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Mental Health Awareness Week 2023 – Self help tips to manage anxiety

This week (15th to 21st May) is Mental Health Awareness Week! This year, the focus is on anxiety. Anxiety can take different forms and can have different symptoms. Here’s some of the things you can look out for, and how to get help. 

Firstly, it’s important to know that sometimes feeling anxious is completely normal. For example, you may feel nervous before an exam or job interview. While it’s often an unpleasant feeling, anxiety can often be a good thing; it can help us to stay alert and make us aware of potential risk or danger. 

However, anxiety can also be an everyday problem. If your feelings of anxiety are intense, consistent, and often difficult to control, it can be a sign of an ongoing issue. Common feelings associated with anxiety are: 


  • Feeling on edge
  • Restlessness
  • A sense of dread or fear
  • Tiredness
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Feeling sick
  • Shaking
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty sleeping


These are just some of the things you might feel if you’re anxious – as anxiety can have many symptoms and we all cope with things differently. If you feel as though you are struggling with anxiety, however mild or major it may be, there are many different types of treatment, alongside lots of self-help techniques you can try at home that may help you to feel better: 


  1. Stay active and get outside

A walk in the great outdoors can work wonders for our mental health. If you’re feeling worried, stressed, tense, or whatever it may be, getting out of the house for a walk in the fresh air can help you to feel grounded and more in control. You may choose to go out with a friend, or simply by yourself, accompanied by the natural sounds of nature, your favourite podcast, song, or whatever it is that you enjoy. 


If you enjoy a particular sport or hobby, try to keep this up, as it will likely help to improve your mood. You might also like to try out a new hobby or join a community group to meet people with similar interests. 


  1. Eat a healthy, balanced diet

Looking after your physical health is just as important as taking care of your mental health, and the two often go hand in hand.  

If you’re not eating or drinking enough, you may start to feel tired and have physical symptoms, such as headaches.  

Eating a healthy and balanced diet is important to keep us fit and well physically and mentally. If you’re feeling anxious, try to avoid alcohol, caffeine, and cigarettes. 


  1. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep

Getting enough sleep is really important for our physical and mental wellbeing. We’re all different, but the NHS recommends that adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night.  

If you find it difficult to fall asleep, try to avoid looking at screens before bed and instead take the time to relax by reading a book or listening to a podcast or meditation.  

Bear in mind, if you’re a tea or coffee drinker, caffeine may be having an impact on your sleep. Try gradually reducing the amount of caffeine you drink if you think it’s affecting your sleep. If you’re a heavy caffeine-drinker, be careful not to go cold turkey, as this can cause headaches! 


  1. Talk to a friend or family member

If you’re feeling anxious, talking about it with someone you trust can help to put your worries into perspective, allowing you to focus on what you can and can’t control. You might also find it helpful to write down your worries on a piece of paper, making sure to note what you can do to relieve or solve these worries.  


If you find that you’re feeling anxious most days, or you feel that your anxious feelings are starting to affect your everyday life – know that you’re not alone in feeling this way. Help is available, however minor you think your feelings are. 


The NHS Talking Therapies, Kent and Medway partners provide a range of talking therapies and support for people across Kent and Medway. Talking therapies are proven to help with anxiety find out more about how we can help you, here. 

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Published date:

17th May 2023

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