Feelings of anxiety can be normal in our lives however feelings of anxiety or deep worry that do not shift can have a major negative impact upon our lives in the long term.

Anxiety can be the symptom of other conditions such as PTSD or Social Anxiety.

Common manifestations of anxiety could be over worrying, a racing heart or a feeling of panic that won’t go away.  This could have an impact upon your concentration or sleeping patterns.

You may have been worrying about an event and it passes but your anxiety continues (often moving to another ‘event’) this is a strong indication that you have anxiety.

It is important to reach out for help if you feel you are struggling with anxiety, speaking to your GP is the best place to start.

Self-care for Anxiety

First steps;

  • Is there anyone close to you who you can talk to? Do you have a support network within the forces who you can open up to?  Failing that there are Samaritans and Anxiety UK
  • Try to give yourself space between yourself and your anxiety. Just because you may be finding things difficult now it doesn’t mean it will always be like this
  • Think of a time when you were not feeling anxious and think about a future where you won’t be as anxious.

Initial steps to look after yourself;

  • Allow certain times of the day to ‘worry’ about matters that may be important to you at this time. This just gives you an allotted time where you are free to worry
  • Try and face up to things you want to avoid. This exposes you to the very thing that may be of concern and in doing so, over time, the anxiety will hopefully reduce
  • Challenge your anxious thought. For example you may be struggling in your relationship and one thing which may be helpful is to spend a designated amount of time to think about a certain aspect of the relationship that is troubling you and really challenge your beliefs – you may realise through this that your thoughts are valid

Other useful self-care tips which may be useful;

  • Write down your worries on some paper and put them away somewhere, this aims to give you space between you and your worries
  • Some of your concerns may be due to a partner who has been deployed or is due to return home, these can be very anxiety provoking times and having clear lines of communication between you and your partner is really important
  • Good physical health and diet are also very important for working with anxiety. This also gives you some allotted time where you can be on your own with no distractions (where possible) and this in itself is good self-care for healthy mental health
  • Having a sufficient amount of sleep can give you the energy to face the concerns you may be having and allow you to work through them. If you are exhausted then it’s very hard to put things in context and allow you to move forwards
  • How realistic is it that the matter you are worrying about will actually manifest? Could you be getting things out of context?  Maybe you’re not and if so that is valid too
  • Try and do something you enjoy. If you are on a base are there any groups you can visit to help take your mind from your worries?

These can seem very daunting when you are feeling very anxious, there may be other matters at play as to why you are feeling anxious and maybe mapping such worries and concerns on some paper may help you see practical things you could do.

The most important point to make is, be kind to yourself.  How you talk to yourself is the biggest contributing factor as to how you feel.  If you give yourself encouragement then you are more likely to move forwards and on to a better place.

As mentioned above, communication is very important, especially if you are the partner of a service person.  It can be hard to take care of yourself as you may feel as though it’s selfish but it’s the complete opposite.