Hey Sister Friend!
If you missed it, I have a blog about How I Calm Your Nerves before/during/after your Barrie Boudoir Photoshoot with Bedhead Boudoir. However, I thought it might be helpful to outline some ways in which you can self-soothe and practice peace & calm before your shoot when your nerves may be going crazy.
As an incredibly anxious person myself, I'm going to share with you my favourite tips on self-soothing and calming your nerves/decreasing anxiety, beginning with the simple and leading up to the big-guns. These are not replacements for professional help (of which I get a lot of lol) but rather, my favourite techniques for calming anxiety.
Let me start by saying, I struggle a lot with anxiety and panic attacks. It's really hard to work through feelings of intense fear on your own - so please, if nothing else, show yourself compassion and non-judgement. Give yourself grace for struggling the same way we all do. If things get overwhelming, or you are overcome by feelings of fear - I recommend you speak to a professional as soon as possible. I have no psychology experience, I am only offering you what I have learned works for me. Please, if you need help, reach out to someone. There is no shame in needing a lifeline.
When I start to feel sensations of panic or anxiety, the first thing I do right away is... panic, lmao. I give myself a few moments to freak out a little without allowing it to spiral. It's normal to feel fear, especially with such an intimate, vulnerable experience such as a boudoir shoot coming up, or other life stressors.
The first thing I'll try is an affirmation/mantra. "I am safe to feel afraid." I repeat it a dozen times and allow it to sink in. This makes me feel validated, safe and calm. It IS safe to feel fear. Fear alone will not harm us.
Affirmations in the mirror are way more powerful than we give them credit for. Repeating uplifting affirmations while looking yourself in the mirror holds extreme power to increase mood and self esteem. Do this for just 5 minutes in the morning, or right before your shoot and feel the effects soon after. We also offer an exclusive empowerment playlist, basically music meditations, with every confirmation email upon booking your shoot. You'll have one for before and after your shoot.
Breathing exercises are also crucial for these moments. When we panic, our breathing gets shallow and this helps contribute to the feelings of fear. Try box breathing: 4 counts inhale, 4 counts hold and 4 counts exhale. If at any point you feel lightheaded, stop immediately and sit down/breathe normally. Box breathing can help calm the nervous system and send an alert in the body's language that it's safe to calm down and turn off the alarms.
If you struggle to box breathe on your own, find a quick breathing meditation on Insight Timer. It's a free app and meditations are as short as one minute and as long as a few hours. Find what works best for you! We'll touch more on this later.
Add another layer...
After/while I'm trying to box breathe and/or focus on a quick meditation, I add another layer of comfort.
I am a very sensory sensitive person - so I find extreme comfort in tactile textures like cozy blankets, hoodies, slippers, etc.
I put on my comfiest sweats, maybe my blanket hoodie, and the poofiest blanket I can find to wrap myself in. Weighted blanket is my big-guns for feeling comfy.
I also personally get great comfort from food as well as warm tea (especially Earl Grey!) - but be careful not to over-indulge or binge eat. Try to keep it healthy & low-sugar if possible.
My therapist once had me sit down and write out a "Glimmers List". It's like a trigger list, but the opposite. Go through all of the senses and write down things that give you even the smallest glimmer of happiness/peace/joy. This can be your favourite warm beverage, favourite snack, meal, cozy blankets, fuzzy socks, your pet, comfort show - literally anything. When you're struggling, come back to this list and use it as a lighthouse out of the darkness.
I know meditation isn't for everyone. Sometimes it is the absolute best thing for me, and sometimes it's too much to face.
I use Insight Timer daily. They have short breath work sessions, short/long guided sessions, talks, music, education and more.
Carve out 5 minutes of your day to lay down and listen to a guided meditation. If you're feeling anxiety and want something quick, I recommend this one.
If you have time, this meditation is my BIG GUNS for panic attacks. It makes me feel safe and rejuvenated. Intentionally listen, maybe even while having a hot bath with candles or adding some other element of relaxation and self-care to the vibe. This meditation has saved me.
Guided meditations help my ADHD brain focus and without the guidance, I struggle to stay focused. Meditation, especially at first, can be difficult. Do not judge yourself. Give yourself grace, return back to your breath/the guidance, & continue on. You've got this!
TBH, I only tried this for the first time a week ago. I also struggle with chronic pain, and that was my reasoning for giving acupuncture a try. I put it off for so long mostly because, ew, needles and also because I figured it would be more like a chiropractor or physiotherapy appointment - uncomfortable, and then it might help later.
Before the needles, I was so nervous. I was anxious about what the needles would feel like, and I was anxious about how I would feel afterward. Maddie got an extensive history from me, and was incredibly knowledgeable and professional. She also has a naturally calming presence. She walked me through every step and supported me and my feelings.
When the needles began, she walked me through breathing through and I was quickly surprised at how little I could feel the needles going in. I barely felt anything at all. A mosquito bite is worse lol.
Once they were all in, she turned the lights off and left for only 5-10 minutes. At first I panicked because I was alone and kinda immobile, but within seconds I felt myself relax into a meditative state along with the relaxing music Maddie had playing.
I took this time to go inward, breathe and meditate. When she came back in to remove them, I was so deep in my consciousness that it took me a second to remember where I actually was and to wake up enough to slowly get up. After, I felt incredible. The kind of relaxation and peace I can only find through my prescribed anxiety medications - I was blown away by the immediate mental health effects of the acupuncture.
I immediately booked 3 more appointments because I am now addicted to the relief it brings me, mentally and physically. If you want peace, a good nights sleep, a sweet little head massage, and a therapeutic experience - book acupuncture today!
(Try a consult first to be sure you are a candidate and there are no contraindications for you to try it)
I said what I said. None of these self-soothing techniques are a replacement for professional help. It's normal to feel nervous, fearful, or panicked. If things escalate, become unbearable or too much - you need to speak to a professional.
I know the additional expense can be a tough pill to swallow, but you're the one who has to live inside your mind and body for the rest of your life. You may as well invest in making it a pleasant place to be.
I see my therapist one or two times per month as well as a psychologist once a month. I personally suffer from CPTSD, panic disorder & OCD. This can bring a lot of anxiety, and a lot of times, I can't handle it on my own. My therapist has saved me from myself countless times - and she is worth every penny. Don't give up on finding the right therapist for you!!
Reminder: this blog is not a replacement for professional mental health services. If you suffer from anxiety, panic attacks, depression, or any other mental health struggles - reach out to a professional ASAP. You are loved, safe, wanted, seen, heard, valued, and so many more things. Invest in yourself, babe!
Fear & anxiety can be difficult to navigate. It's normal to feel fear before doing something so vulnerable & exposing in nature. Know that these techniques, as well as just diving in and coming to meet me, will help ease your nerves as you come into a boudoir shoot.
I promise you - your anticipation of how it's going to go is twenty times scarier than how it actually feels. From the moment you walk into the studio, you will be celebrated, safe, and encouraged to be your exact self. Fear and all is welcome here.
You will walk out shedding a weight and maybe even an old perspective of self.
Did you try any of these? Find them helpful, or not helpful? Reach out to me below to chat about it and even add any recommendations you may have! Love you!