How To Calm Your Anxiety In Uncertain Times
Anxiety sucks. And right now, for many women it sucks bad. I’m not sure why, but over these past weeks, I’ve actually been super calm and centered… maybe it’s because I feel well prepared? Or maybe it’s because I’m continuing to do those things I can control to keep my family safe?
At any rate, I have a go to list that I pick from regularly to keep stress at bay.
I’ve revised this list in line with our current situation…. lockdown… Covid … Winter illness … climate change … politics. A lot of these things below have helped me to navigate increased stress.
Picking a handful and putting on repeat daily is a good way to try to stay a step ahead of your monkey mind. Some of them are kinda out there maybe … but try them! You might be surprised.
15 Ways To Calm Your Anxiety
1. Choose simplicity
Now’s as good a time as any to declutter your cupboards and closets… I’m the antithesis of a pack rat .. and love a streamlined home. My wardrobe is minimal and we constantly declutter and make room for space.
Right now though it’s also about going back to basics and enjoying the simple things… the baking… the time out… the kids… the family… your bubble 💛 …spending oodles of time with your furry friend… I’ve even been cutting the fams hair!
I’m trying to enjoy our simple life... takes me back to a time when I was young… the 80’s !
2. Be present
Not living in a constant state of distraction, for me, lets me create space for myself. Let’s me appreciate the here and now and allows me to both not live in the past, nor long for the next thing.
Worry puts us directly either in the past… what did I say? Or the future… what if I fail? … whereas staying in the present and being mindful, puts you right where you need to be. Here. And, now. Enjoying the little things.
3. Magnesium & L-Theanine
You’re either on the supplement train or you’re not… I am… and I take a variety of differing combinations daily…. but, the two I love for stress the most are Magnesium and L-Theanine. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer… it helps to quench fear and stress and also helps moderate your nervous system.
L-Theanine is considered an effective anxiolytic -helping to lower your stress responses… it’s a daily for me!
Remember to always consult your health professional before your start any supplements.
Find some water and sink in… add bath salts or bubbles… or lavender oil … or nothing… play music… or not… the water buoying your tired body helps… its soothing and its calming and helps reset your nervous system.
I’m a massive believer in finding water- and getting your body into that water. Being a cancer I guess this is part of my makeup. But either way, water soothes the soul.
Tough right now… but try to make a deal with yourself to simply get it done… make a decision… AND stick to it… today, I took the opportunity to get out in the sun with my dog Molly. I didn’t take earbuds or a phone, like I normally do… I didn’t take calls or organise lists in my head… I walked deliberately and slowly and enjoyed every damn step. I slowed down… after all… I had nowhere to go…
Walking helps release endorphins – these miracle chemicals induce relaxation and improve your mood.
Even better. Take your walk in nature. Spending time in nature can help lower your blood pressure, help soothe your nervous system and increase feelings of happiness.
Everyone should have a therapist. I’ve had one on and off for years and by god, the first time I reluctantly went along I left singing their praises to anyone who would listen. Even if you don’t think you need therapy talking to someone unbiased and outside of your bubble can help you work through shit you never even knew you were holding onto. Most therapists can offer you a remote appointment if you need it by video or phone if you can’t do face to face.
7. Yin yoga
Ahhhhh … a slower, more deliberate type of yoga that focuses on holding a position for longer – typically 1-5 mins… and only going to around 40% of your edge … I have a regular routine I do daily… usually after dinner at night.. I have a mat, bolster and blocks handy in my room at all times …. if I’m feeling adventurous I tune into Yoga with Kassandra on YouTube… she’s fab… and has lots of great yin and other yoga classes, all free!
It is thought that Yin Yoga helps release pent up emotional energy that may contribute to anxiety.
Forgetting to keep hydrated can bring you to a place of frazzle …. if you’re suddenly feeling fried… try a cuppa chamomile and a glass of water…. see, better, right?
Any herbal tea will do the trick. Or, simply go with hot water with a wee squeeze of lemon in it.
Quit the sugar…. eat your greens peeps, eat your colours…. eat local… eat unprocessed…. eat your probiotics and prebiotics… don’t be a baby.
