Living with Anxiety can have its daily challenges, making small changes can help support how we adjust to daily challenges.
Eat real food:
A good balanced diet is fundamental to reaching and maintaining good health. What you’re putting in your mouth has a direct effect on your entire body; especially your mind. The crappier things you do or put into your body, the crappier you are going to feel and look – no offense. And the same goes if you’re not consuming enough food.
Fresh, nutritious, organic (when possible) and wholefoods, are going to make a huge difference.
The EWGs ‘Dirty Dozen’ and ‘Clean Fifteen’ is a good reference point, for foods that aren’t as necessary to consume organic and those that are. As tempting as it is, minimise the processed and refined foods as best you can.
The man-made and ‘white’ foods; dairy, breads, pastas and sugar, are inflammatory and going to cause and worsen health conditions (if not moderated). So substitute! Go for the almond/wholemeal/pea/lentil/buckwheat/chickpea versions.
The anxiety-ridden are frequently nutrient deprived and energy depleted. We crave sugar, more so than the average person, so don’t be disheartened if the cravings get the better of you. We all have those days, I still reach for the bad chocolate some days, because despite what every organic/raw/natural/paleo/refined sugar/gluten free company says, it does NOT taste the same. (The person who actually manages to make the bad chocolate healthy, but still taste like the bad chocolate, will be the next Elon Musk in my eyes).
And be very mindful of your caffeine intake as it often fuels our anxious states and also reduces our vitamin and mineral absorption. So even if you have a great diet and are taking any supplements, having them with caffeine is going to drastically reduce their benefits.
Get a ‘thing’:
Inappropriate jokes aside, having a ‘thing’- anything you’re interested in and can utilise at any point, is going to help you feel better and get back to reality. I mean that’s the problem with anxiety right? We generally live in fear, and thoughts of the future. We need grounding. Something to get us present.
Whether its walking, driving, cooking, something artistic, gardening or a musical oasis; find your ‘thing’ and hold on like Rose did with the door off the titanic.
Get moving and get outside:
The positives of exercise are well documented; they benefit the mind as much as the body.
Essentially our brains are thinking at such rates our body can’t keep up. It’s shown that walking facilitates our thoughts and allows us to process them at a more appropriate speed.
It brings us to the present and it releases our natural happy drugs like serotonin, dopamine and endorphins (that partly why there are those naturally carefree and ridiculously happy people walking around).
Starting off the day with a brisk walk, is going to put you in a much better mindset for the day. It will also allow you to handle stressors better. You’ll also probably find you have more energy throughout the day, weird, but true I promise. Just spending time in nature has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression rates
Get your yoga on
If you’re anything like me and find meditation nearly impossible unless you’ve been given a horse tranquilizer, yoga offers a similar benefit and a workout at the same time. It forces you to be in the moment, not giving your mind much time to wonder elsewhere.
It also gets you breathing, more deeply and more consciously. This provides particular benefits to us anxious alike.
Get a morning routine:
Incorporating a routine minimises daily decisions and therefore indecisiveness and over thinking. Something you can follow on a regular basis and hopefully something you actually like doing. Whether it’s getting up at the same time and preparing breakfast, reading a bit, meditation, going to the gym or for a walk. Stick to it as often as you can.
Whatever it is, make sure you include a giant glass of water to start.
Get some sleep:
Guys grandma life is where it’s at; early bed and early rise. Give it a go for a couple of weeks. And aim for a solid 8 hours sleep every night.
You know that rare feeling when you wake feeling rested and before your alarm, we’re supposed to feel like that EVERY day.
It’s a sad irony that the thing we anxious people often need the most, is something we can’t always get. Insomnia is closely linked with mental health disorders and so sleep is super important.
So begin somewhere, make little change and become more aware.
Start experimenting with what makes you feel better,
This is just a short list, there is way more out there.
Sarah is a Naturopath student currently completing her Bachelor Health Science in Naturopathy. Sarah has a personal area of interest in mental health and anxiety. Always consult your healthcare professional before starting a new health routine.