Getting Through Night Time Anxiety: Intentional & Honouring Steps that Work

by mental health and wellness, recovery, healing & living well despite

Earlier this week we had some very windy weather here that howled and rattled things for a couple of nights. With this came some major anxiety for me, particularly during the first night.

 

I succeeded by taking these exact steps:

 

 

Intentional steps for easing the discomfort:

 

I moved

-> rumination and doing nothing doesn’t help. Nor does my PTSD predisposition to freeze.

 

I went to the bathroom and had a drink of water

-> because basic needs should always be met.

 

I looked outside 

-> facts help.

 

I wrote down the steps I was taking 

-> distraction is great for me when I am really in anxiety and it was also a way to capture a very real account of moving through anxiety that I know others will benefit from.

 

I challenged and stood up to unhelpful thoughts 

-> a first thought was ‘how crazy is this being anxious about the wind’ but I know that judgement is not helpful. I remembered that I can do things to help myself and that there are ways for me to take back control.

 

I accessed what I know to be true 

-> a grounding mantra of acceptance was the key, ‘this is anxiety, it will pass’.

 

I practiced grounding exercises 

-> a sniff of lavender and doing the 3*3 – naming 3 things I could see, naming 3 things I could hear, naming 3 things I could touch. I know that sensory input and awareness is a fast-track to calm.

 

I did hand on heart breathing

-> because anxiety rushes are as much a physiological experience as a thought based one. This is how I centre.

 

I patted our Max Cat

-> he was my connection to another being and absolute reassurance that I was not alone … and his fur is soooo damn soft and snuggly.

 

I sat in front of the fire with a blanket

-> for comfort and soothing.

 

I warmed my large wheat bag and placed it on me once I went to bed

-> the warmth and weight is another sensory adaptation that helps anxiety.

 

 

Honouring where I was and the change that I knew would, and actually was, happening within me:

 

I didn’t return to bed too soon

-> if I did I would have been put right back into intense anxiety and I didn’t want that.

 

I was ‘ok’ with being ‘not ok’

-> after a lot of years experience – lived and learned as well as practice based through my counselling work – and knowing the intricacies of anxiety I  know that being frustrated by it or fighting anxiety does not help, at all and even prolongs how long it lasts.

 

I scaled my level of anxiety over time and noticed the changes within me as they occurred

-> absolute evidence that my level of distress and discomfort was easing and that what I was doing was making a difference which is always helpful to remember.

 

Once I was in a better place I went to bed and continued to be gentle with myself the next day

 

 

In small ways I am still course correcting with some residual anxiety still hanging around. Whilst my discomfort is liveable in the usual way for me again I am conscious that more space to myself over the coming days as well as reducing the demand I place on myself will help.

 

Knowing this is what I need to continue to do and accepting where I am in any moment is critical to my ongoing wellness. I know how to help myself now, and I do.

 

… with heart,

Ellie.