Realising what my triggers are for anxiety has been so important for me to understand my anxiety and take control of it. Interestingly they have changed over the years.
One of my triggers is food. This has been a trigger since my anxiety became severe after I ran the 12km round the bridges event a few years back. I can recall being at home after the event and trying to think of what I should cook to eat and refuel my body after running the event. A feeling of panic welled up in me and thoughts like "if I don't refuel my body correctly it might fail", "my body can't recover from what I have just done" and "you need to eat and get lots of nutrients or you might pass out" took over. I had so many thoughts swirling through my head I couldn't make a decision on what to cook, which elevated my anxiety further.
In the months, and probably year that followed, I came to realise that food is a definite trigger for me, and not just for my anxiety but for my overall mood and feeling of well being. I think that I eat pretty well. I live on my own and cook most nights, try to ensure I have at least 5 servings of fruit and veges each day, but I do also have a soft spots for sweet treats.
People who know me well will know that I'm a bit OTT when it comes to food. If I'm going away to stay with friends or family I turn up with bags of food, which I partly blame on my mum who always had a well stocked kitchen and is an 'over caterer' (which I have also inherited), and partly on my need to know that there is food, and particularly nutritious options like fruit and veges available. It's a bit like a security blanket I suppose, and having food available helps to alleviate my anxiety, so that is what I do.
I've been feeling a bit 'blah' for a wee while. I think this is a combination of many things including some end of winter blues, but tonight I decided to get into the kitchen and make some healthy and delish salads to have in the fridge for convenience.
The older I get the more I realise it so true that the things you need most are the things you feel least like doing. The days that I don't feel like doing yoga or going for a walk are the days when I feel better than normal for doing it, and the days when I can't be bothered cooking or eating healthy mean that I really do need it. When I am feeling like this I try to stock my fridge up with healthy homemade things that make meal prep easy and convenient.
I have a few triggers which I will continue to share. I'm sure that there are some that I haven't realised yet, and they will continue to change over time.