And Breathe…

Finding different ways to switch off and relax your body is important. It’s important to make time for yourself, and let your body relax. And what’s our favourite way to revitalise ourselves, and recharge? Sleeping. But when the stresses in our lives, and anxieties cause us to loose sleep, we can’t manage to face our days to the maximum because we’re just so tired and anxious. So what do I like to use to help me get a good nights sleep, and relax myself when I’m feeling anxious, that really do work?

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First up is one product I’ve written about before. The Deep Sleep Stress Less roller ball. I got my hands on this product around a year ago, and I’m still loving it. It’s a really great travel friendly product, which once applied to your pulse points, releases a cooling and calming oil onto your skin, which just oozes tranquility. I really like to carry this with me in my bag, just to help deal with those anxious moments. For a more in depth review, head over here.

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Next on the list is the Deep Sleep Pillow Spray. I’ve had my beady eye on this product for a good while now, and after grabbing a small sample in the latest Marie Claire magazine, I was also able to get 20% off my order at This Works. I really like this product. When I get into bed, I like my routine to be smooth, and I want to be able to get really comfy in my nest. There’s nothing more agitating than not being comfy and not being able to sleep. So I spray this a couple of times onto my pillow, and on the top of my duvet. The super blend of lavender and camomile really help to relax me and ease me into a nice calming sleep. Definitely one to purchase if you’re an agitated sleeper.

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And lastly is one to definitely pair up with the Pillow Spray. The Deep Sleep Breathe In. This one is very similar to the Deep Sleep Stress Roller Ball. However, it comes in a longer white tube, and works really nicely with the Pillow Spray. It comes in a roller ball form again, and is recommended for your pulse points. The essential oils combined with the natural therapeutic ingredients of Lavender, Vetivert and Patchouli are really calming, and allow that extra pinch of anxiety melt away. I also like to use this on the go, because the tube feels more durable in my bag, I really find this helps when I’m out and about and I can feel my anxiety taking over. I just rub this on my neck and my wrists and breathe in the beautiful aromas, which really help to calm me and keep my anxiety levels to a minimum.

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So there are my natural products which help to keep my anxiety at bay, and allow me to get a good nights sleep. Which we all know is one of the biggest tips of beauty. If you are struggling with anxiety, I really would recommend these products to keep at your bedside or in your bag. And remember, to just take it easy. With me anxiety feels like everything is happening to quickly all at once. Take a breath, take each day slowly, and maybe give these a rub on your pulse points when you need to.

The Anxious One….

So in a day or so I’ll be on a long haul flight to Hong Kong…again. I’ll then be there for a while to then find myself on another plane heading for Thailand. After some time researching and looking into voluntary programmes, meditation escapes and yoga retreats…I found an opportunity to work with my beloved spirit animal back in Asia. Elephants. Since coming back from Vietnam I’ve found myself with this love inside me and this wandering heart needing to travel, to learn different cultures, to meet different people and to live in all of that and take it in and soak it all up and learn from it all. And so with that bug inside of me, I was desperate to book another trip. But here comes the catch. Anxiety.

Living with anxiety I would say has been the toughest thing I have to live with. Some days it’s just in the background, other days it pulls me down making me want to make a nest in my bed and not face the day or anyone for that matter. That constant churning in your stomach, the feeling of constantly treading water, getting ready to drown again. As hard and exhausting it is, you shouldn’t let it stop you from doing things you want to, like in this case travelling.

It’s so easy to stop yourself and think ‘nope, there is no way I’m getting on that bus, train or plane’. It’s so easy to just not experience and just dream about the places you want to go and let your anxiety build up that wall in front of you instead of you knocking down that wall and freeing yourself. I’m not going to lie to you, it takes a lot of strength, because that wall isn’t made of straw. That wall is solid brick, and it’s high. Very fucking high.

Finding that strength is bloody hard too. Because, well, you’re anxious. And you’re anxious you’re not strong enough, you’re scared on what’s on the other side. You’re scared you’ll crumble, or lose your footing in that water and begin to drown again like you have in the past. Even if that happens, that’s okay. Remember that. It’s okay to fall. It’s okay to lose your footing.

When travelling, I’ve learnt many things on how to overcome my anxiety. Taking small steps is the biggest one. Don’t do everything at once. If you do this, you’ll become overwhelmed, you’ll go too deep and you’ll feel like that waters coming in to drown you. Give yourself time. Time to gather yourself, to calm and find your peace, before heading onto your next step. I hate not having time to get from one place to the other. I like knowing once I get to one place, I have the time to prepare myself for the next phase otherwise I become agitated and stressed which can make me lose myself in those waters.

