Little Things You Can Do To Unplug

21 Ways you can Reduce Anxiety in Your Life

When anxiety has taken a hold, grasping onto something simple to help you out of that space and to recalibrate, can be immensely helpful.

Whether it's in the form of a ritual that supports your balance on a daily basis, or an emergency exit strategy, the key really,  is in having a few tricks to keep up your sleeve that are both super-easy and totally (fail-safe) doable. 

What are some small, key things you could do to throw yourself a lifeline next time you're heading out to sea in the rip of an anxiety tide?

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Putting together a little list for yourself of the kind of things that you feel could work for you, can be useful. Because when anxiety has taken charge it can be incredibly difficult to access that clear, wise, creative part of our brain that would otherwise be really helpful in that situation.

 In the list below, you'll find 21 simple ways you can reduce anxiety in your life. I encourage you to pick and choose whatever personally feels good and resonates with you. And perhaps even to have a think and see what other kinds of things might help you re-set next time you're feeling anxious and strung-out.

1. B-R-E-A-T-H-E. Just breathe... Bringing your awareness to the breath, drawing your inhalation in through your nose, into your chest, and down into your navel (imagine filling up a balloon in your belly) interrupts the stress response, and sends ripples of instant calm throughout your nervous system! 

 2.  Practice Acceptance, and just.. Letting go. Of whatever you can, whenever you can... Even if it just means letting go of a particular stressful thought, for even only a minute... It still counts!

Resisting what IS in our lives creates a physiological stress response in our bodies. It's like when the river (that is, life) is flowing one way, and we are busy busting our chops, trying to swim upstream against the tide, or clinging to the riverbank; but if we can learn to just let go a little, find acceptance in what is (our feelings, the situation...), there's an almost-instant relief to be found in just that shift, alone. We can then stop struggling, and deal with what's on our plate from a different, calmer space.

3. Nourish your nervous system and adrenal's with wholesome food choices. Top up on your dark leafy greens, healthy fats, quality protein sources (a steak of oily fish or bowl of dahl, for example), and root veggies, which have a grounding effect. Also, take care to chew your food well.

4. Prioritise. When things seem overwhelming, take a minute to (re)consider what is most important and at the very top of your agenda, and focus on just doing that...

 5. Be in Nature. Even if just for 5 minutes. Get outside, be in the elements, and bring awareness to all of your senses. Feel the sunshine or the fresh, crisp air on your skin; notice the colour of the sky or the shapes in the clouds; listen to the sound of birds singing or acorns crunching underneath your feet. Let your eyes soak up all the green they possibly can.

 6. Nip it in the bud. If there's something worrying you, and you can’t put your finger on it, pop your creative and strategic hats on, identify the issue, and do whatever is in your power right now to send it packing.

7. Ground yourself. Go and be in the garden; pull out a few weeds, plant something new; or simply take off your shoes and sit on the grass for a while. It's hard to stay too anxious in this space.

8. Tune in. Take your awareness past all the frenzy, and feel the sensations in your heart, throat and solar plexus regions... Can you feel tightness, knots, churning, butterflies, sinking, pulling...? What sensations do you get in these physical centres, when you're feeling anxious? Just bringing awareness to it can be enough to help the energy to dissipate and clear.

9. Listen up. Play some feel-good tunes or listen to a guided meditation, and let them help you to feel better.

10. Get physical. Discharge anxiety physically and get your feel-good endorphins flowing. Try walking, riding, jogging, rowing, swimming, lifting weights, dancing, stretching, yoga, pilates, kick-boxing, however  you like to get your body moving.

11. Tea time. Have a cup of herbal tea. Chamomile, Passionflower, Valerian and Hops are all great for calming and relaxing the nervous system. 

12. Burn or vaporise some soothing, uplifting essential oils such as Lavender and Peppermint, Sandalwood or Bergamot. They have the power to benefit your emotions by directly stimulating the limbic system.

13. Bring your creativity into play. Whether it's in a colouring book, painting, playing with kinetic sand, crochet, losing time on Pinterest, cooking up a storm… What gets your creative juices flowing? Being in the "flow" + engaging your creativity are two major anxiety busters!

14. Take time out. Book a holiday, a weekend away, or even just go on a day trip. Make an opportunity to get out of your usual surrounds, head to the beach, the mountains, the snow, the country or another city; maybe even abroad!

15. Light candles and have a bath (even just a foot bath!). Add a bunch of Epsom salts, and a few drops of your favourite essential oil/s. Tea, book, and music all optional.

16. Choose your thoughts. Take note of the quality of your thoughts/self-talk. Are they helpful? Supportive? Insightful? Critical and judgemental? Irrational? 

17. Detach from expectations and outcomes. When we can bring our attention to the present, and relax our minds from particular expectations and outcomes, we can also take a detour from the anxiety and pressure we might have been inadvertently placing on ourselves. 

