How to De-Stress and Reduce Symptoms of Anxiety

Whether you suffer from full-blown anxiety or just the stress of daily life, there are simple things you can do every day to feel better. I will say that if you do have anxiety, it is always a smart move to at least talk to your primary care doctor and hopefully see a therapist because these tips may not be enough. But I do believe they can make a big difference for those with daily stress and also help in the quality of life for those suffering from anxiety.

The most important thing you can do is to to identify what causes you stress/anxiety and, if you are able to, avoid those situations and people. For example: I personally struggle with large crowds, so I avoid bars/clubs, large parties, and I do my shopping when I know the store won’t be its busiest.

However, sometimes it can be difficult to avoid our stressors, like in the instance of our jobs. If you are not prepared to leave your job and it is causing you a lot of stress, it is important to find ways to manage that stress. If there are certain co-workers who are adding to the problem, try having a respectful conversation with them about how they can help you out or at least not make things worse for you. You can also use your lunch break to completely leave the building to get a mental break in your day that will allow you to regroup. If it is the amount of work you have stressing you out, try creating to-do lists and check things off as you go so that you continue to feel accomplished and your tasks feel manageable.

Work is one (and probably the most common) example, but there are many other factors in our life that can be contributing to our stress/anxiety. Each case will have its own specific ways in which it can be helped, but let’s talk about general methods of reducing stress that may apply to a situation you find yourself in.

  • Meditate. Meditating at least once a day – whether in the morning, mid-day, or at night – is a great way to calm your mind and center yourself. It is a period of time for you to disconnect with the world and focus on yourself and what you are feeling. Guided meditations are an excellent way to bring positivity into your life.
  • Prioritize. Sometimes just having too many things going on can cause a lot of stress. Being able to look at the bigger picture and prioritize what should be done first and possibly finding things that can be taken off of the list altogether will help a lot with stress management.
  • Prioritize part 2. Another way to look at prioritizing is to decide what deserves your energy and attention and what does not. Sometimes there are things that stress us out that are beyond our control and it is important to be able to remove them from our thoughts and not give them any energy. Instead, focus your energy and attention on the positive things in your life to bring more peace and happiness.
  • Breathe. When you do find yourself caught up in stress and anxiety and it feels overwhelming, take a few moments to breathe. Think of it as a mini meditation where all you are focusing on is your breath and centering yourself. It is a great opportunity to tune out whatever is causing you stress and to focus on something simple.
  • Talk. Sometimes the most helpful thing to do when you’re feeling overwhelmed is to talk to someone about it. It gives you a chance to get out of your own head and see things more clearly. Plus, venting always feels great because you know you are not alone in your problem. Whether the person gives you advice you wouldn’t have come up with on your own or just provides emotional support, you’re going to leave the conversation feeling much better and more in control of whatever is stressing you out.
  • Exercise. Whether it’s running it out, lifting it out, dancing it out, punching it out, or doing whatever you like best, exercising is an incredible stress-reliever. Not only do you create an outlet for your aggression, you also release feel-good endorphins that will help fight off the negativity in your life.
  • Reduce Caffeine. As someone who used to drink 4 cups of coffee a day and constantly had the jitters and was an anxious wreck, I can confidently say that reducing your caffeine intake will work wonders on your stress and anxiety. You don’t need to go cold turkey (I still have 1-2 cups per day), but keep lowering your intake until you feel those daily jitters go away and find that your stress levels have been significantly reduced.

If you have any other methods of stress-reduction, feel free to leave them in the comments 🙂 I’d love to hear your ideas!

Best Wishes for a Happy and Healthy You,

Ashley


The Best Daily Supplements and Their Benefits

Let me start out by saying that every person has different needs based on their genetic makeup and diet so it’s important to know what vitamin deficiencies you have before starting a daily regimen. Surprisingly, there is such a thing as overdoing it with vitamins! The best thing to do is to go to your doctor to find out what you are lacking and then create a mix of supplements and vitamins that work best for your body.

