How to manage anxiety as a freelancer

After ten years of working with doctors and counsellors, Faye Newman shares her five top tips to manage anxiety as a freelancer.

Anxiety isn’t always sweaty hands, fast breathing, and the room spinning.

For me, anxiety makes me feel like things are out of my control. I was diagnosed with anxiety in 2010 and have spent years working with doctors and counsellors to try and find what works for me.

While everyone is different, here are five things that really help me:

1. Take a moment to breathe

Yes, it’s an age-old coping mechanism, but focusing on your breathing can really help. Try inhaling for 5 seconds, holding for 2 seconds and breathing out again for 5 seconds. There’s science to support this too – research shows that the way you breathe can really help with anxiety.

2. Spell out names

Sounds crazy, right? It’s not! A counsellor once explained to me that anxiety is an imbalance between your logical mind and your emotional mind. By simply engaging with your logical brain it can help rebalance your mindset!

Engaging the logical brain to manage anxiety

3. Do your times tables

Like my point above, its about engaging your logical mind and re-centering. I’m awful at my seven times tables, so I tend to do these in my head.

4. Exercise

Physical activity helps to boost your endorphins and channels your energy into something that isn’t your anxiety.

Talking to someone about anxiety

5. Speak to people about what’s on your mind

You would be surprised at how many of your friends and family may have had, or still have, anxiety. It’s important to realize that you’re not alone and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. If you feel uncomfortable, do make sure you speak to somebody you trust.

I hope that these five tips can help you live with anxiety, or help you to support someone who does.

Remember, you don’t suffer with anxiety, you live with it – don’t let it take over your life.