Anxiety. It comes in many forms. Regardless, it sucks.
I have suffered with anxiety since high school. It would come and go but always seemed to find its way back. The more I ignored it the more it would creep up on me and the worse it got. Panic attacks, racing heart, trouble falling/staying asleep, loss of appetite, trembling, avoiding many events/anything that would trigger anxiety (at one point I couldn’t even go to yoga classes because I was embarrassed I would have a panic attack) these are just some of the symptoms people with anxiety deal with. If you know, then you know they are not fun! I want to share 6 things that REALLY have helped me over the years to deal with my anxiety. I of course still deal with anxiety sometimes and I am okay with that! Anxiety is normal, we are human and things WILL stress us out and lead to anxiety but, learning to control it and not letting it run your life is key! I hope what helped me can help you!
Figure out the cause of your anxiety///
Straight up stress? Stress from what though? Money? Relationships? Career? Is it social anxiety or food anxiety? There is always a reason. Grabbing a pen and writing those reasons on a good old fashioned piece of paper is something that helped me tremendously. Getting it all out and staring at it/ processing it/becoming familiar with it and coming face to face with your problems rather than ignoring them actually works. Even if you don’t have all the answers right now to solve the underlying issues, knowing and becoming familiar with your reasonings is important and gets you that much closer to creating a plan of action to work towards solving them.
The RIGHT supplements ///
YES. Some supplements really do work. I am huge believer in food first as supplements are called supplements for a reason.. to supplement a diet! Although, some have really helped me with anxiety and in particular stopped my panic attacks completely. I am not a doctor and what works for me may not work for you. If you are on any medications you should for sure talk to your health care provider before starting any supplementation program. That being said, these are the ones that I took (and some I still take)
- ASHWAGANDHA – this is first and foremost. I swear by this stuff! 1/2-1tsp every day. You can add to smoothies, hot water or lattes. My favourite brand is SUNPOTION https://www.sunpotion.com/products/ashwaganda-organic-111g-jar
- L-Theanine – an amino acid found in green tea (hey matcha) and is used as a natural stress reliever
- 5-HTP – Tryptophan! that fancy word that people say what causes turkey to make you tired (sorry but nope thats over eating) although it does relax you! 5-HTP is the precursor to tryptophan -another amino acid that helps with anxiety as it actually raises serotonin (mood boosting hormone)
- MAGNESIUM – magnesium deficiency is so common.
- B-COMPLEX – B vitamins reduce stress and improve mood. fight – or – flight actually depletes them. we simply don’t get enough from our food so I like to supplement
- VITAMIN D – I take 5000IU a day from september-april and 1000IU in the summer
- PROBIOTIC – your gut is your second brain. good gut health = happy brain
- HEALTHY FATS – if you aren’t getting enough in your diet ie: avocado, coconut, nuts/seeds, ghee/grass-fed butter, olive oil then consider adding in 1tbsp of high quality flax or fish oil!
Cutting out coffee ///
I know, this one sucks but there are so many alternatives! Caffeine is a straight up stimulant to our nervous system. Meaning: it triggers our fight – or – flight response which causes anxiety to go up. Nervousness, jitters, mood swings, sleep disturbances and so on. I love the taste of coffee and I do believe coffee has many benefits. Once or twice a month I will treat myself to a latte (espresso contains less caffeine) but I did cut it out cold turkey for about a year before I started doing this. I actually cut out ALL caffeine for a year. (this means green tea!) before adding my now daily matcha into my routine. Yes, matcha contains caffeine as well. Although the caffeine in matcha is much less and more slowly released than coffee. It doesn’t give the crash effect and has so many benefits including that special amino acid I was talking about above. L-theanine!
Put down the booze ///
I have never been much of a drinker. My “party stage” was short lived and never anything myself or my loved ones was concerned about. Although the more my anxiety crept up on me the more I realized how much worse I felt after 1 night of casual drinking. The next day and few days after in particular. Hangxiety is real. Yes, hangover anxiety. Sure, in the moment drinking you might feel good. Alcohol is sending an immediate rush of dopamine to the brain. You are care-free and in a good mood. Unfortunately that is short-lived. After the alcohol wears off your anxiety symptoms will likely be worse than before the alcohol. Feeling panicked, depressed, irritable and just down right down is common and to me, not worth it. Sure I pick and choose times to drink because yes some drinks with friends/family is fun sometimes! ..but you will never find me having a ‘casual cocktail’. I will pick a few times a year (couple times in the summer and around the christmas holidays/new years) to let loose and have some drinks but I know the consequences and love my life way more sober!
Exercise and YOGA! ///
No doubt that working out can make you feel better. It releases endorphins, gives you an energy boost and makes you feel more confident. It also really helps with anxiety. I love high intensity stuff that makes me just get out of my own head and I also love low intensity like yoga that makes you get out of your head on a whole other level. Breathing techniques, inversions, heart openers. These all helped me with anxiety and is something I swear by to . Yoga helped me immensely. I even attended my 200hr YTT while going through the absolute worst 6 months of anxiety in my life and it changed everything. Along with exercise, which is a form of self care ..some other self care rituals are always beneficial. Meditation, sauna, legs up the wall (inversions are amazing for your brain!) listening to your favourite podcast, talking with a friend, getting a massage etc.
Straight up RELAX ///
Don’t let your worries run your life. This is one I am constantly working on. More often than not many of your worries will turn out to be false and you WILL live through it. Make some peace with time. Ask yourself if what you are worrying about will really matter in a month. Stop trying to control the uncontrollable. Sometimes you feel the most in control when you try not to control so much! Last but not least, you are not the only one who feels like this. For years I have constantly reminded myself that I am not alone, I am not crazy and the way my body is reacting to my anxiety (sometimes the panic attacks, rapid heart beat that feels like a heart attack is scary, trust me I get it) will not hurt me. You ultimately need to get comfortable enough with the feeling to mentally learn to control it. This takes practice and patience but really works!
I hope these tips help anyone who suffers with anxiety! Comment and let me know what you think or send me a message/email if you have any questions!