Today's Episode

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Hi, you are very welcome to my latest podcast episode. I am so excited to chat with you today. I'm still in sunny Spain. I'm back next week, which I'm super excited about. We relocated for the month. I brought all my work over. Um and it's been really wonderful. However, I'm beginning to miss Ireland so much, so much. I keep thinking the second I get back, I'm going to sit in the back garden under an umbrella in the rain with a cup of tea listening to the birds and how quiet it is.

Me and Joe are joking at this point because it's very noisy over here that we're going to be sitting in the back garden in Renville and Galway going. Oh, what's that? Can I hear a bird's wings flap? Like that's how quiet it is in comparison to over here. So let's get stuck into this episode. I want to chat to you about why my anxiety came back temporarily for a few days, which it did, it came back. I felt so anxious, so anxious for about three or four days. However, it's a positive story because I just want to show you it's almost like an experiment. I can use it as an experiment now because I feel recovered and I feel good again.

And the reason I want to share it with you is because I want to kind of show you the really simple action steps that I take every day to feel really calm and to feel a lot more peace in my life than I ever have. And I stopped doing those three things. I stopped doing them and my anxiety came back so bad and I felt so super anxious and I started to worry about everything and it was a really, really horrible experience. However, it makes sense now, looking back because I wasn't doing any of the things that I normally do. So if you're listening to this podcast episode and you feel anxious and I never like to say you suffer from anxiety because that kind of implies that you're going to, you have this thing and you're going to have it forever.

But if you feel anxious, um often, then this podcast episode is for you. If you've been listening to me for a while, now you'll know that um I used to suffer from massive panic attacks and I used to be really anxious, anxious for most of my adult life until first off, saved my life and it completely transformed me from the inside out. However, when I also started to work on getting more peace and calm, I finally lost three stone. The three stones stayed off. I stopped fluctuating um from that, you know, stone and a half up and down. Um My anxiety left, I felt the best I have ever felt.

And that was a consistently good feeling because I was following all my lovely, lovely action steps. I also gave up drinking alcohol over a year ago, which has been one of the best decisions of my life. And I definitely want to do another podcast episode on that again soon. So what happened was we came over to Spain um as I said, we brought all our work over. So it hasn't really been like a normal holiday. We've been doing a lot of our work routines here. It's been really, really great. Um But there's been a lot of pressure but because I've been working a lot, like doing a lot in the morning time up until lunch time.

I've been trying to like, expand out the evening times a lot because, you know, I wanted to be chatting to Joe up late at night and that's what I started to do. We, we'd come home from dinner, we'd put the kids to bed, we'd sit out on the balcony with a cup of tea... I don't drink alcohol anymore. So it would be a sparkling water, ice lemon or squeeze a bit of lemon into the sparkling water. Taste so good. And then a cup of tea, a cup of boiling water. I don't know why me and Joe always call it a cup of tea. It's just easier to say, hey, do you want a cup of tea versus hey, do you want a cup of boiling water? But don't knock it until you try it, it actually tastes really good and it's really relaxing.

Just like boil the kettle, pour it into your cup. No lemon, let it cool for a little bit and it's really relaxing, especially if you've had, you don't want to have caffeine late at night. It's really lovely. Um So I was doing this for like about a week and we were sitting out in the, in the balcony when the kids are in bed and we were chatting and chatting and chatting and I was enjoying it so much. So I started going to bed later. Why I say when I say later, I mean about like 12, half 12. And number one, this was one of the reasons why my anxiety came back. Number one, I started staying up way too late, 12, 12 30.

So the second thing that I started doing that I hadn't been doing in a very long time was that I stopped taking down time. And I'm one of these people that I would call myself an introvert, even though I have a podcast and I'm always showing up on Instagram. Um However, when I chat to people and when I do show up on Instagram and my podcast and I chat to people throughout the day, I feel I need an awful lot of quiet space afterwards. And I think that's one of the definitions of an introvert that introverts tend to need to replenish their stores after being out and about and with people and extroverts really get a huge buzz off uh being out and about with people.

So it's almost like their stores are replenished when they're with people and introverts tend to need to replenish their stores away because they've been with people. So I definitely fall into the introvert category. Um However, I didn't take any down time uh for about a week when I got here, I would be throwing myself into work, then throwing myself into the kids, then chatting with Joe as much as I could. Um It's much more noisy over here, you know, it's Spain, it's the Costa Del sol.

I've realized that I need peace and calm in my day. You know, that might sound really obvious, but I mean, actual, like, quiet, like a quiet room and I, and I need to be with myself. I didn't realize I'm, I'm with myself a good bit when I'm at home in Ireland. Um, external stimulus is a huge thing that I need to take rest from outside noises, outside, smells, chatting to people, playing with the kids, talking to people. I just didn't take any down time. I have been reading a lot over here. However, I'd be reading in noisy places like reading by the pool, reading next to the kids. So that's another thing that I didn't really realize was a much bigger thing in my life than, um than, than I thought it was.

