Since writing this post about my recent struggles with anxiety I’ve had many people email and message me suggesting different things to try that might help. I am always open to suggestions and have tried many different things over the years and will continue to do so. I am not anti-medication and I do believe that for some people, this is needed. For me, I knew a couple of months ago that I was in need of something more. I was struggling with everyday life, struggling to leave the house and that just wasn’t ok. So I went to my GP, we discussed it and I am now on some new medication. It is helping but that doesn’t mean I have stopped working on natural ways to manage it. I guess I just want to be really open about the fact that I am taking medication because I’m not ashamed about it and I don’t ever want anyone else to be either. The only thing I will say is that if you do ever decide to take medication (for anything really) is it important that this is done in partnership, and under the close supervision, of a trusted doctor. It is important to understand what you are taking, why you are taking it and the risks associated. Always follow the dosage your doctor prescribes and never start or stop without first seeking medical advice.
Ok, enough about that, what I really wanted to share with you today is some other things that I have tried over the years to help manage my anxiety. Some have worked, some haven’t. But I share them here today in the hope that if you suffer from anxiety, maybe they might just help you! Please remember, I am not a doctor or an expert, I am just somebody who has lived with anxiety for many years and am still figuring it for myself.
Research and understanding: Over the years I have done a lot of research on anxiety. I’ve found the more I understand it, the less afraid of it I become and the more confident I feel in managing it. My favourite book of all time on the subject is Power Over Panic by Bronwyn Fox. It’s an easy, relatable and informative book that I had reread a number of times. There is also a companion book called Working Through Panic. I would highly recommend both. My advice is to stay away from Dr Google; the internet can often be unreliable and overwhelming but you can try asking your doctor their suggestions for helpful websites and online resources. My GP recently gave me a list of websites which provide information and free courses for people experiencing anxiety that you may like to check out:
Counselling: I have been to counselling on and off for several years and I am not ashamed to admit that. Personally, I think everyone can benefit from counselling. When it comes to managing anxiety, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is highly recommended. This type of therapy helps to unlock and challenge the negative thoughts you may have that are causing your anxiety. At the end of the day I really think talking helps and having the guidance of a professional who understands anxiety can be life changing. It’s really important to find a counsellor that you feel comfortable with so don’t be afraid to try a few different ones (I have!) until you find one that you really like.
Meditation and mindfulness: I know this can be so helpful in managaing anxiety. I also know I’m slack and just don’t practice it enough…but I really need to start to make it more of a priority. Learning how to breath properly, slow down your breathing, be present, be aware of your thoughts and learn to stay in the moment is key to combating anxiety and it’s all learnt through meditation and mindfulness. There are some great free apps and podcasts out there that provide guided meditations that you can listen to and do anywhere. My current favourites are Calm, Smiling Mind, and The Meditation Podcast.
Get healthy: You need to look after yourself. It’s as simple (and as hard) as that. This is something I am constantly working on. Healthy body equals healthy mind! You need to eat right, exercise regularly and get enough sleep. I always find my anxiety is worse when I’m tired. Get outside, enjoy some fresh air and sunshine..I find that always helps.
Herbs and Tea: A few months ago I visited a Naturopath and was given some herbal supplements (in tablet form) to take. Apparently turmeric is very good for anxiety. For me, I didn’t find it made a big difference but my anxiety was really quite high by that point so maybe if I had gone earlier it may have helped to prevent me getting to that point. I’ve also been drinking herbal tea before bed each night to help me sleep. I’ve been using Sleepy Soul from Love Tease.
Crystals: Some people might think it’s a load of hippy crap; me? Well I’m willing to try anything and figure it can’t do any harm so why not! I recently purchased some crystals and often carry them with me. I’ve been told the best place to put them is inside your bra. For a list of crystals that are believed to help anxiety see HERE.
Oils: Many people swear by the healing powers of oils…and they sure do smell nice! My favourite calming scent is lavender. I burn it in a diffuser every night before bed and also carry a vile of it to sniff and dab onto my pulse points if I’m feeling anxious. I’m told Doterra is the place to go for essential oils.
So that’s a few of the things I use to manage my anxiety. Have you tried any of these? Do you have any other suggestions?