If your anxiety levels were not elevated during this unprecedented time, it would be pretty amazing.
While we can’t control the world around us, and the news is conflicting and terrifying, there are a few things we can do to keep our bodies and minds on as even keel as possible. Whether you have loads of extra time on your hands, or just a few minutes, we think it is worth it to upgrade your self-care routine into a self-optimization routine. Just think how much more productive, easier to be with, and happier you would be if you could get 10% better each week, by lowering your anxiety, and upping your health. These are the 7 quickest and most important things we could think of to get you started. We promise if you do most of these, you will see at least a 10% improvement each week!
Though it may be tempting to give in to your cravings for comfort food (read: junk food), ultimately this will not help. Your body doesn’t function well when you are feeding it a SAD diet (Standard American Diet). Reach for healthy, whole foods, such as those found in the Mediterranean diet, it has been found to be associated with lowered levels of anxiety. You may have more time for cooking at home now that you aren’t commuting, so use this time to care for yourself and your family by choosing wisely. You can add supplements to your diet such as rhodiola, ashwaganda, valerian root, and CBD which are adaptogens, meaning they help your body adapt to and regulate stress.
One of the key properties of CBD is its ability to help regulate stress and anxiety. Numerous studies have found that CBD is highly effective for generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder. CBD works within the endocannabinoid system and with Serotonin receptors to decrease feelings of anxiety. We recommend taking 15-25 mg of CBD daily in the form of a softgel or tincture which can significantly help balance your anxiety levels. Softgels will take a little longer to onset, but will last longer, while tinctures will onset quickly, but not last as long. Tinctures can be used through out the day as well as before bed. Other suggestions are taking a bath with luxurious bath salts, or treating yourself to a face massage with this indulgent and restorative face oil.
GET EXERCISE / BE IN NATURE
Clinical evidence exists that exercise, especially high impact exercise, can help lessen the effects of generalized anxiety. We suggest gaining additional benefits by taking your workout out into nature, where you can get the benefits of being outside along with the exercise effects. Just being in nature can help on its own. Sit outside, close your eyes, and let all of your senses tune in to what is around you. What do you hear? Smell? Feel? Think about the long, long, and calm story of a tree. Feel sunshine on your face. Breathe. There is no goal here, just BE.
Science has shown that mindfulness meditation has been found to help regulate anxiety, but scientists are not totally sure how. What we know is that meditation has been used for thousands of years to help calm the mind, and help us connect to our inner calm. Don’t make this a huge, overwhelming goal, you can literally start mindful mediation this moment. Just close your eyes, tune into your breathing, and notice the sounds around you. If a thought creeps in, just let it pass by and tune back into breathing. Start with 5 min. a day, maybe just when you wake up, or right before you to sleep. We love some of the meditation apps such as Headspace, or Waking Up.
CREATE A SOOTHING ACTIVITIES LIST
Chances are you have many activities that soothe you, but sometimes it is hard to remember them when you are filled with anxiety. Start a “soothing activities list” and make note of whatever it is that makes you feel calm. Some examples are: a scent that soothes you, prayer, writing down your fears, taking a long walk, sitting in nature, gardening, listening to certain music, giving yourself a hand massage with essential oils, or talking to a friend. When you feel anxious, get out your list, and choose one of the activities. If it doesn’t help, choose another. Be sure to tune into to how you feel. Knowing that you control your own anxiety level makes you feel powerful, and yes, most likely, less anxious.
CONTROL YOUR MORNING
Believe it or not, your morning can set the tone for your whole day. Read more about the 6 things you can do to set up your day right, and control anxiety right at the source.
CONNECT / DISCONNECT
Connection with others is key to our well being. If you are in close quarters with those you love, but maybe have forgotten how much you love them, remind yourself how lucky you are to be together. If you are far from those you love, fire up FaceTime or Zoom, and beam their sweet faces into your living room. It will make your day, and bring your stress level down. Add to your ability to focus on what is around you by disconnecting – from social media and the news. This will be hard at first, and your addiction instinct will draw you back, but set a goad for how long you will stay away from your phone (or your computer). Maybe it is only a few hours to start, but gradually increase until you are able to disconnect for 12 hours at a time.