Life

5 Ways I Overcame Anxiety in 2017

Zara sweater

Good afternoon everyone! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, wherever you are in the world. I’ve had a feast of a week; the amount of sweets and meat I have consumed is atrocious! (And delicious). I regret nothing.

The days approaching the end of the year are always a bit strange. I always feel we need to do all the things we didn’t this year. Or maybe we yearn for the year to finally be over so we can have a fresh start. It’s as if our world was coming to an end! Except nothing really does change apart from the numbers on the calendar. And for some reason, our mentality. But maybe that’s a good thing!

The new year is more like a check point—a measured amount of time that we can look back at. Although I didn’t make any resolutions for 2017, I feel that I’ve come a long way before reaching the new year.

For a long time, I’ve claimed to have anxiety and depression, but no motivation to do anything about it. Although it made me miserable, I had just accepted the fact that it’s a part of me and always will be. And it might be—but why accept something like that? I realized no matter if we don’t live where we like, or aren’t as privileged as others, or get to go to school where we want to—if we aren’t enjoying life, then what is the point? It’s so important to enjoy!

The beginning of 2017 was rough. I was still getting used to living in a foreign country, I was moving from house to house, and I was thousands of miles from family. On top of this, I was just unhappy. But throughout the year I took a 180 turn uphill. Anxiety and stress are very different and personal for everyone, but I thought I might share some of the things I noticed I worked on that lifted me out of the hole this year, and maybe even lead to some resolutions for the new year.

 

Embracing my body and individuality.

I once talked about my biggest insecurities, and instead of trying to simply overcome them, I’ve tried to find reasons why it shouldn’t hinder my confidence. One thing that has helped is my style. Throwing on a pair of sweats in the morning might be easier, but wearing clothes that make me feel good in goes such a long way! It’s that special feeling you get when you wear a nice dress to a party—but every day. I also find some enjoyment in being able to craft my outfits.

I think individuality is something we all aspire to have, but it’s never as easy as we make it out to be. Just be you. But how can you just be when everyone else is around you being something else? It’s hard! Being an individual makes you stand out—it means you’re “different,” which can have a negative connotation. What you choose to wear reveals a lot about yourself to others; exposing yourself to judgement. But it also allows you to break free and breathe. This was so important for me, living in a place that’s very different from where I grew up.

Saying yes!

To things that I may be uncomfortable. (Not drugs). Keep your head on straight. I was always uneasy around big crowds of strangers, or even talking to them. Or trying something new that everyone else is familiar with. By simply saying yes to invitations, instead of second guessing and assuming the worst, I’ve been able to try new things and meet new people. It’s removed me from being stuck in a stagnant routine. Even when you’re in drama school, you need to change it up a bit and try something you’re afraid of.

Making new friends.

This is part of saying yes, but more specifically to new relationships. For a relatively shy person, I love meeting new people. I’ve found that it’s much more difficult to meet people in Europe than it is in America. I think this is partly due to the fact that in America, you can talk to strangers and they won’t get wide-eyed. In Europe, it’s unheard of to start up a conversation with the person next to you at the bus stop. When I first moved to Europe, I started to grow accustomed to this. Then I realized how uncomfortable it made me when I was walking around the city. But little did you know, there are people in London that break the mould and it is wonderful! It makes my day, having a small chat with someone in town.

What’s strange is that this is common in school as well. It is so difficult to chat someone up that you don’t know. But take a leap of faith and say hi to someone you don’t know. Everyone starts off as a stranger anyway. I’m one who loves solitude, but I’ve realized how dangerous it can be to confine myself to it. Having good friends can be so fulfilling, and it’s important to have. Plus, it’s exciting to get to know people—I want to meet them all!

Letting go of the past me.

Past Song is essentially the same, but oh how different she is from present Song. For so long, I found it puzzling that people didn’t recognize me for my athletic abilities, good grades, or my love for video games. Most of the people that surround me now don’t have a clue that I went to play soccer at university, or that I follow sports at all. Knowing that that’s a massive part of who I am, and for others not to know that, made me feel empty. It made me feel fake. Or as if I had lost a chunk of my life. In truth I think I have, but definitely not for a bad reason. I wouldn’t be able to do what I do now if I hadn’t given part of my life up. And I’m not forgetting the past at all, because it’s made up who I am now—but I’ve stopped trying to be someone I used to be. And especially not for others.

Following my impulses.

Without being reckless, doing whatever makes me happy in the moment has been a new revelation. I overthink everything, and it stops me from doing things I might like to. Every point I’ve made up to now comes down to my tendency to overthink—and it usually has to do with something about the way other people think of me. Much easier said than done, but I think this is the first time ever that I can honestly say that I don’t care what they think. In doing so, I’m free to do the things that make me happy! Instead of constantly thinking about the future, I can make choices regarding the present. Follow what your gut says, because even if you regret it in the future, you can learn from it. Without being mindless, your choices could bring you some enjoyment. And maybe take you out of your head for a little while.

 

Everyone’s different, so don’t feel the need to listen to me at all. I thought I would share my journey through the year because my life has improved so much with the absence of anxiety in it. And I do care about what my friends and family think, but that’s because I care about them. These are all things that took me a lot of time to work on, and I’m still working on them. I can’t wait to hit 2018 with a great start!

I hope you’re all having a fabulous holiday full of smiles. Sending all my love!

 

Honestly,

Song xx

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