For me… I cut gluten and dairy… my body doesn’t like them.. my sinuses get inflamed and painful, joints get shitty and my arthritis screams at me… pay attention. Find out what works for you. Don’t be fooled into the pack mentality of the latest fad. Do you boo.
10. Sleep, naps and rest
All different … huh ? how so you might ask!??? Welllll… lemme tell you …
Sleep… regular routine… before midnight asleep and up at the same time in the morning… good sleep hygiene keeps our brains happy…. stay cool in bed.. don’t overheat.. we sleep better if we are cool…
Naps… YES!… be like a toddler and take yourself away if you feel like you need to … jump under the covers and stop feeling guilty about it… naps are for heroes people…
Rest… now, a nap can also be a rest…but a rest doesn’t have to be when you’re asleep.. a rest can include things like.. jumping under the covers and watching a movie… sitting on the couch and chilling.. taking a break to have a cuppa and a sit in the sun.. rest looks different to different people… but it has one common theme… its restorative …. ahhhh
This doesn’t have to be mammoth. You don’t need to pivot your business right now… or develop a startup to save the world. Your goal right now is to be calm, be at peace and be truly and authentically yourself. Be you. The world need you right now.
By slowing down, sometimes we start to allow our minds to wander… and to get back to the realness of who we are at our core.. in our hearts and within our souls… this slow unwinding of our everyday coils is making way and making room for the creative … it’s sifting out the clumps and allowing our minds to be light.
In this beautiful lightness lives creativity. Be it in writing, art, music, or even in kindness.
Creativity is connection. And we can all use a little more of that right now, right? So, allow yourself to slow down and create in the cracks.
12. Acting with purpose and enjoying tasks
I think it was John Kirwan who said the simple act of creating a meal was one of the ways he actively relaxed. By going about your day with intent and purpose you’re allowing yourself to not miss the special uniqueness of the seemingly meaningless or mundane. Even while we make our kids dinner, do the washing or walk the dog… we are able to act with purpose and intent.
Allowing ourselves to enjoy the little things… take steps to be mindful of our actions and stop living on autopilot.
Every night I run through a list of what Im grateful for. Little and big things… I start with those things in my immediate bubble.. and slowly move out to my community, my environment and eventually in my own little world.
I’m grateful for a roof over my head, my kids health and food in my pantry… Im grateful for my health, for the opportunity to make a difference in the world, my upbringing and fresh air…. no matter how tiny or insignificant… it’s all incredible.
You can’t simultaneously feel gratitude (or love) and fear at the same time… think about that! … when you feel gratitude you get an awesome hit of serotonin and dopamine… which makes you want more! …
Ok this may be woo woo to most of you, but hear me out… the seven chakras are considered the main energy centres of the body … they are; root, sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye and crown…. for me… certain yoga poses help stimulate or unblock certain chakras.
I also have mantras for each…. for example for the root chakra… “I am safe, I am supported” …. you can read more beginner content about Chakras on Mind, Body, Green here … it’s quite woo woo… but … it’s definitely bloody interesting and it works to help keep you grounded.
15. Palo santo
I’ll finish with this wee gem!… my kids think I’m a bit weird when I do this… but I like to burn palo santo to cleanse the energy in the house- including their rooms on occasion.. they tolerate me… and call me a nerd… but I’m sure they secretly love it!!
Palo Santo in Spanish literally means “sacred wood”…. its beautifully scented and helps alleviate anxiety and stress. It comes in sticks – looks a bit like kindling… and you light it as you would incense…. moving it into corners of your room… it’s truly a beautiful thing
I am no expert. But, I do know what works for me and this list of things is my go to to unwind myself from the day to day stressors that tend to creep in. As a woman who runs a business, has a day job, is raising a family and is wearing the many, many hats that many of us do, I find I need a definitive list of go to’s to hit when things get tough.
Disclaimer: I’m not a health professional. Always consult your health provider before you start any new supplement or regime. Mental Health is complicated. This is a list of things that work for me only and is not meant to be medical advice. Everyone is different.