Stuff I can do
Remember, it’s ok to not be ok, and you should never be ashamed to ask for help. But, there are also a few things you can try at home to make yourself feel better. Take a look at our recommendations below:
Try a book or an online course
The internet is a great resource for finding out information. There are also many local resources you can use. Milton Keynes Library Service’s ‘Books on Prescription’ collection can help you to tackle all kinds of troubles, from managing stress to relationship issues. They also have a list of ‘Mood Boosting Books’ to lift your mood and make you smile.
You may wish to try a short, structured course using a book or computer programme. These tend to last for a minimum of six weeks and sometimes require support from a professional therapist to guide you through the process. Here are a few of our favourites:
Living Life to The Full: is an online course that aims to help you to identify and overcome emotional problems. The course helps people to develop good coping skills and can be completed at your own pace.
Chill Panda: This app is designed to show you ways to relax, using light and fun exercises.
Be Mindful: This app takes you through a mindfulness programme, with web-based training for personal cognitive behavioural therapy. You can find out more about cognitive behavioural therapy below.
For a full list of other useful apps, please visit the NHS website.
Try cognitive behavioural therapy
Cognitive behavioural therapy helps you to change your negative thoughts and behaviours into more positive actions. It includes speaking to somebody else about your thoughts, which can be cathartic, but also helps you to develop useful coping mechanisms for everyday life. You can be referred for cognitive behavioural therapy on the NHS, by speaking to your GP.
Whether you’re a tea or coffee drinker, some mornings, you just can't wait for that much-needed injection of energy, particularly if you’ve had a bad night’s sleep. However, caffeine can actually make you feel more uneasy, by increasing your heart rate and stopping you from getting a proper night’s rest.
Other things that contain caffeine, such as fizzy or energy drinks, should also be avoided.
Avoid smoking and drinking
Smoking and drinking can increase your feelings of irritability and you could suffer from withdrawal symptoms, which can have you on edge. Although the reason for smoking is normally to feel the relaxation “hit” generated by nicotine, this is only short-lived and can actually make you feel worse about yourself once the nicotine high has worn off.
Nicotine is similar to alcohol as a form of escapism, as it can temporarily distract you from day-to-day problems, but does not help your wellbeing in the long run. It is recommended that you should not drink more than 3-4 units of alcohol per day (around a pint and a half). To find out more on recommended alcohol consumption guidelines, visit DrinkAware. The NHS also has stop smoking services to help you give up smoking for good, while Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire's Stop Smoking Service offers local support.
Some men feel like anxiety and mental health issues are a taboo topic that shouldn’t be talked about – but that’s just the complete opposite of what they should do. Support groups are there to show you that you are not alone – many others are experiencing the same symptoms that you are. These groups can be set up as a one to one meeting if you find it difficult to open up to a large group, although some men find it easier to talk with that sense of camaraderie and support from a large group.
Support Groups include:
Further information and support groups can be found here.
Generalised anxiety has a lot of different symptoms – some only suffer from a few of these, while others suffer from a larger variety of symptoms. Everybody is affected differently, but some common symptoms to watch out for include:
- Feeling very agitated and on edge – not being able to sit still
- You may not be able to focus on one thing for a long time – your mind begins to wander and think of other things.
- Being easily upset or snapping at people might be another sign of anxiety
- Feeling apprehensive or dreading something that normally wouldn’t bother you
Your symptoms can stop you from wanting to socialise with your friends and loved ones, and you may feel like hiding away.
Your symptoms may even cause you to need time off work, especially if your job is making you feel stressed or under pressure. You may even worry about worrying! Anxiety can knock your confidence, but don’t panic - these are all perfectly normal feelings to have, and it doesn’t make you any less of a man.
Generalised anxiety can also cause a negative response in your body:
- You might notice feelings of disorientation or feeling ‘spaced out’
- You may feel like you can’t calm yourself down, with a fast heartbeat, shaking and sweating
- It is not uncommon to feel panicky, and possibly struggle to catch your breath.
- Some symptoms may even be as simple as a stomach ache, headache or feeling tired – all very common ailments that are not as easily noticed.
- You might be more susceptible to aches and pains in your muscles or struggle to relax your body. This could also stop you from falling to sleep
There can be certain situations or circumstances that will cause your level of anxiety to increase – you might not know the reason for this, which can increase your anxiety further. Receiving support from a mental health professional, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, can be a big help in addressing your triggers and lowering your anxiety levels. Speak to your GP, who will be able to refer you to NHS support.
GAD- Generalised Anxiety Disorder
Local Help in Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire
If you're feeling low or the results of our Online Check-Up suggest you could benefit from some support, visit your GP who will be able to help. If you need to talk to someone urgently, CALM and the Samaritans both provide a webchat service and a telephone helpline, so get in touch.
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis for the first time you should contact your GP or NHS 111. They will be able to provide you with advice and signposting to an appropriate service.