Article for Huffington Post
When anxiety strikes, it can throw everything in your life out of whack. Sleep, productivity, energy levels, diet, and routines suffer. These natural self-care techniques can help you achieve a balanced state, especially when you need time to address the deeper, underlying issues creating stress and anxiety in your life. These techniques are also a great way to improve your health, energy, and well-being.
Anxiety often invites overindulgence in an attempt to calm your nerves. The very act of overindulging can increase anxiety if you ingest stimulants, not to mention any guilt or judgment you might have about it. Eliminate or reduce your sugar, caffeine, and alcohol intake. You can be proactive by eating protein every 2-3 hours to regulate blood sugar, maintain your energy levels, and prevent cravings. This can be as simple as having a hand full of nuts or a protein shake.
When you experience sugar cravings, support your process by choosing wisely and deliberately with organic fruit, a smoothie, or organic dark chocolate. Strive for balance, not perfection. There is nothing wrong with intelligent, pleasurable indulgences especially when you need a little comfort! If you decide to be decadent, make it a conscious choice, stay present, and revel in the pleasure of every single bite.
Natural supplements can address anxiety without the side effects associated with pharmaceutical drugs. Each body is unique and responds differently to emotional, environmental, physical, and psychological triggers. Consult with your health practitioner and explore what is most effective for your body. Always do your research to find high quality supplements from companies with integrity. The following supplements provide extra support during stressful times.
Magnesium is considered the most powerful relaxation mineral available. It is critical for various functions in the body and easily depleted by stress.
B-Vitamins are also easily depleted during stressful periods. Include a B-Vitamin Complex supplement to improve your mood, energy, and brain function.
Melatonin can help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
L-Theanine, a natural component of green tea, is an amino acid known to reduce anxiety and induce calm. It can also sharpen mental focus at the same time. This is a great choice for the work environment.
Stress adaptogens such as ginseng, rhodiola, holy basil, maca, and ashwaganda naturally lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels and replenish the adrenal glands. Adaptogens simultaneously address other issues like blood sugar imbalance, a depressed immune system, poor energy levels, low libido, and more.
An inexpensive way to take a time out is to keep a bottle or two of essential oils in your desk, purse, or medicine cabinet. You can inhale or place a drop or two on your fingertips and dab onto your temples, inner wrists, third eye, neck, or feet. You can add them to your bath or a diffuser. Lavender essential oil is known for calming the nervous system. Rose essential oil is especially effective for romantic trauma and emotional stress. Orange essential oil is another potent anxiety reliever aromatherapists frequently recommend as a tranquilizer. You can find essential oil blends made specifically to address stress and anxiety. Flower remedies are another option, such as Bach’s Rescue Remedy, a soothing mixture of flower essences created by Dr. Bach for emergencies and stressful situations.
Connect to your breath
The most simple and effective practice to alleviate anxiety and decrease stress (and the one thing we all tend to resist the most) is conscious breathing. It takes one minute, five if you have it, to remind yourself to breathe in and out to reset your nervous system. Next, ask yourself, where is the tension manifesting itself? An upset stomach? A racing heart? A knot in your shoulder? A headache? The mere act of acknowledging your present experience is enough to move through it. We often jump to distraction and miss this opportunity to tune-in, and that’s where the magic happens. Many times the solution to your problems will rise to the surface given the space.
Practice self-compassion. It can be easy to look at other people’s mistakes with compassion and forgiveness but harder to turn that compassion toward yourself. Begin to look at yourself with compassion, all of you, your weaknesses, pains, and failures, with openness and acceptance. Studies show that people who practice self-compassion are not only less anxious and depressed, they are happier and more likely to succeed!