I’ve written extensively about my battle with anxiety on this site. If you’d like to read my various articles on the topic, you can do so here.
To sum it up, I had a traumatic childhood, a crazy parent, was homeless by 19, had really terrible relationships, then somehow got it together, married my husband and now I’m crazy happy. But the reality is that despite the fact that my life is infinitely better than it was, better than I ever could’ve imagined it or even expected for myself, I still battle with anxiety. It’s a struggle I’ve improved greatly, but have yet to 100% overcome.
So here are some things I do every day to keep my anxiety at bay. They make a huge difference and really help me, so hopefully, you can use some of these as tools to help you too. Please note that I am not a doctor or medical professional, this advice is not meant to be used as a treatment or a replacement for professional medical advice.
EVERY MORNING/THROUGHOUT THE DAY
Every morning I wake up and go through my usual routine of getting ready for the day. Even if you work from home like I do, I highly recommend using at least a little bit of makeup (healthy, non-toxic makeup, of course, I use this brand) and putting on cute clothes. Even if those clothes are just cute workout gear. I truly think that taking care of yourself, making yourself look presentable and feel good about your appearance is a huge stress reliever. It makes you feel better throughout the day. Think about it – you’re going to feel better in cute clothes than you are in sweats. I don’t always do this, and I always feel worse on days that I don’t.
After getting ready, I add a swipe of Cheer Up essential oil blend to each foot. This ensures that the essential oils reach my bloodstream quickly. The largest pores in the body are actually on the bottom of the feet, so applying the oils here ensures they enter the bloodstream within twenty seconds.
These oils are specifically for maintaining a balanced mood throughout the day. Whether I’m stressed, frustrated, irritated, whatever – these oils help mitigate those effects. I also keep the Cheer Up blend in my purse throughout the day for two reasons:
- it smells amazing.
- Sometimes you’re having a bad day and just need to reapply.
I never have anxiety during the day, only at night. So if you experience it during the day, you may need to use the relaxation blend (I’ll get to how I use that later).
Because I don’t eat breakfast until about 11 am, I also take a tbsp of coconut oil and wash it down with water with the juice of half a lemon squeezed in. You may be wondering why the hell this matters for anxiety. What’s happening in the gut is happening in the brain. If your gut is out of whack, that will literally affect your brain.
The coconut oil is a healthy fat (needed for proper brain function) that is also antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal. This makes it amazing for gut health. The lemon water improves digestion and detoxifies the liver, which is the main detoxifying organ. Without it, we’d be walking cesspools of toxic waste – and that ain’t good for anyone’s brain.
I make sure to eat a healthy breakfast and lunch loaded with nutrients and healthy fats. This keeps my mood up and feeds my brain. I take my multivitamin and cod liver oil with either breakfast or lunch (depending on which I forget to take them with, I sometimes take them along with dinner). Here are foods I never eat:
- vegetable oils
- refined sugar
- high fructose corn syrup
- food additives
Here are foods I make sure to eat daily:
- eggs (the yolk is the healthiest part!)
- leafy greens
- wild seafood and/or grass-fed beef
- kefir and/or yogurt
- fermented foods like pickles, sauerkraut, salsa
- a whole avocado
At night I take a probiotic. The supplements I take should not be used as personal recommendations for you. Discuss with your doctor. Get blood work to see which vitamin or mineral you may be lacking in and adjust accordingly.
I am always in a better mood on days I work out. My two favorite workouts are yoga and this weight lifting class I go to at my gym that also incorporates HIIT. It’s amazing. Yoga helps my breath and I just find it incredibly relaxing. Even if you don’t have a gym membership, you can find a ton of great yoga, weightlifting and HIIT workouts for free on YouTube! Just do it. You’ll feel better.
Personally, I know it’s much easier for me to sleep, relax and wind down if I’ve worked out that day.
Around the time it starts to get dark, I’ll usually make myself a cup of chamomile lavender tea with a scoop of collagen. I stop working at 6 pm every night. Okay, I try to. I really focus on just lounging around the house, chatting with my husband and chilling out.
This time is usually when I start dinner. I find it very stress relieving. Learn to love cooking!
Around 8 pm, I make myself another cup of chamomile lavender tea. It’s not only soothing to the nervous system but also the digestive system, so it’s great to sip after dinner and before bed. I find it very calming.
Around 10 pm my husband and I get in bed and either read or watch TV (I do not recommend watching TV before bed! It keeps you up and mimics sunlight – not good for anxiety; I’m working on it). Reading is definitely the best way to wind down before bed. And sex. Sex is definitely stress relieving, so getting laid helps (I’m serious!).
We usually go to sleep around 11 pm. Bedtime is when my anxiety usually acts up. It’s the time I’m trying to relax and shut my brain off, which seems to be the same time my brain likes to run rampant with horrible thoughts. It’s not fun. To mitigate this, I apply this relaxation essential oil blend to each foot, this way it’s immediately in my bloodstream and helping calm me before bed. I also hold a bit under my nose and usually swipe some on my pillow so I can smell it as well. It smells amazing and is deeply relaxing. Essential oils stimulate the limbic part of the brain, which controls blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, memory and stress levels. No wonder essential oils are so great for anxiety!
I also use magnesium lotion at bedtime. Majority of people are deficient in magnesium and this leads to and exacerbates symptoms of anxiety, depression, and insomnia. It’s difficult to obtain adequate amounts of magnesium, even with a well-balanced diet. So I supplement. I highly recommend using a transdermal magnesium lotion, which absorbs through the skin. This is because magnesium supplements are poorly digested and utilized.
Or I’ll take a detox bath that includes one cup of Epsom salt, one cup of bentonite clay and a few drops of lavender. The Epsom salt provides a dose of magnesium, while the lavender is relaxing and the bentonite clay aids in detoxification. I do this about 1-2 times a week and on days when I take a detox bath, I do not use the magnesium lotion.
IF I CAN’T SLEEP/SERIOUS FREAK OUTS
Sometimes my mind just will not turn off and I can’t sleep. I mean laying there for at least 2-3 hours and cannot sleep at all. One night I was awake until my husband’s alarm clock went off at 5:15. It was awful, I was anxious and felt terrible all night, and subsequently the next day. For situations like this, or if I’m entering full-blown panic attack mode, I have taken valerian root. I don’t always do this, in fact, I’ve only done it a few times. I like to handle my problems without having to take a pill, even if that pill is a simple herb. But it’s really great for sleep and just feeling relaxed. I’m not saying use this as a medication for your anxiety or take it regularly, but again, it may be something to discuss with your doctor.
These are the things that work for me. They’re not personal recommendations for you, but some of these may be options you’d like to discuss with your doctor or naturopath (I recommend finding a good naturopath in your area). Doing all of these steps, especially on a regular basis really helps alleviate my anxiety. It also just makes me a happier person. I love practicing self-love and taking care of my body. It definitely improves mood and quality of life, try it!