Joe: How We Cope With Anxiety

October 30, 2020

At Aquí, we take our cuppa Joe very seriously. Rest assured, because the same applies when it comes to design. As avid coffee drinkers, we often ask, “How do you like your coffee?” And as a creative boutique, we like to ask, “How do you like your design?” Joe is a blog segment where we - #TeamAquí - share our design inspirations.


Afraid to Fall Asleep

Our experiences with anxiety – though each like no other – do share some commonalities; they often feel intolerable, unpredictable and uncontrollable. “I would wake up in the middle of the night feeling like I was dying, and I never knew why,” María recalled a time in University when she experienced regular panic attacks. “I was afraid to fall asleep,” she said.

With every troubling encounter in life, we are quick to find the root. But with mental health conditions, it is never easy to tell. “I don’t think I was stressed, but I definitely didn’t feel like the healthiest person,” María reflected on her lifestyle. Causes are made up of a combination of factors, and some of it correlates to your physical health (Example: Exercise and Diet). For a start, María made a conscious effort to tweak her lifestyle habits, which she personally feels have been helpful over the years.

Prioritising both her mental and physical health was the first step to learning how to manage her anxiety. “We all have our daily anxieties, and I think it’s important to share with one another how we find relief in those moments,” María shared her sentiment. Here are a few tips that she has found to be useful for her:

1. Reduce Screen Time

Take it from a fellow productivity junkie – don’t check your emails during downtime.

2. Meditation

María tries to do 10 minutes of meditation a day. She highly recommends the Headspace app.

3. Reduce Caffeine & Alcohol Intake

Take everything in moderation. One coffee in the morning is all María needs in a day. “Drinking is fun, but it makes me slightly groggy and anxious the next morning,” she said.


It's Not About Fitting In

Do you know what your anxiety triggers are? For Evelyn, it’s about the little things that might seem trivial but feels almost like the world in her head. “I get anxious when I forget things. I’m also hyper aware in public and can’t help but worry about the way I’m acting,” she said. To be engulfed in a whirlwind of activity can be a very distressing experience. In times like these, how does Evelyn keep up with her racing mind?

1. Sleep

We know for a fact that Evelyn loves sleeping. Her favourite thing to do is to lie down. “When you sleep, you forget everything. I feel myself smiling each time I lie on my bed. It’s so comfortable that I never want it to end. So shiok*,” she said.

*Shiok – (in Singapore English) very enjoyable or pleasing

2. Write It Down

If you are like Evelyn and can’t trust yourself to remember things, then don’t keep your thoughts (or to-do lists) in your head – simply write them down.

3. Accept Yourself

“Sometimes I think about how I’m very different from others. But as much as I want to fit in, I can’t force myself to be someone I’m not. It doesn’t work that way,” Evelyn admits.


Living on a Time Bomb

“Do you ever feel like the world is closing in on you?” Yu Ting asked the team. Whenever Yu Ting feels that way, she takes it as a sign to spend more time with herself. “It always stems from not having enough time to do the many things I have in mind and it drives me crazy,” she continued. In a world where pretty much everyone is productivity-driven, it is easy to develop a false belief that we are all living on a time bomb. Resting starts to feel like a waste of time and we start to deprive ourselves from it during the time we most need it.

Yu Ting thinks taking a break is now something that takes conscious effort. Whether it’s blocking out time on your calendar for a cup of coffee or setting alarms to take a bathroom break, you need to give your mind and body some cues. Here are things she makes time for when it all gets too much:

1. Journaling

You don’t have to think, you just write what comes to mind. “Looking at old entries could either reinforce or change your perspective towards life. Some of the things you’ve written might be surprisingly profound,” Yu Ting said.

2. Lie down on the floor

When you feel breathless or find your thoughts spiraling out of control, try lying down on the floor. As the floor is not something we’re used to feeling, the act forces you to concentrate on the contact between you and the hard surface, bringing out your most present self.

3. Talk About It

There may have been times when you felt your thoughts or problems weren’t big enough to talk about. But pain is relative. No one’s pain is more important than someone else’s pain. If something affects you, find someone you trust and talk to them; articulate and relate.


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