Mental Health Awareness Week 2023: 5 stories in 5 days, Frankie Youell

With the theme being anxiety for this year's Mental Health Awareness Week, Frankie Youell, Marketing Executive, shares her experience


Written by Frankie Youell, Marketing Executive


I have been a worrier and an over-thinker since as long as I can remember. Even at the age of 10/11 I have memories of getting so worked up before an exam, before a swimming match or even before meeting new people.

As I have got older, I have gained some perspective and become more comfortable in my own skin, but the tendency to worry and to feel anxious about seemingly mundane things has not left me. Over the years I have identified certain habits and behaviours that contribute to my anxiety in a negative way. They may seem pretty obvious, but in any given week in England, 6 in 100 people will be diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder so I thought I would share just in case it helps anyone to identify things that may be hindering them instead of helping.

4 things that make my anxiety worse:

  1. Alcohol – I know that this is VERY common but the day after having one too many is never kind on my brain. I feel so on edge and my critical brain is in overdrive. To combat this, I try to be extra kind to myself (as hard as that may be) and make sure I get some fresh air.
  2. Not exercising – if I go a few days without moving my body in some way then I feel energy build up in my body with nowhere to go which can lead to me feel anxious and panicky. Making time to exercise every other day has hugely helped with my general anxiety.
  3. Lack of quiet time – on the whole I would say I’m an introvert and as much as I love socialising with friends and colleagues, I need time by myself to recharge my social battery. It might sound simple but taking time to unwind by reading a gripping book or watching easy tv has become a critical to maintaining my overall wellbeing.
  4. Lack of good quality sleep - the older I get the more I have realised how sleep is SO important to my overall wellbeing. If I’m feeling anxious, I now make a real effort to get a few early nights and always feel so much better for doing so.

Knowing that these things can make my anxiety worse doesn’t mean that I have mastered the perfect balance but being aware of them has massively helped so that when I do feel off, I can usually get back to feeling myself after addressing one or two of these areas.

It is worth saying that this helps when my anxiety is ‘low-level’ not crippling. When it has reached that point in the past, I was fortunate to be able to afford therapy which helped me enormously.

However, I know that a lot of people are not so fortunate... so in June I am walking 53km in one day to raise money for Mind. I hope to raise as much as possible so that people can get the support they need.

If you fancy donating, here is the link to my JustGiving page, any and all donations are greatly appreciated!