Be organised. If I’m not organised, this makes me feel anxious. So eliminate that factor. Have your documents with you ready to travel. Tickets, passports whatever you need to get from A to B. Have a watch or clock handy at all times. Plan your route, plan your timings. This really helps me stay calm and relaxed. Check in with people. People back home who are probably tracking your every step… Notify them where you are. You’ve just gone through check in, you’re about to board the plane, or you’ve just landed in your first stop. Then think about that. Then tell yourself you’ve just done that. And not only that, but you’re okay. You’ve achieved so much already and you’re still okay. Maybe you’re a little shaky, a little nervous or disorientated but you are okay. Always. Don’t feel stupid congratulating yourself either. Hell I was pretty much having full blown conversations with myself in toilet cubicles keeping my cool, or walking to different gates in airports, casually talking to myself to remain calm and congratulating myself on what I’ve just overcome. People thought I was insane, but that’s okay. Because it made me okay.

After being physically and mentally able to travel to Asia on my own in February was a big deal. Yes, I broke down on occasions, I had to be escorted onto the plane from Manchester to Hong Kong because it was visible to the flight attendants that I was loosing it. But I still got on that plane. Something I never really thought about. Even though I was in the midst of a mild panic attack, I took that ladies hand and crossed over from the Terminal tunnel onto the plane. I crossed over my anxiety and basically told it to fuck off. And I’ll do the same with this trip to Thailand. I know I’ll get anxious thinking about different things, and being there on my own, travelling all that way again on my own, being safe, meeting new people. But that’s natural. I just have to control that crippling anxiety. If I had let my anxiety stop me from experiencing all I did in Vietnam I would never have forgiven myself. Not like I’d really know what I was missing…but still. The life I felt there gave me such strength that I forgot for just a moment what it was like to feel that cloud over me.

This constant battle you are fighting is all you. No one else. It’s the battlefield in your mind that you’re fighting, and my god its exhausting. You see people buckle into their seat on the aircraft, not even wincing. Then there’s me shaking too much to even fit the buckle of my seat belt together. But that’s not the people around me. It’s not the aircraft itself. It’s the battlefield in my head constantly telling my body I’m afraid. I’m afraid of these situations. I’m afraid that I’m trapped, and I see no way out. I’m afraid when I say something to someone, which I then mull over for hours thinking how bad or awkward that was, when in reality that person has forgotten or didn’t even notice the awkward situation. It’s this constant battlefield in my head which tells me to curl up and run because I’m not good enough. I’m not strong or brave enough to fight, because well, it’s just me, I’m only Lottie, I’m nothing. That’s the fight that you constantly deal with. And it’s fucking hard to charge from the opposing side on your own with no weapons or back up. Because it just feels like too much. And it’s just too bloody exhausting. And it’s a part of you now, that’s made itself at home for so long, you don’t even now when it really started, or if it was there all along…So that makes it pretty hard to imagine it not being there. Almost like the sickest comfort blanket you’ve ever held onto. Or that holds onto you…

I can’t tell you things will be okay, and it will be sorted soon. I can’t tell you to just calm down, and stop worrying. I can’t tell you to cheer up and smile either. But I can say that you can deal with this. If you accept it first. Accept that things aren’t okay. But you are. It’s not something to be ashamed of. If you had a chest infection, or a broken limb, you wouldn’t be ashamed of that, so don’t be ashamed of this, just because it’s not visible to all. It’s still there eating inside of you, constantly nibbling away. Don’t let it finish its meal. Speak out and tell someone. Anyone who you think will listen. Confide in a friend or relative and find comfort in that release that at least someone knows and can try and understand that battlefield. Hey they might even join your side and help you fight. There is so much help around you and inside of you that you are oblivious to. This might even help. But don’t let it waste opportunities either.

Recently I’ve learnt that this anxiety within me isn’t going away any time soon. So in the meantime I’ll embrace it. If I feel anxious, I won’t let it consume me or take over me, but I will ride it out. And if that means embarrassing myself with the uncontrollable sweats, the tears, the shakes and the hyperventilating then fine. This is me for the moment. Maybe people will describe me as the anxious one. But in a couple of years time, hopefully people will describe me as the one that travelled and helped so many people and animals, and did these amazing things despite having crippling anxiety, which she overcame.

