May was National Mental Health Awareness Month and as of recent, a very relevant topic in my life. Since being diagnosed with anxiety disorder, I’ve spent a lot of my free time researching causes and triggers. From work, finances, to your physical, emotional and mental state, anxiety can wreak havoc on your wellbeing if not dealt with in the right way. Anxiety can also lead to a number of health related issues that can become harmful if not treated. This month, I’ve taken a step back to reevaluate and reorganize my priorities and stressors to better myself and my future. While I’ve done quite a bit of research to find what works best for me this over the weeks of May, I thought I would share my most effective ways to de-stress so you too, can get back to a better you!

Here are my favorite ways to release stress, anxiety and tension as well as resources to find relief right now, next week and in the coming months:

Right Now

  1. Deep breaths. Take a moment, find an empty room or space and take 5 deep breaths with your eyes closed. Breathing through your nose and our your mouth, slower each time.
  2. Fresh air. Step outside for some fresh air or take a quick walk around the block to clear your thoughts.
  3. Stretching. Sitting upright in your chair, clasp your hands above your head and stretch from one side to another, slowly, while taking deep breaths.
  4. Pressure points. Slowly apply pressure to the back of your head where your skull meets your neck, press slowly and lift towards the top of your head and release. Repeat while taking deep breaths.
  5. Cold water. Apply cold water to your wrists or with a paper towel, to the back of your neck.
  6. Glass of water. Drink an entire glass of water and take several deep breaths to increase oxygen and hydration to your brain and joints.

Next Week 

  • St. Johns wort. Used to help with depression, this herbal supplement can help boost your mood and reduce stress and anxiety over time.
  • Melatonin. Take one of these herbal pills before bed each night.
  • Green tea. Start sipping green tea, plain, daily to clam and cleanse your mind.
  • Lavender soap or essential oil. Switch to a real lavender scented body wash and take a steam shower before bed. Apply lavender scented essentials oils to your forehead before going to sleep.
  • Meditation. Whether you take a physical class or listen to a sound app, take the time to learn more about the practice and introduce it into your daily routine.
  • Jazz. Something that has helped me, slow, melodic jazz has calmed my head in the most stressful of times or when I feel an anxiety attack coming on.
  • Exercise. Amplify your workout routine and get your heart rate up to sweat out the bad toxins.
  • Full Body Massage. Don’t invest in an expensive massage, check out local reflexology spaces for 60 minute massages starting at $26, sign up to be a massage therapy test subject or try a physical therapy center that often have discounted massages.

In A Few Months 

  • Therapist. If your anxiety continues, consider talking to a therapist or family doctor about how to change your life and manage it for future occurrences.
  • Long weekend or Vacation. Everyone is busy, but taking time for yourself whether you go away or do a staycation can make a huge difference. Unplug and disconnect from your daily routine, relax and get back to a better you.
  • Medication. If your anxiety worsens or turns into something more serious, consider talking to your doctor about medication options. I’ve recently started a daily low dose and I can’t believe the change in my overall wellbeing!

To learn more about how to manage your anxiety and find out other techniques, here are a few places to visit!

  1. Mental Health America official website that offers many tips and services, like this infographic
  2. Gathered articles from Huffington Post on anxiety disorder
  3. Self-help books via Barnes and Noble– Big Magic is a must!
  4. Acupressure points and their best uses
  5. For Chicagoans, I love Fit Foot for a full body, 60 minute massage for only $26!

Again, this is a very all-to-familiar issue in my life which is not always easy to handle. If you’re experiencing anxiety, know that you’re not alone and there are many options to help get you back on track!

Share and learn more with #mentalillnessfeelslike.


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