(Steller)

On hard times, for my friends.

(Journal)
Published – 10.08.2020
(Writing)

Here’s some advice that I’m writing for you that is kind of tricky, but works sometimes, when everything feels dark and impossible.

1. Firstly, don’t start the day by looking at your phone. That shit’s a bummer. It’s full of news and angry people and honestly, you should just go outside or sit near a window and drink a cup of tea and think about everyone you love.

2. Stop thinking about the world a bit after dinner. I read this on Austin Kleon’s website once (he is an artist who writes books) and it’s true and useful, I think. He reckons that you should deal with problems when it’s daytime out, and I reckon you should listen to a record and drink a little wine in the nighttime.

3. Rely on your friends a bit more. You’ll sometimes think “oh, they don’t want to hear from me” or “I’m being annoying”, and that’s not true. There’s this banger of a song by Emily King called Good Friend that I listen to a lot (you should listen to it too) and the chorus goes “if there’s something I need I don’t already have, I know I’ll get it from a good friend” and I reckon there is nothing more right than that. My brain sometimes gets stuck in a bad cycle of thinking people won’t want to hear from me, so I have a little slip of paper in my wallet now that has the names of people who I know I can call so when I’m spiralling, I can look at it and force myself to pick up the phone.

4. Count down from 100. This is a super boring activity that helps you get your breathing under control when you’re sobbing wildly on the kitchen floor. It takes ages if you’re like me and you’re guaranteed to get lost somewhere in the 70’s and have to start again.

5. List out loud (don’t do it in your head, that’s fully cheating): 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch if you reach out your hand, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. Do it as slow as possible, and not like a weird sprint test.

6. When things are super, super bad, as they sometimes get, go through this checklist. Don’t feel embarrassed by having to go through it. Sometimes I have to do it once a week.

7. Wait a bit. Do an activity to fill in the time that uses your hands and not just your brain, which is overworked as it is. Do an exercise (ugh, hate it, but sometimes gotta do it anyway) or make a cake or a pasta or a papier-mâché crown. Don’t think about your head. Think about how many people in the world know the words to ABBA’s Waterloo but wouldn’t admit it at a party.

That’s it! That’s my anxiety masterclass! It’s not perfect, but it works for me sometimes. Honestly, sometimes the only thing that works is lying on the floor and then when I’m good and ready, getting up and having a gin and tonic, hold the tonic. But that’s life right? You keep on stumbling through it, and you learn some stuff, and you fuck some stuff up and at the end of the day, you might have a good dinner party story.

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