18. Have an early night. Give yourself one of the best gifts of all: An Early Night... Giving your body adequate time to rest and restore at night is a vital part of re-setting the nervous system and encouraging greater resilience (ability to tuck & roll, bend with the wind and bounce back easily). And sometimes just “sleeping on it” really does help.

19. Blow it all off. When it all gets too much and life feels like it's getting on top of you, take a more radical approach to the whole situation; if you need to, take the day off or give yourself an early mark, but take some time out to abandon responsibility and do something that sweetens the deal for you and helps you take your mind of things for a while... 

20. Hugs and laughs whether it's a dog, a cat, a human, a gift or your favourite funny movie/TV series. Hugs and laughs are real, good medicine. 

21. See your Naturopath to have a chat and get some much-deserved wellness support.

I encourage you to pick and choose whatever personally feels good and resonates with you. And perhaps even to have a think and see what other kinds of things might help you re-set next time you're feeling anxious and strung-out.

 Shanna

TIME TO RELAX

Relaxation. It’s something most of us realise we need to do more of, yet while we’re well aware of this, it’s amazing how few of us are actually succeeding in taking real time for ourselves to properly unwind.

Relaxation is extremely beneficial for rebalancing your immune system, and clearing and strengthening your mind and body. And, for those of us who are struggling with conception, relaxation is even more important.

Most would admit that taking the time to rest properly really isn’t something that we tend make the time for (we’re too busy to fit it in!). And, when questions surrounding fertility are thrown in with the already chaotic manner in which life tends to move these days, things can get a little crazy…

A common reaction is to continue to feed off of and buy into that busyness. We bury ourselves in a whirlwind of madness, and become consumed by activities because we’re not sure what to do with our spare time, or what thoughts might pop up as a result.

If you’re nodding your head right now, or can admit to yourself that it’s probably time for you or your partner to slow down, or that this is something you’ve been trying to avoid, read on…
As we mentioned, relaxation is actually quite valuable to those of us trying to conceive. We’ve written a blog previously on the effects that stress can have on fertility (click here for full article), but since then, we’ve realised something…

We think we’ve worked out why it is that so many people don’t, or won’t relax!
You see, although people know they should relax, few of us actually no how to. And so, here are some useful exercises you can do to unwind, and let yourself go a little…

 

Breathe…

  • Focusing on your breath is one of the simplest, yet most effective techniques for relaxation, and is something that can be practiced anywhere.    
  • Close your eyes
  • Take slow, deep breaths through your nose, counting in your mind1-2-3-4, as you do     
  • Pause, before exhaling through your mouth, counting mentally 4-3-2-1, pause and repeat
  • After a few minutes you may wish to move your focus from counting to breathing in peace and calm, and breathing out tension and anxiety

 

Body Scan

  • This is something you can do in conjunction with the above breathing exercise if you wish to reach a deeper level of relaxation.
  • After focusing on your breathing for several minutes, turn your attention to breathing out tension from particular areas of your body.
  • Starting with your forehead, concentrate on the area, recognising that there may be tension or negative energy built up in this area. Release this tension with five deep, slow breaths.
  • Move gradually down your body to your eyes, cheeks, throat, shoulders, and so on, repeating the process at each stage until you reach the soles of your feet, feeling your belly expand and retract with each stage of breath.
  • A good tip is to imagine your breath as a wave in a rising tide, with each exhale reaching a little further down your body as you let it out.

 

Mindfulness And Positive Accomplishment

One of the best ways to relax is to do something nice for yourself. It might be taking yourself for a gentle walk, eating one piece of your favourite chocolate, or even getting someone else to do the pampering for you, like when you take yourself off for a massage – the options really are endless – the only trick is that it can’t be something you’ll feel guilty about later! We’re trying to promote positivity here!

The key really is two things: mindfulness, and positive accomplishment.

The first part, mindfulness, is the practice of focusing fully on what it is you are doing or experiencing. So, for example, if you’re going for that piece of chocolate, pay attention to every piece of detail – the colour of the outer packaging, the sound that’s made when you open the wrapping, how it smells, how it feels between your fingers; its texture, the different swirls of flavour, its creaminess, the way it melts.

You see, this practice, whether it’s focusing on that delicious chocolate, taking in the beauty and sounds surrounding you as you stroll down the road, or experiencing sensations like touch and warmth, and smell from a massage or spa treatment enables you to focus completely on the present and appreciate every aspect of what you are doing or experiencing, without allowing space for other thoughts to creep in.  (If they do, acknowledge them, and let them pass).

The second part of this technique is easy, as it comes automatically after the first! Once you have taken the time to focus on your chosen activity, spend a moment recognising how good you now feel. Recognise that you’ve taken the time out to do something that has made you feel good, inside and out. You’ll feel a huge sense of achievement which is great for your head and heart! (And your body has benefited too!)

We hope that this has been beneficial, and that it inspires you to treat yourself to something that feels good! (After all, you deserve it!)

We really do encourage you to try the above techniques, or to book in for a Spa Treatment or find another pampering activity. 

Until next time, live well everyone! And remember to breathe…