I’m not a doctor; these are just my personal experiences. Use your noggin. Talk to your doctor and all that jazz.
The tagline for TheBamBlog is Real. Life. Storytelling. Well, there’s not much storytelling in today’s post, which is unusual for me. However, dealing with Anxiety on a daily basis is my REAL LIFE and I know that I am not alone in this so I thought I would write a super practical post about what helps me manage my anxiety.
First, a definition. By anxiety, I mean Chronic Anxiety, not “I’m feeling anxious about a job interview.” For me, Anxiety feels like constant internal tension, like an iron hand is squeezing my gut. I feel edgy and strung tight—one little ping can take me from “I’m doing okay!” to “I AM NOT OKAY!”
I am often quick to get angry, snapping at my loved ones (anxiety often manifests itself as anger). When it’s really bad, I feel completely overwhelmed, am brought easily to tears, and have a hard time remembering things or doing daily tasks. Sometimes I get so exhausted that I have to lay down for an hour…or all day.
Since my youngest son was born 3 years ago, I have been dealing with anxiety and depression (the kissing cousin of anxiety!) for both physiological reasons (sleep deprivation, hormones out of whack, etc.) and situational reasons (receiving Autism/ADHD/Learning disability diagnosis for my twins, parenting 4 boys, huge life changes like joining military life and moving, etc.).
I’ve learned a lot about trying to help myself be healthier both physically and mentally over the last year and I’ve found several natural resources that work well in dealing with my Anxiety.
Here are 7 things that I have found that really help me manage my anxiety:
1. Address My Triggers
One of my anxiety triggers is a messy house. The other morning, I got up and had a freak-out because the living room was a disaster and there were dishes piled in the sink. That crappy beginning affected my whole day.
But I talked to my family about it and we spent that evening cleaning the kitchen and picking up the living room so that in the morning, the house looked visually peaceful. Having a peaceful environment goes a long way in managing my inner anxiety.
Other triggers? Too much caffeine (I only have a 6oz cup of full-caff coffee a day) and waiting too long to eat (hangry is REAL, ya’ll!)
2. Essential Oils
I am not an essential oils guru and I don’t sing their praises from the rooftops. However, I do have a diffuser and I enjoy using lavender oil or a blend called Calming the Child (ha! Or Calming the Mom). It’s not magic but it helps create a more peaceful environment in our home. It’s a good first step when I am feeling really edgy and want to do something practical to help myself.
Over the years I have discovered, through research and personal experience, that certain supplements help my anxiety quite a bit. I take Magnesium, Vit D, and Omega3 on a daily basis. When I don’t take them, I can definitely tell a difference.
Magnesium helps relieve muscular tension (I take it before bed); Vitamin D helps to regulate mood and can elevate energy levels, especially in the winter when you can’t get out in the sun; and Omega3 is good for overall brain health. I’m using Flax Seed Omega3 right now but Fish Oil is really good too.
L-Theanine is another supplement I take, but not on a daily basis. I take it when I need to CALM THE **** DOWN. It is derived from Green Tea and is completely natural. It works very well and I can definitely tell a difference in about 15-20 minutes after taking it. It is really affordable from this website but I have found it at health food stores and even at Walgreens too.
5. CBD Oil
Trying CBD oil is probably the crunchiest thing I have ever done. CBD oil is from the Hemp Plant (…aka marijuana). I did a ton of research on CBD for a few YEARS before I ever bought any. I got it from Amazon (BTW: it is legal in all 50 states).
CBD oil does NOT contain THC, which is the chemical compound that gets you “high” when smoking weed. CBD oil is non-habit forming, meaning your body won’t crave it after it wears off.
For me, it works kind of like the L-theanine. It has a definite calming effect about 10-15 minutes after taking it and lasts for several hours. While it does work to ease anxiety, it is really expensive (and I bought a cheap bottle!)
I have never been a huge fan of exercise but of course, exercise is one of the #1 things to do if you have anxiety. I have discovered that I really like yoga and one of the benefits of practicing regular yoga is anxiety relief. Win win, hmm? I really enjoy Yoga with Andriene on YouTube. She even has some specific videos devoted to relieving anxiety, though for me, I experience benefit from any yoga practice.
7. Epsom Salts
If I am feeling particularly anxious at night, or if I am having a hard time falling asleep due to being tense, or because my mind is racing, I take an Epsom salt bath. ½-1 cup of salt per hot bath works wonders for relaxing before bed. Adding a drop or two of lavender essential oil is wonderful too!
In 2017, I took some huge steps to address my depression and anxiety, including counseling and 9 months of prescription anti-depressants. Right now, these 7 things are working for me to help me manage my anxiety (and depression) naturally. In the future, who knows? I may need prescription meds again, counseling, or whatever. Stiving for mental and physical health is a life-long endeavor!
I’d love hear what helps you! Do you suffer from anxiety? What natural solutions (or medications!) work for you?