I’m not letting my anxiety stopping me from doing all the things I’d love to do. So don’t let experiences fly past you, let yourself fly with them…

Vietnam…

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So about half a year ago I had a mad moment and I booked a trip to Vietnam to volunteer with children and young adults with additional needs. And now it’s pretty much here. AH.

Yes I am absolutely shitting myself, yes I am the most nervous I have ever been in my life but yes I am so overwhelmingly excited. If you read my blog post a couple of months back about how I travelled to London on my own, you will know I am pretty pants at travelling, especially on my lonesome. I hold my hands up and admit it, travelling is a major trigger for my anxiety. But it’s okay. I’ve got this. Ish…

I will be leaving Manchester and heading to Hong Kong which will take me a brutal 18 hours in a metal tube with recycled air. How can anyone not feel nervous? After that, I will spend the day in Hong Kong and wait for my connecting flight to Hanoi, the Vietnamese Capital. After spending a night there, I will then head to my final destination of Halong Bay where I will work for two weeks with children and young adults.

One factor that has kept me feeling okayish is keeping organised. Thankfully I have had great support with the organisation I am travelling with, [IVHQ] you should definitely check them out if you’re looking to volunteer anywhere! They gave me plenty of information about the country and checklists to do to organise me for my trip such as visa’s, safety checks and vaccinations etc. When I don’t feel organised, everything I know I need to do hangs on me like wet washing slowly pushing me down. Once it’s done, the relief is great and relaxes me. So get everything you need done and let that washing dry people!

When I feel myself loosing control of keeping it together, I think about the people I will be helping, and how I may even get the chance to change their lives even for just two weeks. That very thought alone makes me almost banish all of my anxious thoughts, and makes me even more excited and motivated to go. I am so incredibly lucky to have found the opportunity to catch that metal tube hurdling enormous amounts of speeds through the air just to help individuals less fortunate than me.

It’s going to be terrifying yes. But let’s do it! See you soon Halong Bay…

Tam Biêt…

Shitting yourself…

If there’s one promise I’ve made to myself recently, it’s to do more ‘stuff’. Doing more on my days off, seeing different places and doing things that scare me a little.

If you read one of my recent posts, you would have seen that I spent a couple of days in London. Read that here if you like! I went to apply for a Visa as I will be travelling to Vietnam early in the New Year which is a different story that I’m currently shitting myself about. But if you continue to read you’ll see that shitting yourself is okay. Ish…

London to some people may not be that scary, which is cool. Great even. But it’s not something that’s the norm for me. If I venture somewhere on my own, the furthest I’d go would be to Liverpool or Leeds only to be met by my sister. So travelling from Southport to London completely on my tod was a big deal, especially when I’m quite the anxious traveller. But I’m working on it.

How did it go you say? It was tough. It was tough not knowing anyone around me, and having so many people go about their daily business, and then me sticking out like a sore thumb, trying to figure out which tube station to hop on and hop off at. I got lost, I tried to check into the wrong hotel, but I had a lovely man that told me Jesus loved me. Not all that bad hey! But in all seriousness, this trip tested me in so many different ways, which may sound really over the top or whatever but I’m happy it did.

It scared the shit out of me. I had a constant sickness feeling in my stomach because of where I was and who would try and speak to me. I was paranoid I was walking too slow and slowing people down. I was scared I would get so lost I wouldn’t find my way back. But aside from all that, I was able to find the courage to go and watch a show on my own, and cry along with the strangers next to me. I was able to eat my lunch and drink some of the best coffee’s I’ve tasted from lovely little independent cafes. I was able to do something I don’t usually do. I had me time. And that’s what matters the most.

From this tiny little trip I’ve learnt so much. That yes, it’s okay to worry your socks off and panic a little. But to continue and be strong, and embrace the moment you’re in so you can cherish it later and look back and think, I did that. Go me!

So I guess I should find the point to this post. If you’re desperate to do something that isn’t what you normally do because it scares you, you should do it even more. It’s okay to feel like you’re loosing control of a situation because as quick as that can happen, it can easily become back into your control. Grab those experiences by the horns and live. Don’t get me wrong, I still want to curl up in a ball every time I think about travelling to Vietnam by myself, but at least I can look back at this little trip and think, well I travelled to London on my own? Yes, it’s not the same distance, but it was pretty major. Why is this any different? I can do this and I will do this.