This post was inspired by a dear patient and friend who asked if the only way to relieve anxiety was medication or alcohol? Well, you can imagine all that was going through my head when she mentioned those two choices. The obvious answer to us is of course there are natural alternatives, however, when someone is feeling anxious many times they can think clearly and will reach for medication or alcohol. So, I promised to write this for her and for anyone else who is experiencing anxiety, stress and the total overwhelm of life itself.
Before we can come up with solutions let’s first determine the problems. Are you losing yourself in your relationships, in your nurturing roles, and in the busyness of life? Does it seem like your life has become a series of multitasking days and nights, rather than moments to enjoy? It’s very easy to get so caught up in the DOING that you forget to be YOU.
The first thing that usually goes in a whirlwind of activity is time. The lack of time often leads to feeling frustrated, tired, overwhelmed and out of balance. More importantly without time for you, you will tend to lose sight of what’s important to you and of what you need to be your best.
Here are some tips to help you take care of yourself, because ultimately when you take care of YOU, the anxiety and stress will be a thing of the past:
To make life easier for yourself, consider developing a menu or plan for your weekly meals which may also include lunches for yourself and your children. If planning stresses you out, then prepare a week’s worth of lunches and freeze them; make up double quantities of foods like casseroles, soups, and hamburgers. Freeze half so you can have a night off cooking when you want to; find someone to mind your children on a regular basis so that you can have some time for yourself. Most importantly you must plan your day well – write lists of tasks you want to complete. It can be very satisfying crossing off jobs as they are done and don’t forget to celebrate each accomplishment no matter how small it may be.
Plan a special treat with your significant other. Arrange for your children to spend time with a friend or relative while the two of you spend time together. Simple activities such as going to the movies, taking a walk together will help you relax while spending important time with the one you love. Try to spend a weekend away together occasionally. But most importantly if your children are grown and self-sufficient, stop being a co-dependent and have fun! You don’t have to stop loving and nurturing them but now it’s time for YOU to have fun with your partner. So what are you waiting for?
Meet a friend for coffee. Join a craft group, choir, book club, sports group. Occasionally, do something totally different – go wind surfing, sky diving, horse riding. If you’re not a daredevil that’s fine, be sure to find time, because yes the time does exist to simply relax. If you have a ‘green thumb’ you can start a garden and watch the stress melt away.
Organize a relaxing activity at home such as reading, a DIY spa treatment with aromatherapy candles, gardening or even just having a bubble bath with your favorite music on. Notice how I mentioned the aromatherapy? This can consist of candles, or infuser with essential oils such as lavender to help relax not only your mind but your body as well.
Try to get outside at least once a day, walk the dog, sit under a tree and read. Exercise or activity which is a much better word to describe the same thing is necessary to relieve anxiety and stress. You don’t have to go to an extreme and join a gym, but if your daily activity leads to that next level, that’s wonderful! If you don’t want to be active, simply enjoy the outdoors sitting on your porch with a large glass of iced-tea! Doesn’t that sound relaxing? You will enjoy the fresh air, your body will thank you and your mind will be put at ease as well.
If you are feeling like life is out of control, that you are undervalued, that you are too busy, or if you put the needs of others consistently before your own, then it is time to create some time and space for yourself. Taking time for yourself allows you to renew, heal, and create energy and peace.
Honoring yourself enables you to discover your truth, access your creativity and experience a sense of peace, wholeness, purpose, and balance. After all, we only have one life to live, so live it to the fullest and remember to never devalue who you are! Say good-bye to anxiety and stress and say hello to the new YOU!