Today I’ve teamed up with one of my favorite bloggers Michelle from Mash Elle, to talk to you guys about a more sensitive topic; anxiety. We’re both tackling this topic in two separate blog posts. To check out Michelle’s blog Click here.
My Story of Anxiety
Anxiety can be caused by a multitude of things. For me, it started when I was 7 years old as separation anxiety from my parents. I had my first panic attack when I was that age and I’ve had anxiety ever since. With anything, it’s changed and morphed over the years as both my brain and maturity have developed. I’ve experienced panic attacks, social anxiety, anxiety triggered by loss and the list goes on. Anxiety isn’t black and white, it can take on so many different forms and symptoms which can make it difficult to handle at times.
7 Holistic Remedies For Anxiety
I know first hand how hard it can be to manage anxiety, especially because a lot of the time, it’s hard to comprehend why you feel the way you do. This makes it even harder to calm down and lessen the symptoms. Today I’ve put together a list of 7 holistic home remedies I use to help when I feel anxious. Given that everyone is different, these may or may not help you. These sorts of things take trial and error. I would suggest you try them out, give them some time and see if your symptoms lessen.
Please Note: I am not a trained medical professional. Everything listed in this article are things that have helped me on my personal journey. If you are experiencing intense symptoms or have feelings of depression please seek a medical professional in your area.
1) Headspace App
The Headspace App is a free meditation app with the goal of improving the world’s health and happiness. They have guided meditations that target a variety of goals including anxiety. I understand that meditation may not be for everyone, however, I urge you to give it a try. They start you off slow, with a step by step guide on how to meditate. You can then take their anxiety course, which is a series of guided meditations that takes place over 30 days. Each meditation lasts between 10 – 20 minutes, which is the perfect amount of time.
Please note: If you are seeing a medical professional for your anxiety, before trying Headspace, talk to them about treatment and how you can add meditation into your program.
Exercise isn’t exactly a new concept to try when it comes to anxiety but it is extremely effective. Talking from personal experience, I understand how hard it can be to get up the energy to go to the gym when you’re experiencing symptoms. What I would suggest is starting with one of the following:
At-Home Exercises off Youtube
At-Home Yoga Sessions
Walking on a Treadmill in the Gym
Walking First thing in the morning for 15 -20 minutes
Ease into it. For me, exercising can seem extremely daunting when I’m not feeling good. Especially if I’m experiencing social anxiety. Don’t feel like you have to do really strenuous activity. A simple 15 min walk can do the trick. Also, there are so many resources that allow you to do exercises at home! Check out Youtube for exercise videos (here’s a link to one of my favorites: Cardio Class).
3) SLOW DOWN
The concept of “personal time” is likely foreign to many of us. However, it’s crucial for getting your stress levels down. Personal time can come in so many different shapes and forms. For me, it’s reading a book or playing a mobile game like Risk or Boom Beach (I know sounds lame – but it really helps me relax!) Everyone is different. I try and set aside an hour every day for personal time. Tip: Actually, schedule it and make sure you enforce it. That’s the hardest part.
Weighted Blanket – A weighted blanket is exactly what it sounds like: it’s a blanket that has weights in it. Weight has been proven to help with anxiety, the pressure can act as a calming property. I have a weighted blanket (it’s pictured above and it’s helped me). I use it during my personal time! Here’s a link to one I recommend: Weighted Blanket
4) Time Management
Time management is extremely important for handling stress. It’s also something that takes time and effort (trust me). When I was working an office job time management was easier for me since I had daily tasks. Now, however, since I work for myself at home it’s harder. Here are some things that help me with my time management that you should try:
– Use your calendar! Seriously, this is the best way to stay organized
– Block of time for specific tasks, when the time is done, move on
– Set multiple reminders on your phone
– To do Lists!
This is an unconventional remedy but I’m listing it because it helps me. Gut health can be caused by anxiety and can worsen anxiety. Therefore that’s why I’m mentioning it. I have IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and it worsens whenever I feel anxious. If you have gut irritation, I would recommend trying a probiotic. Probiotics are live bacteria cultures that help your digestive system. They are 100% safe (as long as you purchase from a licensed manufacturer).
Probiotics typically take 1 – 2 weeks to take effect. During that time, you might experience worse symptoms as your gut gets used to the increase in bacteria (stick it out it’s worth it!) Once the adjustment period is over however, I notice a huge difference in how my gut processes food. I’m less bloated and more regular (sorry for being candid here)!
Given that the US and Canadian health standards are different, there will be different types of probiotics per region. Therefore, check out your local health food store or seek the advice of your medical professional for recommendations on what probiotics would suit you best!
Sleep is another obvious recommendation, however many of us don’t take it seriously. Lack of sleep is known to cause anxiety and worsen symptoms. I understand sleep deprivation is sometimes a symptom of anxiety and if that is the case for you, please seek professional medical care. If this isn’t the case for you, make it a point to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Here are a couple of tips:
– Head to bed an hour before turning off the light and read/meditate
– Use an Apple Watch or Fitbit to track how much sleep you’re actually getting
– Listen to your body, when you’re tired at night go to bed, don’t stay up
– Ditch the extra TV show and get up early instead
7) Put Yourself First
Western Culture doesn’t value relaxation. Over the past 50 years, the concept of “being busy” has become coveted. It makes us feel important. Unfortunately, this has dire consequences for our health. Put yourself first and start listening to your body. If you don’t want to do something, don’t. With that said, you need to find balance. If you don’t feel like going out with friends one night, stay in. If you’re experiencing extreme symptoms one day, take a personal day off work. Slow down and put yourself first.
That’s everything! Again, these are tips and tricks I use to lessen my symptoms. They won’t work for everyone but, you might be surprised by what helps. Have an open mind when it comes to trying some of these. Also, check out Michelle’s Blog for her article on anxiety!