finding ways to self-soothe or distract yourself when anxiety runs high can be very helpful. Those that know me will know I travel everywhere with a small stuffed sheep called Lambycat. He has become a permanent lodger in my rucksack since I split with my partner a couple of years ago. He is now my substitute outside support. I am a very tactile person and touch really soothes me. I can easily stick a hand in my rucksack and stroke his ear and it settles me. I don’t care what people think if it helps me to manage a journey without a panic attack then what does it matter!

The item doesn’t have to be a stuffed toy. It could be a favourite scarf or another item of clothing that makes you feel comforted. It could also be a fiddle toy such as a fidget spinner. Mobile phones now come with a huge variety of apps and games and you could equally use one of those to help to calm you and distract you on your journey.

Using things such as these, help to focus the mind on something other than stressors in the external world or on racing inner thoughts.

Navigating roads 

‘Secret crossing button’ 

Anxiety can negatively impact our ability to concentrate and make decisions. For myself, this happens when I attempt to cross a major road which is a daunting task when my anxiety is high. Even using crossings can be challenging as I can get overstimulated by watching cars and people and then not see the green man appear or hear the crossing beep.

A few years ago, I discovered that some crossings have a small cone under the button panel. These are designed for blind and or deaf people and it rotates when it’s clear to cross. Its so much easier for me to lower my eyes so I can calm myself and not be overwhelmed by cars and people and concentrate on feeling it start spinning. I make a point of knowing which ones have them in my area and on a high anxiety day, I will use them.

Finding your way around 

Google Map mobile app

Finding your way to a new place when you are anxious can be all too overwhelming. Using Google Maps has been a lifesaver for me for several reasons. Using the app makes it so much less stressful to attend appointments in new places, as the map gives me step by step guidance.  I can even find familiar places hard to get around in if my anxiety is very high as I can forget where things are. At times of extremely high anxiety, I can find that a familiar place just drops out of my mind, like an inner map has been deleted. I can see where I am, and I can visualise the place I want to get to but for some reason, I cannot work out how to get there. Google map has saved me from a huge panic so many times with this. Additionally, I like the ‘time to get there’ feature which can be changed from transport to walking. This is really useful as  knowing how much time I have to reach my destination makes me feel reassured and calmer.

Coping in crowded places 


Anxiety can make it very hard to be around people, due to the noise and the crowds and the worry that someone might speak to you. I carry around headphones, but mostly for things other than listening to music. Listing to music on public transport can be soothing but I find that listening to music whilst walking actually makes me more anxious and paranoid. I worry that I won’t hear someone speak to me or creep up on me. However, having headphones in my ears without music dulls the outside noise enough to make the sounds less intense. Also, they serve as a signal for people to not talk to me when I am too anxious to make conversation.

Meditation apps

Meditation is such a powerful tool in dealing with anxiety. Developing a daily practice helps to train you into the habit of being able to quieten your mind and calm yourself down in times of high anxiety. Learning to meditate has been a huge turning point in learning to live with my anxiety and managing to function on a daily basis. There are lots of wonderful apps to help you to learn and to use on the go. My favorite is Buddify as it has meditations of various lengths for various situations, such as coping with difficult emotions and crowded places.

Safe spaces

Having someone safe to retreat is vital. I make a point of knowing a few places where I feel safe and comfortable such as a café, local library or local park. Even a familiar public toilet can be useful, just to have a private space to sit for a moment and calm down before venturing back outside.


Importantly, if you have tried everything you can, and the anxiety is just too much, don’t beat yourself up if you need to get home. You have done amazingly well to get out of the house in the first place so congratulate yourself and then try again another day. Dealing with mental health is difficult and exhausting. Any steps, even the ones that seem tiny, are actually giant leaps forward. Its all about progress, not perfection.


I hope these are helpful to you. I have also made a video about anxiety to accompany this blog. If you would like at add any hacks, tips or advice that you find helpful I would love to hear them!


Loving Your Body – Day 39 Of #365daysofselfcare

This Blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge

Self-care is showing your body you love it

2018-06-08_14.53.54-01Today’s self-care was buying myself some new clothes! I needed new jeans but the trouble is I have an awful lot of trouble buying them. I find it so hard to find ones that fit as my legs are short at 29 inches and also because my hips are bigger than the average male. Its always a dysphoria inducing task and most of the time I end up buying baggy jeans as I feel it hides things better.

