5 Things you can do when panic strikes

You know the feeling well, you feel frozen in time but your heart is beating quicker than ever. Your hands are sweating, you are shaking and everything has become so incredibly overwhelming. You confirm to yourself, you are having a panic attack.

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I have been there, so many times and I had no idea what to do. One time, my husband and I were shopping in London and I was having a great day, part of the busy throng of people in Piccadilly Circus chatting easily and effortlessly. We stopped to light a cigarette, moved to the side and smoked casually, still laughing about the overpriced milkshake we had enjoyed. Then it came to move on to our next destination, I noticed the shear number of people, how tightly packed they were, like a swirling torrent of rapid water. A tsunami of people, pinning me to the wall, no way to join the current. My wonderful husband was as helpful as he could be, and did eventually get us moving while I focused on nothing but his hand holding mine and my breath as it gradually slowed and deepened.

What I didn’t have then, and what my husband didn’t have, was some easy, quick techniques that would have stopped that overwhelming panic before it had even taken hold. I don’t want anyone to be in that position again, so here are some amazing techniques that have kept me panic free for over a year; without ruining my social life:

  1. Lie to yourself. The first thing you should do when you feel a panic attack coming is lie. Rather than the normal things that go through your head, “I’m having a panic attack”, “I hate this”, “This is really overwhelming” or even “Fuck, fuck, fuck…” tell yourself instead how exciting the situation is. How energised you are and how great your coping skills are. The mind doesn’t care if you are lying, it listens to the words and pictures you make for it. The more you say it, the more true it becomes until it IS your truth.
  2. Breath! When it feels like there isn’t enough air and you start to hyperventilate you increase the fight or flight response in your body, increase your levels of anxiety and worsen your panic attack. Instead, Breath in slowly and fully through your nose and into your belly. Notice how your body expands as you inhale and then slowly breath out all the negativity and tension from your body as your body softens and relaxes. Repeat this as a minimum of 5 times and for as many more as you need, and notice the changes this has on your body.
  3. If your body is starting to shake, increase it, shake more. Your body has stored energy for you to either fight or fly from the situation and this energy needs an outlet. Shake your hands, your arms – even run around your home if you feel the need to. Increase the feeling and then stop. You will see how you can control this feeling and if you can increase the shaking, your mind is powerful enough to decrease and stop it.
  4. Use the “5, 4, 3, 2, 1” method.
    • Look at 5 separate objects around you and really notice them. Focus on the size, shape and colour.
    • Listen for 4 distinct sounds, focus on what makes them different from each other and where the sound is coming from.
    • Focus on 3 different things you can feel, notice the texture, the temperature and material.
    • Identify 2 different things you can smell, can you smell your scent, your detergent or food around you. Try and find where they are coming from, and how they make you feel.
    • Name 1 thing you can taste, whatever taste is in your mouth or have a sweet or some gum to savour.
  5. Finally, Remember this shall pass. Repeat it to yourself if you need to. Your success rate for overcoming panic is 100% and you are strong and capable.

If I had known these things through my life, or if someone close to me had this knowledge, I would have had a much easier time. I hope that by sharing these tips with you, you have the tools to overcome anxiety attacks when they strike and be the best you.


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How to make time for your familyHow to make time for your family

I know it’s hard. You have to work, you have to get the kitchen clean, walk the dog, get through the laundry and hopefully the rain will hold off so you can get the children out to the park.

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This is how I approached every day. Before I could allow myself to do the fun things, I had to do my chores so to speak. Isn’t that what we are taught growing up and what we are teaching our children. Get your chores done and you can go out.
So I would pile on the chores, I would fill every day with cleaning floors, wiping sides, cleaning the bathroom, cleaning the children, cleaning the side again because its now after lunch and I still haven’t been fun.

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I’ve shouted at the children to stop messing up the sofa cushions, I’ve told them off for getting under my feet wondering why they don’t understand that if they could just let me get this done we could go to the park. They do understand however that I said that yesterday and the day before and we still haven’t been to the park because we continuously run out of time.

