Say the word anxiety to someone, and they’re likely to assume the worst, and by the worst I mean sweat, hyperventilation and visible, tangible panic. Those are all very scary, real symptoms of anxiety, but sometimes the signs are a lot more subtle than that. A lot of people wouldn’t even consider the notion that what they’re experiencing is anxiety, and write certain things off as a behaviour quirk or random feelings.
Keep getting stuck in weird procrastination loops, or kicking off when you don’t even feel that annoyed? You might be suffering with low-key anxiety. The first step to cracking the back of it is knowing what to look out for.
Have you ever felt locked in a loop of scrolling through your phone aimlessly? You’re not really enjoying yourself, feel stressed about the millions of things you’re actually MEANT to be doing, but can’t seem to stop? This could actually be a sign of avoidance and the freeze in a fight/flight/freeze response, and it’s when your brain goes into shutdown, making it impossible to do anything besides swiping and scrolling. It’s a subconscious effort to quieten down the stress, and writing another ‘YASS KWEEN’ on a randoms instagram probably isn’t helping longterm.
Feeling nervous to do nothing
If you’re finding it hard to just sit still and chill tf out, this is also a sign that something is off with your nervous system. If you’re reaching for your phone/switching on a movie/constantly looking for a task rather than just taking 5, there could be something up.
1 drink turns into 7
Who doesn’t love a cheeky marg at the end of a long hard day of cashing cheques and breaking necks? It’s fun, they’re delicious and life’s for living. However, if you’re finding it hard to stick to just one or two, and your drinking has gone from fun and laughter to fear and loathing, it might be time to look at the root of why. It’s hard being honest with yourself, but your future self will thank you.
Your sleep is off
Your body clock can feel like a ticking time bomb, and if it’s off you’re going to be feeling off everything. Anxiety and insomnia are two very common problems that can make it feel literally impossible to fall asleep. Both conditions can cause you to lay awake for hours, wondering if you will ever get even a wink of sleep before your day starts again. It can feel like a cycle of hellish stress, and worrying just makes it worse.
Spontaneity feels shitty
If you’ve gone from laissez-faire don’t care to being intense and militant about plans, this could be a sign that your nervous system is a bit of a shit-show right now. Overplanning, or worrying about what might happen is usually a sign that something is stressing you out deep down.
If any of the above sounds like you, don’t panic. Anxiety always carries an important message for you. When you're able to notice, listen to, and address your whispering anxiety, you can prevent it from escalating. Here’s a grab-sheet of ways to stave off stress:
- Getting outside, even for 15 minutes
- Talking to someone you love about it
- Talking to someone you love about ANYTHING
- Low-key physical movement (yoga is meditative, sex is fun, swimming is restorative, the world’s your oyster)
- Meditation or breathwork, if that’s your thing
- Getting off your phone at least an hour before bed
- Writing down how you’re feeling
If what you’re feeling feels like it’s too much to deal with alone, know that you don’t have to.
Article Image Credit @hollyleeboorman
Article Written by Ianthe Jacob