If there's a positive take away from the past couple of years, it's that we've seen that humans are highly resilient creatures. When you stop to think about it, you've probably had to adapt to more changes than you can count on one hand; in your workplace, home environment, your children's schooling, your health, your future goals, your social habits, even how you get your groceries, and somehow - been able to keep it all going!
As resilient as our minds and bodies are, constant upheaval and heavy mental workloads can be enormously stressful, so it's important to give yourself grace. Instead of making resolutions that will only add to your busy schedule, why not gift yourself a block of time for anxiety relieving daily rituals. This way, instead of falling into a cycle of unhealthier choices when you find yourself reaching for something just to get you through the rest of your day, you'll enjoy better moods, more energy and a calmer mindset. This is especially important when facing the type of long-term stressors that health experts agree can take the greatest toll on our health.
Did you know that these symptoms can all be related to stress and anxiety?
- hormone disruption
- weight gain
- disturbances to sleeping and eating patterns
- blood sugar swings
- changes in mental focus and alertness
Over time, unmanaged stress can even impact our immune systems, digestion, and cardiovascular health, or result in serious illness. But thankfully, there are a number of ways to tackle feelings of burnout and stress that can help address them at their root. From simple things like movement, deep breathing, sunlight, natural supplements and rest - the sooner you give yourself priority the better you’ll feel – both physically and mentally. Let's consider some of the most tried and true natural and anxiety relief strategies that can be implemented all at once or slowly over time to suit your needs.
TRY A NEW ANXIETY RELIEVING RITUAL:
- A Colourful Plate: During stressful periods, it’s so easy for bad dietary habits to slowly creep in. Whether it’s too many coffees, skipping meals or reaching for a cookie when your energy level drops in the afternoon, how well your mind and body are able to handle stress can be directly related to how well they are nourished. Try to keep a list of easy meals built around your favourite flavours and colourful produce, whether you enjoy Asian-inspired dishes, big salads, hearty soups or smoothie bowls. Stock your pantry with foods that quickly boost the nutrient levels of your meals, like hemp seeds, organic protein powders with greens, or a power-up mixer like Beets Me that you can add for instant colour and added nutrition.
- Daily Movement: Exercise is extremely beneficial for helping to relax the body and mind. Any aerobic activity is helpful – even during colder weather, a brisk walk around the block can help to let off some steam and reduce anxiety. Not to mention that if you can squeeze in a few minutes of exposure to sunlight before noon, you'll set yourself up for a better sleep that evening by calibrating your body's circadian rhythm. At the same time, look for an activity that’s recreational and fun that you’ll look forward to and that will help you get outside each day! On days where the weather doesn't allow it, try to fit in a stretching routine or an online exercise program that can be adapted to suit your schedule and lifestyle. Check out this post for a very simple circuit that you can do just about anywhere with a few hand weights and an exercise mat.
- Calm your mind with GABA: Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a natural calming agent that can be thought of as the “breaking system” of the brain. When we become overwhelmed with stress, the brain typically responds by producing more GABA - essentially, pumping the brakes on a mind that’s going too fast. GABA works by increasing the production of alpha brain waves (associated with a relaxed, yet alert state) and decreasing production of beta brain waves (associated with nervousness, scattered thoughts, and hyperactivity). Overall, this leads to enhanced mental focus and improved relaxation without drowsiness. GABA is available in chewable tablets that have been clinically proven to reduce stress, promote feelings of relaxation, and improve concentration. (Of course you should always check with your healthcare provider to make sure any supplements are right for you.)
- Breath work: Deep breathing circulates more oxygen throughout your body, which is the most immediate way to minimize the effects of stress. Take 5 minutes each day to practice abdominal breathing (check that you’re doing it correctly by expanding your belly as you inhale), and if you can, make time for deep breathing at points in your day when you really feel like you need a break.
Restful Sleep: By the end of a busy day, when your mind has been going full throttle, you may find yourself feeling laying in bed "tired but wired", making it almost impossible to drift off into a deep sleep. Just as you schedule your day time hours, you may find that the best way to break a bad sleep cycle is by scheduling enough time in the evening to first unwind with an activity that relaxes you and then planning for the number of hours rest you need each night to wake up feeling energized and restored.
If recent changes in your home or work routine is making restful sleep a challenge, you may want to try a natural formula that includes a combination of Melatonin, L-Theanine and 5HTP can helps you sleep more soundly without any groggy feeling the next day.
If you feel like stress is sneaking up on you lately - remember that natural relief is within reach. Whether you try just one of these strategies, or a combination of them all, a relatively small investment in your wellness can pay off with better moods, better mindset and even better physical and mental resilience.