So this isn’t a blog post all about Lou Bega and Mambo No 5. Although I have no idea how that would even be talked about in a blogpost right? Imagine a blogpost all about cheesy tunes… I need that in my life! Anyway, as the title of this blog suggests, I am going to talk about my Take 5 Routine and how I apply the number 5 to my routine.
All though I haven’t experienced a lot in my life so far, I feel like I have learned a few lessons that are very valuable to me. One of them is not to judge someone. This lesson has made me be a very understanding and empathetic person, my best and worst quality. Another thing I have learned and that I have only just fully learned quite recently, is that only you are in control of your life and that it is okay not to have a plan.
What has all this got to do with the number 5? Well, I am trying to get myself into a routine where I take care of myself. As we all know, anxiety and depression is a very personal matter. For everyone it is different. Everyone requires different help and techniques to calm and reassure themselves. Today, I thought it would be nice to put some of the techniques I have learned that work for me into a blog post. Whether these techniques are common or uncommon, I don’t care. I totally understand how everyone feels depression and anxiety differently. Therefore, none of this blog post might be useful to you but it could be useful for someone. If you’d like, you can try this little routine and see if it works for you. This is my Take 5 Routine.
My 5 Lists
Depending on how I am feeling, sometimes I find myself only needing a little pick me up. Other times, I feel like I am trapped, that I can’t breathe properly and I can’t sleep right either. Feeling these feelings does not define you. Whether you feel only a little bit sad or really depressed, only you and who you want to be can define you. When I feel sad, I know it is temporary. I am lucky to be able to pick myself out of my rut, most of the time. One of the things I do, is make lists to try and understand how and why I feel the way I do. These lists are written either super quick and messy, or slowly with lots of thinking. It just depends.
The first list I make is What am I Feeling Right Now? This list can be a couple words to 20. It lets me get out the feelings I am feeling on to paper so I can see how overwhelmed I could be with them. The next list I make is a list of What Feelings do I Want to Feel? Happy? Content? Relaxed? Lots of feelings pop into mind here. Both of these lists genuinely happen very very quickly as I take them as opportunities to self reflect. The next list is a bit random but can really help me reflect on why I could be feeling the way I could be by looking back on what I have eaten: What Have I Eaten in the Last 5 Days? For me, diet accounts for a lot of my emotions. To many sugary goods can make you feel irritated, frustrated, tired, sad etc etc. Therefore, looking back on my diet always makes me go ‘ooooooh that’s why I haven’t been feeling that great!’ Name 5 Moments where I have been Happy. This list is usually my favourite, but sometimes the hardest to make. Now that the first 3 lists are over, I’m a bit more relaxed. So I sit and reflect on 5 times where I have been happy. These can range from very big moments to very tiny ones. It is up to me at the time. This kickstarts my positive thinking by forcing myself to think happy thoughts as Peter Pan would put it. As condescending as it could sound to some people, thinking of pure funny moments can lighten my mood, which is why I make this list. The last list I make a bit later in my routine so I will share it later in the post.
Listen to 5 Songs
Music, much like everyone else, is something I love. It can help you escape into a whole different world and it really eases my mind. I listen to any song I feel like at the time. Most are ballads that I can send shivers down my arms by making me feel music instead of feeling anxious. Everyone has different music tastes, so each song could be very different. I am sure I am 100% not the only one who uses music to escape every day life to think of a better things. It’s why I always carry around headphones everywhere I go. Disney always sneaks into my playlist too.
Take 5 Breaths
I know, I know, this is such a typical, common piece of advice. One I find very useful. Taking 5 deep breaths calms down your mind and slows your breathing. When I feel anxious, my breathing either quickens or feels like I can’t breathe. So taking deep breaths allows me to reassure myself that I am breathing nicely and that it makes me feel I am exhaling negative thoughts. I almost think of it as trying to meditate. For me, it is about focusing my energy onto something else rather than feeling anxious. This is going to sound super hippy but I always close my eyes and with each breath, I imagine positive energy flowing from the floor into my feet then up my body. Then when I exhale, I imagine negative energy leaving my body. I know, so overly suggested as advice but for me it works.
Call for 5 or Text for 5
Okay, okay, another over-used piece of advice but call or text someone. Even if it is just to rant! I do this all the time to my sister and I just sit and rant about why I am feeling crappy. It’s good to get the emotions out. Even if it is just for 5 minutes. Let someone know how you are feeling. Who knows, they might relate and you can be rant buddies. At least that’s what my sister and I are. A lot of people may roll their eyes at this piece of advice but once again, if it works for me, I am going to share it. Personally, when I talk to people about how I am feeling, I HATE being comforted. I know, it’s weird. I always ask my friends to actually tell me to ‘Stop thinking that!’ or ‘Snap out of it!’ One thing I try to do, is to try and plan what kind of help I can offer myself. Some may need kind words and some may need tough love. I know I feel better after having a bit of tough love chat from my friends and sister. However, this is just for me personally, and I completely understand if you think that that approach is harsh or unrelatable. If you feel like you have no-one to talk to, please email me at email@example.com and we can rant together.
Active for 5 Minutes
This is usually the one I dread but one I find most effective. Do a 5 minute activity. Whether it is a drawing, a work out or reading a book. Take 5 minutes to get away from social media and do something simple in 5 minutes. Sometime I even find myself doing a 5 minute tidy up as: 1. You’re doing the activity and 2. You’ve done a simple activity but you have been productive. I know a lot of my stress comes from being unproductive. Feeling unproductive whilst feeling unmotivated is the worst thing for me. It is a trigger for my stress levels. Therefore, doing a small 5 minute activity always helps me. It could be as simple as making my bed.
The Last List
So as I said earlier in this post, I talked about the lists I like to make to try and get some order into my head. The whole point of this list is reflection and trying to figure out what and why the feelings are there. For the last list, I apply something I made up called the Five A’s. It starts off with making a final list of what feelings I Acknowledge are there. The next step is to try and Accept the feelings I have but knowing they don’t have to define or control the moment. Assess what situations I am in that can encourage my anxiety or depression to rise. I then make a list of my Ambitions I want to reach that can help calm my anxiety such as tidying my room, writing a blog post or writing down big things I want to achieve in my life.
The next step to this list is an important one and that is to Achieve. Writing down simple step by step ways that I can reach bigger goals is important to me as I feel like it sorts my head out. Most of my anxiety comes from the lack of control and some overwhelming options I have in my life. It’s like knowing how you want to live but not necessarily knowing how you are going to achieve it. After doing this list to the best of my ability, I feel more prepared and I feel focused. It is so easy to lose track and feel lost but taking a break can really help clear your mind. Whenever you feel like it is getting too much, remember to TAKE 5. Take the time to look after yourself. Leave social media alone. Go for a bath. Read a book. Take a walk. Do anything that gives you the head-space to think about looking after yourself. Whether you use some of my techniques or not, make sure you take time for you.
Thank you for reading this post and once again, I completely understand if you didn’t find it useful or found it unrelatable in anyway. I hope that at lease one person can find comfort in this post. Also, I would love to make this a thing that circulates around the blogging community. I would love if you did a Take 5 Routine too and maybe we can all help each other. Thanks again for visiting me and I will see you soon.