Anxiety and depression are not a fun topic to talk about but many of us struggle with symptoms of these every day. Whether it comes from unexpected, extreme circumstances that come into our lives, clinically, or from being over-stressed with our everyday lives it can get in the way of what we want to obtain out of life. Anxiety and depression can leave us feeling exhausted and unmotivated and not so sunny. It can be a real struggle just to have a normal day. I used to think that the only way to get rid of it was to go see a doctor and get medication – I think in the past many of us were conditioned that this was the only way to treat it. That’s not the case though. (*disclaimer – in some cases that may be the best option but it is not the only option. Always speak with your health care provider for the best options for you). This past year was a very stressful year for me. I was faced with many unexpected challenges, changes, and stressors. Earlier this month I shared a little bit in my post The Beginning of My Fight with Fear & Anxiety, about how I had found myself filled with anxiety and how it was making me feel trapped. For the past month, I have been focused on finding myself again and pulling myself back into the light. It has been a month full of positive changes and I am feeling more and more free each day. I have brought many practices back into my life that I had let slide over the crazy summer months and I have added some new routines to my week as well. I feel much stronger today than I did just four weeks ago. I did this, though, by putting myself back into full focus. Self-care is the ultimate tool in all forms.
12 Ways to De-Flate Anxiety Naturally
1.) Journaling – Writing in a journal has proven many times to be a way to relieve and help process stagnant emotions sitting in our mind. This acts as a great form of therapy. Try and write every day, even if it’s just a few sentences. The more consistent you are, the better you’ll get at letting go and writing what’s stuck in your mind.
2.) Focus on your goals – When I started focusing back on my blogging and the launch of my business I started feeling more confident and more secure in my life again. It helped me feel more purposeful and I was excited about my progress which motivated me to keep at it. I took some time to make a list of what I wanted to accomplish by the end of the year and then set up a plan to reach it. This helped me set benchmarks so that I can see my progress each week as I go, helping me see the positive changes I was making each week.
3.) Eat well – When you fuel your body well you’ll have more energy to take on the world. Some foods have shown in studies to have properties to help lessen anxiety and improve stress management such as black walnuts, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds.
4.) Meditate – Practicing meditation every day is a great way to clear your mind and to relax. I find it helpful to start each day with a quick meditation and then end my day with a longer, mindfulness practice. This allows me to focus on letting thoughts flow through rather than dwelling on them circling in my mind.
5.) Exercise – I started working out at least three times a week. This is such a strong stress reliever for me. Not only does it help me strengthen my body but it also helps strengthen my mind. I feel like I have more energy and am more motivated for each day. I joined a personal training program and put a few goals, like running a half marathon in April and a 10 miler in June, on the calendar to help hold me accountable. I also find that partnering up with friends has been an amazing way to keep going (and bonus I get that BFF time that I needed too!). My training program routine includes a good mix of running, weight training, and Yoga. This gives me a good all around work out routine and keeps it interesting for me.
6.) Soul Strengthening Daily Affirmations – It may seem like these are just words at first but reciting daily affirmations help you reshape your thoughts and your mind to see the world and yourself in a more positive light. If you retrain your mind to believe that you are strong, then you will be strong. I surround myself with daily affirmations and inspirational quotes. I post them on my wall behind my bed so I see them every morning, I stick post-it notes on my mirror in my bathroom, I receive #truthbombs from Danielle LaPorte in my inbox every day, and I post inspirational messages on my screensaver on my computer. Maybe it’s my love language being my ‘words of affirmation’ but I can’t get enough of them.
7.) Get enough sleep – This I struggle with a bit. I have quite a racing mind, filled with thoughts from the day, over-analyzing every situation of the day, and lots of ideas for new creations flowing in. I made it a focus to work on shutting it down so that I can get better rest. Without good rest, my emotions can seem heightened and I can find it hard to manage stress throughout the day. I have been setting my bed time earlier and scheduling in wind down time before. This gives me time to slow down for the night.
8.) Find a hobby to love – For me this is painting. I have always loved painting but I’ve been working on making more time for it. I can escape from the world when I paint. It gives me time to just be me and to recharge. The more I let go in this process, the more free I feel and the more beautiful my art is when I emerge.
9.) Natural Supplements – I’ve used melatonin to aid in sleep but many of these were new to me. Some other supplements to try are Passionflower and St John’s Wort (*Always check with your medical provider before trying supplements). Studies have shown that Passionflower helps to improve sleep quality and in managing stress and anxiety. St John’s Wort has been shown to act as a natural anti-depressant.
10.) Talk it out with your BFFs – Sometimes a good night out with my pals is the perfect way to blow off some steam. I’m known to hermit up when I get stressed and bogged down in life but that can leave me feeling isolated sometimes so I’ve been working on planning more activities to get out and do with my friends, spending some down time with them to vent out what’s on my mind, soaking in some of their positive words and advice. Whether it’s taking a power walk on the rail trail, enjoying a glass of wine over dinner, or joining in on a local ghost stories walk in town I’ve been making sure to get some time on my calendar each week for some quality friendship time.
11.) Make time for more mindfulness and gratitude in your day – I’ve added to my routine some mindfulness time each day. I sit down with a cup of hot tea and take some deep breaths and just listen, look and observe and think of what I am grateful for having in my life. These simple moments have provided me space and time to “just be”, this is my “no worries” time that I reserve for myself each day.
12.) Counseling – I find this a safe place for me to go to for help organizing my thoughts. I am also discovering a lot about myself through this process. I am able to approach my thoughts from an intellectual and creative stand point without judgement which helps me see them in a new way, in a clearer way. Starting counseling can be scary at first, going to talk about your innermost feelings and thoughts with someone you don’t know. I set my expectations up front of what I wanted to obtain in my sessions and that I wanted to complete therapy without medications. This set the standard for my treatment and helped me feel more comfortable.
It’s important to be honest and patient with yourself through this process. Everyone needs a little something different. These are some ways that helped me get started on my journey of healing.