This blog is an excerpt from an article I wrote over at the awesome blog Tiny Buddha. To see all 10 tips just click on the “read more here” link below!
As an almost recovered anxiety sufferer I know what it’s like to feel stressed, out of sorts, desperate and unlike yourself. I know what panic attacks feel like, I’ve had many. I wouldn’t wish them on my worst enemy. Anxiety can be debilitating and affect every area of your day to day life.
I remember it was about 4 years ago (now 7!) when I was feeling so overwhelmed and anxious I could barely leave my house. I had 3 young children at the time. It was all I could do to just get through each day. Just making meals for my little family felt like more than I could handle.
I remember at lunchtime I was putting together peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for probably the 7th day in a row and I stood there thinking, what on earth is wrong with me? This is not the Hannah that I know! I’m not this person. How did I get here!?!?
I slinked down to the floor and broke into tears as I was filled with guilt about how I wasn’t being the wife and mother I should be. The light was streaming in the window, shining onto our tile floor, filled with crumbs and ants. I couldn’t remember the last time I had swept.
You have to keep going. You have to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and know that it won’t be like this forever. Remember that about 1 in 5 people feel the same way you do!
As the days, months and years passed by I learned many lessons and continue to learn lessons on a daily basis. I’m human. I still have anxious days but I now realize that they will pass. I accept them. They don’t quite sting as bad as they used to.
Thankfully I have gone through this because it has pushed me to learn about so many facets of health that I never would have been interested in otherwise. I’m stronger in the long run. You will be too.
It’s been an incredible journey that I’m still riding and I love learning about our mind, bodies and spirits and how each facet is so important for our overall health.
Today I would love to share 10 simple ways you can ease your anxiety today. These are strategies that I use daily. I’ve learned that we need to make self care a priority. Sometimes it can feel really uncomfortable to take time for ourselves. To say “no” to others and put ourselves first, but, we must. If we are to be able to give to others, we need to have something to give, whether that is time, love, or patience.
Self care HAS to be a top priority. If you feel guilty about it you must get over it starting today. In our society that is so fast paced, hurried and often stressful we need to make every effort possible to SLOW down, take time to RELAX and REJUVENATE ourselves. We don’t naturally build these moments into our day enough, and if you don’t, now is the time to start, with these simple tips.
- Cut Sugar From Your Diet
Sugar can wreak havoc on your health for many reasons. Sugar adds to the overall burden of stress to your body. Anyone who struggles with anxiety doesn’t need to be adding any extra stress. Sugar is also void of nutrients; during stress your body needs food full of vitamins and minerals, those struggling with anxiety can benefit greatly from eliminating sugar.
- Use Lavender Oil
Lavender Oil has been used for centuries and it the most versatile essential oil. With a pleasing aroma and calming properties it has a relaxing scent that calms the mind and body. Use lavender safely on your skin, rub on wrists, behind ears, a dot on your neck, and enjoy its scent. You can use a few drops in the bathtub or in the shower. At night I love to add a few drops to an Epsom salt foot-bath.
- Get To Bed By 10:30
When you have anxiety your stress levels are high and your nerves are frazzled. Lack of sleep just adds to the problem. Going to bed by 10:30 will do a great deal to give your body ample time to rest and repair itself. By getting enough sleep you reduce cortisol levels and the overall burden placed on your body. Sometimes sleep alone can be the biggest help when it comes to healing anxiety.
- Begin Practicing Yoga
As I’ve practiced yoga I’ve noticed a reduction in anxiety symptoms. I can’t live without it! Yoga is helpful for many reasons. You learn how to breathe deeply and effectively which is great for stress reduction. You move your body gently and get some exercise without overexerting your body and stressing it out more. Yoga has also been the perfect beginning step to learn how to meditate. Through yoga, you learn to be still, move more slowly and intentionally throughout your day and you learn to concentrate on where tension is in your body so you can release it and relax.
- Go For A Walk/Jog
Getting outside and taking a walk can do wonders for our moods by boosting serotonin, which is the good mood neurotransmitter. Getting outside allows you to soak up some vitamin D, clear your brain, and get a fresh new perspective on life. It’s almost impossible to be in a bad mood when you are moving your body outside. If your body is up to it you can go for a quick jog or run. Those who have dealt with long-term anxiety may notice that their body isn’t quite up to jogging or running yet. If you feel more depleted, frazzled and stressed after you jog, especially if that feeling lasts for a couple days, be kind to yourself and don’t push yourself to that point yet. Take a step back and just allow yourself to move gently. Yoga, Pilates and walking are all great alternatives.
I hope the best for you in your recovery.