So I stopped taking downtime downtime from noise, downtime from people. Um And the third thing was that I dropped a lot of my boundaries that I had become so good at setting. I didn't really realize I had dropped them. So for example, the kids asking me questions 24 7. I don't know, they seem to have gotten question crazy out here in Spain. Um I dropped all my boundaries. I let anybody speak to me at any time and I didn't respect any time I had for myself. If I was reading a book and the kids wanted to chat to me or interrupt me, I would let them same with Joe. You know, if he wanted to come over and say, hey, do you want a cup of coffee or a cup of tea? I'd say? Yeah, absolutely.

Like I just didn't really see it as me not taking care of my boundaries. I was just like, yes, let's do this. Of course, I want to chat with you. Yes, kids. Of course. I want to answer your million and one questions. Um And I just didn't really think. And now with a little bit of reflection, that was the problem. I just wasn't thinking and I wasn't intentionally moving throughout my day and doing what I normally do, which is reflect and think and make space for myself. I didn't make any space for myself. So those three things staying up much later letting my family talk to me any time of the day, they wanted to. So not having any boundaries and not having any down time. I woke up one morning and honest to God, it didn't come on me suddenly. I felt so anxious. I can't even begin to describe to you.

I'll try to describe it to you. But I woke up in the morning and I just knew something was crazy off like I just felt like I couldn't be still and oh my God, I just felt really worried about everything and I felt like I just the most stressful feeling when I get anxious is that I can't sit still and then I get really stressed out about the fact that I can't sit still. So it's like the worst thing for me is that I get, I get anxious and then I get anxious about the anxiety and the anxiety over the anxiety is worse than the actual anxiety if that makes sense. Uh It's way worse. So my mind would be my, my thoughts would be racing while I would be having a conversation with somebody. So there was like two things going on in my mind at the same time. And that for me is probably my biggest symptom of anxiety that I could be doing something while my brain is working on something else. So that, that's how it feels like that's how I can describe it.

Which takes up an awful lot of mental space. You know, you, you're trying to chat to somebody, but you have other stuff going on or like I'd hear a song and my mind would just be playing it on repeat and I would feel trapped. I would feel trapped in my own body. And then that feeling of being trapped would leave me feeling more anxiety. And then like I mentioned, I would get so anxious about the fact that I felt anxious and it was really, really horrible. And then I would be feeling so hard on myself for feeling anxious. And of course, I did my usual clam up thing and tell Joe and Joe kids didn't notice that everything was great.

Everything was good because I just slipped into people pleasing mode that it's so important to me that everybody around me has an amazing time and it doesn't matter how I feel and I don't think these things consciously, I don't think it doesn't matter how I feel, it matters how my family feel and are enjoying their holiday. I don't consciously think those things and that's the thing that's so striking when it comes to taking care of your mental health, that you don't consciously think these things. So if somebody says to you, oh, you need to put yourself first, it's like, yeah. Yeah. Yeah, I do. And that's what I've always found, why things would go over my head when I would read them on social media or Joe might say to me, you're not taking enough time for yourself. I would always think. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, I do.

Because you really, in the moment aren't aware of what you're doing and it's never a conscious decision to not take care of yourself or not put yourself first. And that expression not putting yourself first. It's just never really motivated me because I, I still don't understand it. Like it just never made sense to me. However, on reflection, I realized that it wasn't that I was purposely not trying to care about myself. I just didn't give myself any time to sit down and go do you know what? Actually you need to go and read your book in a quiet room and take 20 minutes and tell the kids not to come in.

And that sounds so obvious now, but sometimes I just get caught up in whatever it is, whatever my trigger is, excite excitement to be away. Uh wanting to please everybody II, I definitely go into those default uh parts of myself. Um So I woke up and I just felt like that and I didn't pass for about three days. And the first two days I struggled alone really privately and Joe knew something was up. But I was like, yeah, yeah, I'm totally fine. And then I opened up and lo and behold, after chatting to him, I felt better. And again, it was like, why do I bottle these things up so much? I don't understand. I don't understand why I, why I have such an aversion to just saying, you know what? I actually don't feel great. I think I'm afraid if I say I don't feel great that everything is going to come crashing down around me. And yeah, I need to, as I say, many times in this podcast episode, I need to let things happen.

So what if things come crashing down around me? So what if I tell the kids, I need a bit of head space for 20 minutes and they look disappointed. I know that sounds really silly now. But in the moment it doesn't. So on reflection, I need to be reflecting. Um And I need to take 10 minutes every day in silence the way I had been to make sure I'm taking care of myself. So what I want to say to you in what happened to me and why I backtracked so much for three days is because I'd stopped doing the simple things. However, the simplest things are the hardest thing to do and you know why I've realized this because they're the easiest to brush off if you came to me and you said that you're feeling really anxious.

