Feeling anxious or overwhelmed? 3 easy ways to find your calm and de-stress at home
The world has been flipped upside down – for all of us – this past year.
We are literally living through an actual flipping pandemic, and much as we now have a vaccine and vaccinations have started, we are still far (far) from back the normal. And there is still so much uncertainty about what really lies ahead.
Most of us are still working from home. We don't know how much longer we'll be doing it for either. We have home-schooled for weeks in spring, and are not back doing it again. Many have lost their jobs. Many more yet are worrying about losing theirs. So many of us have family across the country or across the world that we haven't seen in months – with still no clear idea of when we will see them again.
If you find yourself feeling anxious these days, whether most of the time or just find yourself waking up at night worrying, know that you are not alone. There are so many of us in that boat.
And while we might have to just try.to come to terms with not knowing exactly what lies ahead right now, know that there are things we can all do to help with those feelings of worry and anxiety.
Here are three easy things to try today:
1. Eat stress-busting foods
Food is powerful, and what we eat will not only affect our physical health, but also our mental one. In fact, food affects our very brain chemistry and therefore impacts our mood big time. In other words, we can eat to make us feel less stressed.
What to stock up on?
Almonds are a good source of protein to help you feel full and focussed. They also offer B Vitamins, Vitamin E, Zinc, Magnesium and healthy fats that help to maintain brain function and regulate mood.
Blueberries contain Vitamin C, antioxidants, magnesium and manganese to support a stressed brain.
Dark chocolate is rich in magnesium and trace minerals to support stress and fatigue. It also contains compounds that boost mood and feel-good brain chemicals.
The natural fatty acids in Omega-3 fats are absolutely integral to brain function and may help to lower anxiety. Natural sources include salmon and oily fish, flaxseeds/linseeds and walnuts.
2. Cultivate a relaxing evening routine
Making time for YOU signals to your brain that you are being kind to yourself and this again can go a long way towards cultivating inner peace and harmony.
Try creating a soothing and relaxing evening routine for yourself every night, where you switch off your phone, and simply do something that brings you joy and makes you feel relaxed and calm.
Take a bath, give yourself a head massage, go to bed so early you have time to read before you fall asleep – no matter what a self-care routine looks like to you, make sure you carve out at least 30 minutes every evening that is for you.
3. Turn up the heat
Heat causes our muscles to relax and soften, and it also has the power to lower our feelings of stress and anxiety. Maybe it's a comfort thing – being warm just feels more soothing to us, but also, some experts believe that heat may impact the neural circuitry that influences mood and increase our levels of the ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter called serotonin.
And no matter what the season, there are ways to add some extra warmth to your day, and use the benefit of heat for de-stressing yourself. Make yourself a hot drink (soothing herbal teas are great, as caffeinated drinks can cause you to feel more anxious and jumpy), sit in the sun, light a fire (or candles, even), take a warm bath, bring a hot water bottle to bed or simply turn the heating on for a little bit in the evening – there are many ways you can add a little heat to your life. And chances are, you'll feel calmer and less stressed in an instant.