This isn’t the first time I’ve written a candid post about my anxiety relief, and I’m almost certain that this won’t be the last. Anxiety is something that I’ve dealt with on and off for almost the entirety of my life. However about a year and a half ago now I decided that enough was enough, and I was going to take my life and my health into my own hands. I’ve since implemented a ton of different lifestyle changes, and I can’t begin to tell you how much of a difference they’ve made, both mentally and physically.
I think it’s pretty clear but just in case, I am most certainly not a doctor. If you’re experiencing anxiety in any kind I encourage you to seek professional help, and please don’t be afraid to ask for it. It’s so very common to suffer and there are so many tools available that can provide you with relief. This is simply what has worked for me, personally. And I share in hopes that it helps even just one person, even just for a moment.
If you’re just venturing out of the so called darkness and into a whole wellness/holistic journey, I definitely encourage you to start here. Those changes alone felt pretty massive for me at the time, but were ultimately a wonderful stepping stone into where I’ve now landed. The following are a few new tools that have helped me immensely since I wrote that last post just under a year ago now. Here are a few things I’ve been doing lately that have yielded the most incredible results…
Now I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not easy to slow down. Especially in a culture that demands instant, well, everything. But I think you’d be surprised at how much support and respect you’ll start getting once you start setting your boundaries, saying no, giving yourself realistic timelines, and being honest with your clients, colleagues, family and friends with how much you truly can and cannot take on. Slowing down is not easy, I know. But it has been one of the single most beneficial things I’ve done for my anxiety relief. My new favourite saying is “move at the pleasure of your soul”. And sometimes my soul simply wants to go at negative speed.
Whether that means meditating for 10 minutes before climbing out of bed, sitting on the couch and journalling with a hot tea, or sipping a smoothie in the sunshine with my pup in the backyard, this former anti-morning person has quickly hopped on the morning ritual bandwagon and, you guys, it’s changed everything. I now try to carve at least an hour to myself each morning (though, ideally, two). Sometimes that means waking up at the break of dawn, but that special, soulful, time each day is something I’ve come to look forward to more than just about anything else. We are how we start our day, and the ones in which don’t involve emails the moment I open my eyes are significantly less anxiety ridden, no question.
You may hate me for this one, and my former carbaholic-meets-sweets-addicted self would be baffled but, you guys, I’ve cut gluten and dairy out of my diet. I’ve also significantly reduced (slash basically eliminated) the amount of sugar, caffeine, and alcohol I consume. And while I feel like I may have just lost a number of you (trust me, I would have exited immediately had I stumbled upon this post three months ago) hear me out…
There is a ton of really interesting research that exists out there that links our gut health to our overall mental health. After making some serious dietary changes, and seeing almost instant results, it’s been my main topic of interest lately. From what I understand, if our gut isn’t performing at optimal levels, we’re physically unable to absorb the nutrients that we need to create those feel good chemicals required for happiness (like serotonin!)
I’m now convinced that everything from anxiety, to dandruff, to eczema, to acne, to digestive issues, to insomnia, to infertility, to thyroid dysfunction, to anxiety, to depression, and beyond very well could simply be your body’s way of trying to tell you that something isn’t quite right, and it’s up to us to dig deeper and listen. I’ve been working closely with a naturopath to restore my gut health (hence my new diet), and the benefits it has had overall has been absolutely undeniable for me.
While the sugar cravings still hit me occasionally, I don’t miss gluten or dairy at all, which has been so surprising (seriously – I used to LIVE off of pasta). Now that I’m well aware of how much better I feel without them, the natural desire to feel good seems to outweigh any cravings. It doesn’t hurt that there are also so many wonderful gluten and dairy free brands out there that have helped ensure I’m not lacking a thing.
Much like the research that links our gut health to our mental health, the research being done on meditation right now is fascinating. I’ve been told that you can literally change and restore neural pathways in your brain just with a few minutes of meditation each day. I flip flop between the Calm app and the Glo app myself, and 10 minutes each morning instantly starts my day off on the right foot, or quickly turns around one that isn’t so great.
Much like cleaning up my diet, I’ve also cleaned up our household products. This is one that I’ve been tackling slowly over the last six months or so as I’ve used everything old up. Household cleaners, laundry detergents, makeup, toothpaste, hand soap, shampoo and conditioner, you name it, it’s been given the boot in exchange for its non-toxic counterpart. Much like the diet component, when our bodies are overloaded with chemicals and endocrine (hormone) disruptors (which are in so many household items), it’s not uncommon for our mental health to suffer too.
I’ve since found a ton of amazing products at various price points that we’ve been loving and I’d be happy to share if that’s something you’d be interested in.
I hope you find this helpful. I’d also love to know – do you suffer from anxiety? What tools do you have in your arsenal to help overcome it? I’m on a massive wellness journey right now, if it isn’t obvious, and would love to hear!
I also want to finish off by saying that I also believe there is a big misconception that a lot of us suffer from where we feel that if we aren’t happy 100% of the time, something must be wrong. And even though, today, I am lightyears farther ahead from where I first began, I most definitely still experience anxiety on occasion and know that I’ll likely have to keep my finger on it forever. But bad days (or weeks, if you’re really in the trenches of life!) are simply a side effect of being human. Some days are better than others, and that’s perfectly okay. The biggest thing I’ve noticed since implementing these pretty massive lifestyle changes is that my bad days are significantly fewer and farther between, and they don’t last nearly as long as they used to. I bounce back incredibly quickly now and for that I’m forever grateful.
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