Let me tell you a story about a college professor, he had two pots of stones of different sizes on his desk and an empty jar.

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This professor demonstrated that, if you fill the jar with the smallest stones – you can’t fit the bigger ones in. There is simply no room for any of the other stones to fit. The jar was full.

Then, with the jar empty and the stones organised into their respective pots, he put the largest stones in, then the smallest stones were poured in and the jar was once again full.

He said to his students, this jar is your life. The biggest stones are the things most important to you. Your family. Your health. Days at the park and drinks with friends.

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The small stones are the things we do, the housework, work, the laundry.

You can fill your life with cooking, cleaning and laundry and you will have a busy, unfulfilled and boring life.

Or you can fill your life with memories, days out, looking after yourself and spending time with friends, and you will still be able to cook, you will still have clothes to wear and your home isn’t going to kill anyone and your life will be full.

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Now we go to the park first, I make time to play and not only do I still get things done, but my tired and contented little monkeys are so worn out, they sit and colour or watch a little television and I can get on and clean things once without them clinging to me, begging me and otherwise wrecking the house.

So forget what your parents told you, you don’t need to finish your chores before you can make time for fun, time for yourself and time for your family.


What Does Self Care Mean, and Why Is It Important?What Does Self Care Mean, and Why Is It Important?

Self care is important because it helps you maintain your mental and physical health.

It can be used as a tool to help overcome trauma, depression, anxiety, stress, addiction or any other negative feelings that may affect the way one perceives themselves.

So what is Self-care?

It is all about caring for ourselves to manage our health without the aid of a medical professional. In health care, self-care is any human regulatory function which is under individual control, deliberate and self-initiated, for the purpose of the maintenance of health and wellbeing.

Self-care has become more popular as not only are medications expensive and come with long waiting lists, but we are all becoming more aware of the emotional and mental effects of not looking after ourselves properly. The problem with defining it comes in our uniqueness as individuals – there are as many ways to take care of yourself as there are people to do it.

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Self-care can also be an outlet for creativity; activities like cooking healthy food, painting on canvas or creating art in general.

It can be exercising and working out or it can be getting together with your best friend for hug and a chat. Whatever self-care looks like for you personally, you need to work with what makes you feel good about yourself.”

A common misconception about self-care practices is that they’re only important to those who lack access to may be a little ‘hippie’ or with much more time on their hands. The reality is that even small acts of self-care benefit everyone. From putting lotion on your skin in the morning to attending a 5 day yoga retreat, looking after yourself is not only important for everyone’s wellbeing, but possible for even the busiest of us to acheive.

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Self-care can include taking a break from work to do something else, getting enough sleep each night, eating nutritious food, drinking water regularly and exercising. It may seem like these are all simple tasks, but they are often overlooked by people who have busy lives and don’t take time to prioritize their own well being.

Eating well every day may seem like an easy task to accomplish when self-care isn’t on your mind; however with how busy our lives are these days people often forget about their own needs which leads them having less energy throughout the day.

It’s not just what you eat either – sometimes people find themselves eating junk foods because they’re “too tired” after a long day to make themselves a nutritious meal. While junk food is quick and easy, it’s not going to give you the energy or nutrition that your mind & body needs.

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Self-care can also be something as simple as spending time with friends – but often times people don’t take this into consideration either because they’re too focused on work. Spending quality time with family members every now and then will allow for better communication and bonding between relatives while allowing you some much needed downtime.

The list goes on! Self care means different things to different people so find what works best for you by exploring your favourite activities.

One important thing to note is that self-care should never be used as a way to escape from reality or deal with difficult emotions like stress, anxiety and depression. If you’re struggling in some other aspect of your life it’s crucial that you seek professional help before using self-care as the “quick fix” for those issues. When done properly, though, self care can lead to great benefits – which are listed below!

* Improved immune system function * Reduced blood pressure * Increased feelings of happiness * Better coping skills when dealing with future stressful situations

I could go on all day about how much good regular self care does for our mental and physical health but I’ll stop here by mentioning one last benefit – self care can help with relaxation and relieve stress