Friday, 13 November 2015

Learning to relax

As mentioned in my previous blog about seeing the bigger picture, whilst this way of thinking  from being dyspraxic/dyslexic has brought me a lot of strengths and a unique way of seeing the world it has also made me struggle a lot with anxiety and sensory processing issues which means life can be very overwhelming at times.

As a child I used to get myself so worked up into this anxious fizz and it was so difficult for my parents to get me to calm down, a lot of it was built up frustration from my brain having to work 10x harder than everyone else, the day to day stresses of having dyspraxia to being overwhelmed by various sensory stimuli leading to sensory overload which can still happen as an adult when I get very overwhelmed. Then of course there was and still is the constant worrying, if there is something to worry about in a situation, whether it be about myself, worrying about other people, or the what ifs. Sometimes my most common phrase to my boyfriend is "I'm worried" he calls me his worry pot.

Even though the world can be simply terrifying at times especially when I'm in environments with a lot of crowds, noise, and people which means my sensory overload goes into overdrive, I realised I needed to start learning to relax. It's very easy for people who don't struggle with anxiety and/or sensory issues to say "just relax" or "there's nothing to be worried about" when your mind is thinking of as many worst case scenarios. I've realised that although I can't change environments, make crowds magically disappear, or make sudden  noises stop well being so sudden, there are some changes I have been making to try and help me relax and rationalize my thoughts as being in a constant state of worry can be exhausting and make me have a poorly tummy.

I've mentioned in previous blogs that quite a bit of my anxieties especially in social situations stems from confidence and self esteem and realising I deserve to look after myself and take care of myself this is a long journey which I still need to remind myself of but I'm taking little steps which will hopefully all add up.  Self care can be anything from a bubble bath, to going for a walk, to treating yourself to your favourite food, or relaxing with a book whatever you find helps but just making some time for yourself and find your escape in life.

Before I talk about some of the things which have helped me with my anxiety and sensory overload I think it's really important if you are experiencing high levels of anxiety to seek professional help, mine has helped change my life and put me on a more positive journey. Never struggle in silence, there's nothing to be ashamed of.

In general with anxiety breaking things down into more manageable steps and setting little targets can help wondering just how you can change the way you think can be terrifying but the feeling afterwards once you've fought those anxieties and not let them win, that sheer determination and resilience can make you feel so proud of yourself and so you should be.

  Having good, positive company and people who understand and accept you for who you are and bring positive energy can really help you feel comfortable and relax that little bit more. Having someone to talk to about worries and any anxieties before a social situation and who knows how to help if things get too much and help rationalise thoughts can really help boost confidence or at the same time give some encouragement when they know a situation is going to be tricky.

 Some environments we have no choice to be in, but I think it's important to be yourself and find ones which your dyspraxic self feels more comfortable in. When I experience sensory overload or feel very overwhelmed in a crowd or in a busy environment I find taking myself out of it and trying breathing exercises can help.

 At night time I can find it very hard to relax and switch off, my mind is always on the go, always thinking, which can mean getting to sleep and having a good night sleep difficult especially after a busy stressful day. I've been finding rescue remedy for night time has helped me drift off and sometimes relaxing music, it's all trial and error and finding what works best for you in the long term situations.

Whether you're dyspraxic or not, anxiety is a real battle and learning to relax is definitely something really difficult, but keep taking those small steps forward, keep fighting, you're stronger than you think you are and finally step back and just breathe.


  1. I find having a familiar audio book (my alternative to relaxing music) on hand helps a lot. If I'm feeling stressed out or like I'm getting overloaded sensory wise I just plug in my headphones. I think it's something to do with focusing on one particular sound for a while which then makes it easier to carry on with my day.

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