Because we all have different deficiencies, a multi-vitamin isn’t a great option because they try to be a “one-size-fits-all” solution and that’s just not how our bodies work. By taking a multi-vitamin, you’ll end up overdoing it on some vitamins while still have deficiencies with others.

That said, let’s talk about some of the most common supplements and vitamins that can really make a big impact on your daily life and overall health.

Probiotics & Prebiotics:

A daily probiotic/prebiotic is hands-down my favorite supplement. There is nothing worse than dealing with digestional discomfort. Many of us suffer from bloating, going to the bathroom too much or not enough, and just general pain in our stomachs. There are different reasons for these issues – ranging from overdoing it on antibiotics to simply having an unbalanced fiber intake to having food sensitivities – but a good-quality probiotic can make a world of difference by fixing your gut bacteria. The best probiotics are ones that still have live cultures. These ones are typically found refrigerated either in pill form. The other way they’re refrigerated? As pickles! That’s right – eating pickled vegetables (that have to stay refrigerated) is a great source of probiotics. Other natural food sources of probiotics are: yogurt, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, miso, and tempeh.  Now you’re probably wondering what the heck is a prEbiotic. A prebiotic is the food for a probiotic, which means having prebiotics helps your probiotics to work better for you. Like probiotics, you can find a prebiotic pill, but there are also foods you can incorporate into your daily diet instead. These include: raw chicory root, raw or cooked onions, raw Jerusalem artichokes,  raw garlic, raw dandelion greens, raw leeks, raw asparagus, and bananas.

Fish Oil:

Fish oil is another one of my favorites that I will never give up. Fish oil is packed full of omega-3 fatty acids, which can also be found in oily fish like salmon. Unless you’re eating a lot of omega-3 fatty acids in your food, a great way to get a lot of health benefits is to pop a fish oil pill every day. Some of the benefits of fish oil are: lowered risk of heart disease, improved mental health and cognitive functioning, supports eye health and vision as you age, and reduces inflammation.

Vitamin D:

I started taking vitamin D3 a couple of years ago because I was told it can help with the “winter blues”, otherwise known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. If you spend a lot of time outdoors in warmer climates, chances are you get enough vitamin D from the sun. But a lot of us spend most of our time indoors and/or live in climates that are not sunny and warm year-round. So, if you don’t get a lot of sun exposure, taking vitamin D every day can have a lot of benefits. These benefits include: reduces depression; promotes bone health by aiding in the absorption of calcium; lowers blood pressure; aids in weight-loss; and reduces the risk of diabetes, heart attacks, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.

Calcium:

Calcium is extremely important for your health and best way to get it is definitely through your diet. Unfortunately, most people suffer from calcium deficiencies so a calcium supplement could be the way to go if your diet doesn’t include a lot of dairy, leafy greens, and beans. The benefits of calcium include: bone, heart, muscle, and nerve health and possibly protecting against cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Vitamin E:

Another popular choice for a daily vitamin is vitamin E. It can be found in certain plant foods, but if you have a deficiency then a daily supplement may be the way to go. The benefits of vitamin E are seemingly endless, but they include: balanced cholesterol, disease prevention, skin repair, thicker hair, balanced hormones, improved PMS symptoms, improved vision, brain health such as helping those with Alzheimer’s, and improved physical endurance and muscle strength.

Vitamin A:

The last vitamin we’ll discuss is vitamin A, which is a powerful antioxidant. There are two main sources of vitamin A, which are active vitamin A – found in animal product – and beta carotene – found in colorful fruits and vegetables. You want to make sure you’re getting enough vitamin A either from your diet or a supplement because there are so many great benefits, including: eye health, immune support, reduced inflammation, skin health and cell growth, and cancer prevention.

These were just a few of the many vitamins and supplements that can help you feel – and even look – better and there are many more! Again, the best way to know what you need is to go to your doctor and get tested for deficiencies. I hope learning about all of the benefits mentioned above inspires you to take more control over your health!

Best Wishes for a Happy and Healthy You,

Ashley