As promised, part two is here. Read on to find tips on managing anxiety and times of high stress. This holiday season, set aside time for self-care and time to relax so you can enter the new year rejuvenated and ready to go.
Fuel Your Body
During bouts of anxiety, what you eat can help level your mood and energy levels. Some may experience a loss of appetite while others may be hit with salty or sweet cravings–be mindful of what your body is calling out for.
Nourish your body and soul with healthful foods: brightly colored veggies for a variety of vitamins, warm and soothing soups, and even some dark chocolate (which may aid in boosting serotonin levels).
All the Teas
So this part sucks for us coffee lovers–caffeiene serves only to intensify feelings of anxiety. I’ve found it best to avoid it entirely when I’m feeling out of sorts. (I know. I never thought I’d say that. Ugh.)
Instead? All. The. Tea!
Keep a variety of your favorites on hand. Some of my go-tos include Yogi Tea’s Sleep Honey Lavender Stress Relief, St. Johns Wort Blues Away, and Bedtime. My dear friend Lauren also introduced me to Aveda Calm tea–I drink this staple both morning and night.
Still want your cup o’ joe? Learn to be okay with asking for decaf, if only for a while.
I used to think meditation was rather “woo woo”, but then I tried the app Headspace. Dom once again introduced me to this gem and I went ahead and subscribed for a month to give it a go.
Their SOS feature walks you through a quick 5-minute session when you need it most, while their other series (including commuter, relationship, sleep, workout options and much more) talk you through different exercises to promote presence, mindfulness and calm in many areas of life. Not to mention, the narrator’s light British accent is oh so soothing.
I find my mind wandering a lot, but taking the time to observe my thoughts and get curious about my feelings–rather than letting them take me over–offers relief.
P.S. drawing intently in your adult coloring book or YouTube videos on breathing exercises are also great ways to meditate–coloring totally counts.
It can be all too tempting to crawl under the covers and never come out when the wave hits. While sometimes it is important to seek rest and solace alone, be wary of secluding yourself too much.
Time with trusted friends and loving family can help take your mind off of things and bring you back to yourself. Grab coffee with a friend, take a lunchtime stroll with a coworker, say yes to the happy hour or a dinner out with your jovial crew. Protect your time to rest and to sleep, but resist the temptation to hide away more often than not. Find your unique balance.
Some occasional anxiety can be managed– but it is important to remember clinical anxiety and depression are serious mental issues that beg attention. For chronic bouts or more long-term cases, or even if you just need another lifeline through the struggle, therapy is a very good option. I highly recommend seeking professional support, even just for everyday life! It is hard to ask for help and dig through the mud, but dang–it works wonders.
Many therapists are covered by insurance, so check with your provider for a list in your area, ask trusted friends, or even seek a list of referrals from your church. I personally have been seeing the same therapist (at some times more than others) for over five years. She’s seen me through good times and bad, helping me to develop tools to manage the ups and downs as they come.
**I cannot stress this enough: therapy, or any medications prescribed and monitored safely by your trusted doctor, should never be shamed or looked down upon. Anyone seeking help is one brave individual. Respect that and their privacy if they wish to not talk about it, but be open when they do. Friends, we are called to support and encourage one another through our individual battles.
Be well, my friends. And remember, you are not alone.
Wanting more? Set these psychologist-approved Mental Health Resolutions to kick off 2017.