How to tame your anxiety in uncertain times
Anxiety sucks. And right now, for many women she 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… a lot of these things help, 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
Allowing yourself to feel the now… even if it completely sucks… giving yourself permission to sit in your emotions… experience your feels, then also allow yourself to move on.
3. Magnesium & ashwagandha
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 Mag and ashwagandha… magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer… it helps to quench fear and stress and also helps moderate your nervous system. Ashwagandha is thought to lower cortisol- your stress hormone- levels… it’s a daily for me!
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
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…
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 are still working remote right now by video or phone…
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!
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?
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.
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