Your Go-To Tips for Reducing Anxiety and Stress
Welcome back to the blog beautiful people! If you’re reading this, chances are you’re feeling a bit stressed, am I right or am I right?
Well I am here to tell you that everything is fine, you are exactly where you need to be, and it is perfectly okay to feel a bit overwhelmed from this crazy thing we call life.
I myself had a mini anxiety attack this past weekend, which is what inspired me to write this blog post. As I was in the midst of my freak out, I was thinking “Okay okay what would I tell someone else to do? What usually makes me feel good?” and voila I bring you my top 10 tips for reducing anxiety and stress. I know they work because I actually use them and they are easy to do, even for the busiest of people.
So take a deep breathe, hold it, breathe out. Now you’re ready to read on and start implementing these tips today. <3
1. There's a reason 10,000 steps are the gold standard.
I go for walks almost daily as a way to bring myself back to the present and remind myself that what's around me is actually really beautiful and I am exactly where I need to be in this moment. It allows me to get fresh air and clear my mind. Sometimes I'll listen to a podcast to get me back in alignment with my own passions and what makes me happy.
I know it can help even just taking a 20 minute walk to step away from whatever is causing you stress. Use this time to be present and see if you can find things you never noticed before each time you go for a walk.
2. Essential oils are essential.
Essential oils are extremely versatile, I swear you can use them for almost anything. In times of stress, my favorite is lavendar essential oil. Simply dab a few drops of lavender essential oil on your pulse points or diffuse on your pillow before bed. This oil is known for its amazing calming effects and I believe that it's also beneficial because it makes you take more deep breaths when taking in the scent. Deeper breathing calms the nervous sytem, which brings me to my next tip...
3. Get your OooMMMmm on.
Yes we all know meditation is amazing for us but it's the doing that is actually really diffuclt. Sometimes it even causes us more stress!
That's why I started using breathing techniques as a way to bring myself back to the present and give me something to focus on. Plus they actually stimulate parts of our nervous system and brain that help us relax even more.
One breath I like to use is called alternated nostril breathing. This one balances both the right and left hemispheres of the brain in addition to lowering the heart rate to relieve tension.
How to do it:
1. Sit in a comfortable postion either in a chair or on the ground.
2. Using the right thumb, close the right nostril and inhale through the left nostril then close with your right ring finger. Pause and then open right nostril exhaling.
3. With right nostril open, inhale then close with thumb. Pause and then release ring finger and exhale through left nostril.
4. Repeat step 2 and 3 five to ten times and then move into a meditation for several minutes.
You can do this morning/night or when you find yourself so tense that your breath becomes shallow.
Adaptogens. I had no idea what these magical medicinal mushrooms were until about a year ago. I'll definitely be doing a whole different post on these because they are game changers for my health and might be for yours too! But to sum up, an adapotegn is a medicinal mushroom or herb that helps reduce stress and bring your body back to homeostasis. Each herb/mushroom has more specific functions but the two I want to foucs on today is ashwangda and reishi.
According to mindbodygreen, ashwaganda is a popular ayurvedic herb that is used for recuding axniety and lowering cortisol levels (our stress hormone.) Reishi is another adaptogen that I like to have almost daily. When consumed, reishi can be a mood boosting, relieves anxiety and decrease depression.
To wind down at night I like to have a warming cocoa drink with these two adaptogens thrown in. It helps me calm down and I really can feel my tension start to decrease. It also creates a habitual ritual telling your body it's time to relax.
To make my calming elixir:
-1 tbsp. cocoa
-1 tsp ashwaganda
-1 tsp reishi
-1 cup almond milk or other dairy free milk
-1 tsp coconut sugar or 1 tsp honey for added sweetness
5. Move yo body!
Exercise, specifically yoga, has been a game changer when dealing with anxiety. It helps me bring myself back to my body and again use my breath to push past difficult moments both physically and mentally.
When I started doing more yoga, it wasn't really for the flexibility movements, it was more for my crippling anxiety. I started just doing a couple minutes morning/night or a couple movements after my workout. Days where I feel like nothing else seems to do the trick, you'll find me on the mat. Most likely doing corpse pose but hey it's still yoga! ;)
Try incorporating any kind of movement into your day, even if it's just a few simple strengthening moves or a morning run for 15 minutes. Just something to move your body and bring you back into alignment.
6. Get a brain dump journal.
Journaling has been my saving grace. It has helped me make breakthroughs in my life and face uncomfortable situations that were subconsciously causing me a lot of anxiety. There are days where I feel like I can't breathe with the amount of things I have to do or just feeling overwhelmed in general and I will put it all on the page. Once I write it down I feel like I released it and it's now in the hands of the greater good.
Try doing it before bed as a way to let go of all the built up tension from the day and release any worries. Sometimes you'll even find the answers to your worries and can start addressing the actual cause of anxiety.
7. Lighting is everything.
Bright lights can often be very stimulating to our nervous system, and in times of stress, that is the last thing we want. Dim the lights, light a few candles (bonus if they are naturally scented with lavender), and light up your Himalayan salt lamp.
A benefit of Himalayan salt lamps are that they help release negative ions into the air much like how it occurs in nature like by the ocean. Ever wonder why you might feel suddenly calm by the ocean? Plus, the calming orange glow of the lamp lights up the room making it feel extra zen.
8. Feel your stress melt away in a hot bath.
When we become stressed for long periods of time, our bodies begin to react physically. One of the signs are extremely tense upper back and neck muscles. A way I like to address this is making a hot bath with added Epsom salts with a few drops of essential oil. Either lavender or eucalyptus work heavenly.
It only takes 10-20 minutes to reap the benefits and again it brings you back to the present moment which is so so important for grounding ourselves.
9. Read more, stress less.
I will confess that I rarely watch TV and if I do it's probably a documentary lol. I always choose a book because it reduces screen time (something we get way too much of) and I don't have the blue light from technology stimulating my brain keeping me up.
I recommend this to anyone I'm working with or anyone who is constantly feeling anxious. It occupies our mind and by the time you finish reading a couple pages or a chapter, you might have started to already forget about the problem!
10. Digital detox.
This is huge. If you are going to follow any of these tips please do this one. I challenge you to go a day or even a couple hours not checking your social media. Why? Because comparison, FOMO (fear of missing out), and constant stimulus is so overwhelming and create ridiculous problems in our head. Going a couple hours without might remind you that there is a whole world outside your phone, one that you are supposed to be doing and enjoying life in. Drop the phone and make time for some of these other tips! I promise when you reduce screen time, you will find time to make other things a priority, like your health and well being. <3
That’s it for now, I hope you found this one helpful and eases your mind just a bit! Know that you are not alone, and again you are exactly where you need to be in this moment.