I've spoken a little about the whole anxious mind thing, and over the years I've built up a portfolio of calming techniques that work when I'm feeling at my most crap. I thought I would share some of these, in conjunction with Time to Talk Day (for more info on this see here). These may not work for you, but maybe you'll see something new on this list that you can try next time you feel overwhelmed or tense:
1 Holding my breath - I'm not saying until I'm blue in the face, but sometimes if I feel like there's a heavy weight on my chest, I take a deep breath, hold it for as long as is comfortable, usually about 8-10 seconds, and then let it go. People say that breathing exercises are helpful, but more rhythmic breath counting, that takes too long for me, I'm more of a quick fix kind of gal.
2 Rewatching shows - I've spoken about this one, but there's something so relaxing about knowing what is going to happen in a show, and still being invested in the characters so your brain can disconnect from whatever is really going on. Yes, this is distraction, but if it gives me time to calm down and reassess whatever is making me feel how I'm feeling, I call that a win. I wrote my list of most rewatchable Netflix shows here - maybe you'll find something on there you weren't expecting to have a go at.
3 Walking/ Outside time - it's proven that being out in fresh air is good for you, and with my job where I live where I work, sometimes I don't have many excuses to leave the inside for hours and on occasion days, so I really value that time outdoors.
4 Audiobooks - this one is for those that, like me, struggle to sleep. I find myself scrolling TikTok at 2 in the morning sometimes when I know I should've just turned on an audiobook and I would've been asleep ages ago. Since I was small I've listened to audiobooks, starting with cassettes when I was young to now where I've got the joy of Audible and podcasts. I've got a few different ones that I listen to (oh no I can feel another "top 10" blog coming along), but right now I'm pretty hooked on listening to Game of Thrones book 1 on Audible - I like that I know what's going to happen (big GoT fan here), and I can envisage what's happening with the characters in my head, eyes closed, no bright screen lights keeping me awake. I believe they let you get a free audiobook when you sign up so give it a go if you think it will help you.
5 Puzzles - yes, I am your grandma. I'm not even ashamed - I fricking LOVE puzzles. You name it, I love it. I even have an app on my phone that updates every day with new puzzles of all different types - types I bet you non-puzzle loving weirdo's have never even heard of. I'm talking sudoku, jigsaw, crosswords, word slide, picture cross, cross sum, code word. Yeah, now you're lost or confused - you didn't realise there were so many options, I know, until about a year ago neither did I! Puzzling gives me the chance to remove my brain from any weird threads that are making me feel crap, and to focus on other, challenging things like figuring out what 9 across "descriptive title" (7 letters) could be.
Well, I hope this was useful. If it wasn't... well now you know how much I love puzzles, my secret is out.