However, today I actually bought jeans that fit, and not just any jeans, slim fit ones! I did have a brief… “I have female hips,” moment, but it didn’t spiral into huge dysphoric levels, it was more of a niggle than a nag. Even more of a bonus is that I managed to fit in size 30 jeans! I had been wearing 36!

Happy boy with 2 new pairs of jeans and a flamingo top!


Pushing Through Fear-Day 38 of #365daysofselfcare

This Blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge

Self-care is knowing when to push through fear

2018-06-08_14.01.53-01When you have mental health challenges, one of the hardest things is to balance the times when you push through anxiety and when you allow yourself to avoid the anxiety. Knowing when to do which takes a lot of self honesty.

After yesterdays anxiety, I almost cancelled today’s driving lesson. I also had my boyfriend staying over and so my mind was thinking up all sorts of excuses. However, I knew that on this occasion, pushing through the fear was the best self-care action I could take. If I had cancelled, it would only have strengthened my inner critics voice which insists on telling me that, “… I can’t drive, I’ll never pass my test, my instructor hates me…” etc.

As it turns out, I had a really good lesson, proof that the things fear tells us often just are not true!


Keeping Things Simple-Day 37 Of #365daysofselfcare

This Blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge

Self-care is keeping things simple on difficult days

2018-06-05_20.16.19-01In stark contrast to yesterdays high, today I feel low, uneasy and incredibly anxious. I had a Skype call this morning, phone calls always make me anxious, video calls even more so! I thought this was the reason but the anxiety remained after the call.

It can be so hard sometimes to accept how I feel, especially when there is no apparent cause. I’m so happy, I’m dizzy with new relationship fuzzy feelings, and yet here I am today feeling awful. Urg.

It could all be down to my thyroid still, my levels are due to be re taken soon. It also could be a bit of a come down from all the highs Ive been feeling. However, I have learnt that at times like this, trying to work out why, is not always helpful. Instead, its best to move into acceptance, practice self-love and simplify my day.

Today’s self-care then, was to cancel all but the most important tasks I had to do today and remind myself that this will pass.



The Power Of Music-Day 36 Of #365daysofselfcare

This Blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge

Self-care is knowing which wellness tools you can use to change your mood

2018-06-05_19.36.03-01Despite my restful weekend, I found it hard to get going today. I had lots to do and writing planned but I just kept getting distracted. I feel OK, a little tired but mostly OK, just lacking motivation.

Music is one of my favourite and useful self-care tools. I use it too soothe myself, to distract myself and to lift my mood. Its amazing how much it can shift how Im feeling in an instant.

I put on some cheesy tunes and danced around the lounge for ten minutes and then spent the next 2 hours being really productive and writing lots!

Taking Time Out-Day 30 to 35 Of #365daysofselfcare

This Blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge

Self-care is knowing when to take a break

2018-06-03_18.21.28-02I am out of date with my posting. In fact I’m out of date with all my social media. I decided to take a few days break from it all. I have been working so hard recently, writing articles, blog posts and short stories. My keyboard has been on fire!

I declared my fifth date with my new boyfriend, (I cannot get used to saying that!) as a little mini holiday. I travelled to him on Tuesday and stayed until Friday and allowed myself time off from writing. It was really lovely to just give myself permission to have some much needed chill out time and even more lovely that it was in wonderful company with a man that gives me so much to smile about.

I intended to pick work back up on Friday afternoon and spend the weekend catching up with all my posts, emails and general social media. However,  I was absolutely worn out and instead have spent the weekend slobbing out! I have done a few things, but all from the comfort of my bed! I finally emerged today and went out for a brief walk and for some food supplies.

Its been a while since I’ve flaked out like that but its understandable really as I’ve been on such an emotional high. Whilst the high is a wonderful thing and should be enjoyed, self-care means preparing for the come down and allowing my body to react in whatever way it needs.



Healthy Habits-Day 29 Of #365daysofselfcare

This Blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge

Self-care is keeping up with healthy habits

IMG_20180528_223158_346.jpgI am feeling so much better at the moment. My fatigue seems to have improved a little, as does my mood. Of course my being smitten with a certain gent could have something to do with it!

Either way, I am noticing an all too familiar pattern. My daily program routine is slipping. It always does when things are OK as I’m not being so vigilant about it. I must take care of myself, even during the high times.

This morning, I sat for a half hour meditation session. I have fallen out of the habit and it felt so good to sit and quieten my mind after a fair few days without doing so. Meditation has always been a key part of my recovery and doing it everyday is a priority for me. Time to get back in the swing!