And I said to you, well, are you going to bed on time? I, I can imagine you just going, oh fuck's sake. I need more than that, Jessica. I need more than that. And that's how I feel too when I looked back and I was like, oh, for fuck's sake, I was only going to bed at 12 o'clock at night. However, it's going to bed on time that keeps me feeling grounded and peace and calm. And even if I don't get a good night's sleep, it's still that act, that routine of getting to bed, putting my phone in airplane mode, reading a few pages of a book and turning off the light that keep me grounded and peace and calm. The second thing with the down time, if you came to me and you told me you were feeling really anxious and I said, are you getting enough down time?

You'd just be like, probably, oh, give me more than that. Give me more than that. I'm feeling too bad and I remember Joe saying it to me like you're not taking enough downtime and that just frustrated me so much because it sounded too difficult to do. And when I feel super anxious, the last thing I want to go and do is sit still because that makes me think, think that I'm going to be more anxious from it. When actually, that's not the case at all, you are always going to feel better. It's just the thought of doing it when you're feeling really stressed out can make you feel like it's going to be the worst thing possible.

But of course, it's always the best thing. I'm always telling my clients when we're doing thrive time. It's ok to sit in the struggle, sitting in the struggle shows you how much you need to sit still because if you're sitting still for 10 minutes and you notice that you're really struggling with that, then your body and your mind are giving you a massive clue into the fact that you need to do it more. And the third thing, boundaries, if you were to tell me that you were really anxious and I said to you, what are your boundaries like? Yeah, it's another thing that maybe you don't want to look at. However boundaries are so important. And my lack of boundaries over the past few days is one of the reasons that I got so super anxious.

So if you're feeling anxious right now, I want to ask you, what are the simple, yet easy to brush off things that you may not be doing now that over time are going to help you feel better. And these things just took me two days to recover from. I got two good night sleeps. I started putting my boundaries back in and I started taking more downtime in silence and in calm and in peace away from everybody else. So they're my three things, they're my three things that I implemented again. And you know what, when you do this on a daily basis, they're not even action steps. You don't even have to write out the intention in the morning time that you are going to go to bed early. Well, actually, maybe with that when you do.

But the other things they just become so habitual that it's not going to like, make you feel pressurized. You just need to ask yourself throughout the day. When was the last time I was in a room by myself with the radio off even mindful movement. Like when was the last time I went for a walk on my own and just looked around at the trees. When was the last time? Even I brushed the floor on my own with no radio on what, when, how much are you getting of that throughout the day? And then what is your bedtime routine? Like and how are your boundaries, do you say to the people you love? You know what this is me time when you're doing a workout or when you're working? Are you allowing people interrupt you or do you have boundaries set? Where do you need to set those boundaries? And when do you need to set those boundaries? And if you're anything like me, I promise you. If you get silence throughout the day, if you get your good boundaries up and you get to bed on time, you'll feel an awful lot better getting to bed on time is, has been one of the biggest game changers for me. It's an absolute dead duck staying up late.

And I really do know I'm, I'm so busy of young kids full time work. I know how lovely it is to sit up late at night and just feel like that time is all for you. However, it's not worth it, it's not worth it. If it's not going to make you feel peaceful and calm the next day and then everything just becomes a really bad vicious cycle. And then, you know, you start to comfort eat, you start to look for external things outside of yourself to calm down and oh, it's just awful. You're waking up in the morning, you're so wrecked. So, rather than staying up that extra hour later to get what it is that you want.

The thing that you're searching for when you stay up later, how can you find that throughout the day for us? We started to put the kids to bed a little bit earlier so that we could get our down time a little bit earlier. And I've started going, um, for more coffees on my own, for more waters on my own and a bit more down time by myself. So I hope you found this podcast episode, helpful, feeling anxious and stressed out and worried is a really horrible way to live your life. I highly recommend for you to change that if you have it in your life. It's really cool to feel peace and calm most of the time. It's now my favorite way to live my life. Having spent nearly all of my adult life, feeling anxiety and stressed out and worried and then gone the other way and feeling most of my days peaceful and calm. There's no going back for me now. And I promise you if you think that this is something that you have to live with in your life that you don't. There is a higher quality of life for you out there.

There is another level up for you out there. I promise you and you can either go to therapy or you can start yourself and start writing out. What are the simple things you could do in your day that will help you become less anxious and feel more peace and calm. It is well worth, well worth searching and unlocking that peace and calm you have inside of yourself. I really hope you enjoyed this podcast episode today. Um Have a wonderful afternoon and if you have any thoughts on it, please do feel so welcome to get in touch. I love hearing from you guys. So many of you now are DMing me on Instagram and telling me what you thought about the episodes and I just love it so, so much. Thank you. I feel like we're, we're growing such a wonderful tribe here.

So thank you. I, as you know, read and reply to each and every one of your comments and I appreciate it so much. So you can head on over if you want to, to my Instagram, Jessica Cooke and tell me what you thought of this episode and your experiences of anxiety. And if you know somebody that you think would find this episode helpful, I would love for you to share it with them. Thank you so much for listening and all my love.

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