5 Ways to Elevate Your Health Today (Anxiety Series, 4 of 4)
1. Sleep Hygiene
What is sleep hygiene? It is simply developing a healthy routine to unwind from the day and prepare your body and mind for sleep. A routine that helps signal to the brain it is almost time for sleep. Similar to the way we prepare babies and children for bed by an evening routine (bath time, story time, bed time). Making yourself a cup of sleepy time tea (or sleepy time extra… my personal favorite).
2. Self soothing
This is the ability to calm and soothe yourself without assistance from others. This is important with anxiety as it can strike at any time, or that is the fear anyway. You will feel better if you have mastered how to soothe yourself. Calming music in the car, lavender essential oil or lotion you keep in your bag, a comfortable warm hoodie you can put on to get cozy, relaxing warm tea, looking at calming photos on your phone, distracting yourself with a game, reading an engrossing book, etc.
Lack of essential vitamins and nutrition can have a big impact on how anxious we feel believe it or not. Ensuring you are incorporating leafy greens, fruits, and a variety of colorful vegetables in your diet will only be beneficial to you. Ask your doctor about supplements that can help you, or do your own research and elevate your health.
Exercise has been proven over and over again to be just as effective as psychotropic medications are in the alleviation of depression and anxiety symptoms. As little as 30min three times a week has significant benefits. You can also cope with stress 3 x a well as someone who gets no exercise. Exercise is meant to be an extra activity outside of your daily routine so that walk to subway today doesn’t count because your body is used to it. Adding a nature component can have a double benefit here as nature is naturally stress relieving. I personally love to go to cross fit regularly but occasionally skip it for a run through Forest Park to be surrounded by the green tunnel of trees, I feel much more calm when I finish in the park.
5. Have a designated place for each section of your day.
What does this mean? When you are working do it at work or a local coffee shop or a designated place at your dining room table. When you are relaxing have a designated spot for this, couch in the living room, in bed watching TV (not that I recommend this for sleep hygiene), etc. Don’t check work emails in bed, don’t do work in the living room where you usually relax. Keeping these areas of your life separate helps your brain compartmentalize them so it can switch from work to relax easily. Same with working out or eating meals. Have a designated space for these activities. I hate working out at home because when I’m home I just want to relax. I eat at my island or dining room table. All of these are also mindful ways of being focused on the activity you are doing. When you are eating, eat. When you are working, work. When you are relaxing, RELAX!