In the lead up to, and during menopause, I have suffered from anxiety, which at times has been most unpleasant. Being someone who does not like taking prescription medications, and someone is sensitive and who has had reactions to many, both prescription and non-prescription (as my father did), I prefer to explore and learn natural and holistic remedies. Of course this takes time and effort. I do admit to succumbing to taking the script twice in my life, both extremely unpleasant results, but for some, it's definitely the answer.
Here is a list of what has helped me through my anxiety:
Eliminate caffeine and alcohol. During my worst times, even a cup of English breakfast tea increased my anxiety levels. For me, alcohol does the same.
Drink 4-8 cups of chamomile tea each day. This has been enormously helpful for me. It keeps me calm and relaxed and I now carry it with me in my handbag. When I'm out and about, it's easy to order a hot water in a takeaway cup if I feel I need another one.
Learn mindfulness meditation. Recently I have completed the Mindfulness Works Introductory course and it was incredibly helpful. Learning simple, yet highly effect techniques to use during times of heightened anxiety has given me a 'tool kit' to draw from.
Use mindfulness grounding techniques. In any situation focus your attention on the present moment. What can you hear? What can you see? What can you physically feel? For example, right now I can hear the birds chirping outside, my fingers tapping on the keyboard and I can see my computer screen and my dog sleeping on the sofa; I can feel my backside on the chair and my feet on the ground and in the distance I can hear the neighbours lawnmower.
Start yoga. Every night I practice yoga. Even 10 or 15 minutes a day makes a huge difference. Giving yourself time to be centred, grounded and focused on your body creates a feeling of peace and calm. If I'm particularly tired, I may only do 3-5 minutes, but for the last 125 days I have practiced and it helps a lot. For some sessions I use videos from Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube.
Learn pranayama breathing. It quickly balances energy and is a great mood stabiliser. Long term, this practice can help with anxiety, stress, depression, insomnia, improved focus, and increased self-awareness.
Exercise. Walking 3-5 times each week is good for the mind, body and soul.
Listening to audiobook novels. This is something I started doing 12 months ago and it's a great positive diversion from anxious thoughts. By immersing yourself in a good book, you can give your over-anxious mind a break.
Replace anxious thoughts. When you have an anxious thought, tell yourself "Not now. It's okay." This stops that thought in its tracks, and helps to calm the anxious part of yourself.
Remind yourself of reality. Using a simple statement like, "This is only anxiety, it is not reality" when anxious thoughts arise can help too.
Protect yourself. Stay away from people and situations you know exacerbate your anxiety.
Engage in calming practices. Find which of these (or other) practices create a feeling of peace and calm for you.
If you too suffer from anxiety, I hope some of these are helpful.
Till next time,
p.s. Want to know when my book, If Not Now, When? will be ready for pre-sales? If so, sign up here.