This October is proving to be one of the busiest months of my life. Between Thanksgiving (and four gobble gobble dinners!), the massive office move, my morning yoga bootcamp, traveling for work, traveling for pleasure, and one lovely house guest, I’m surprised I’m still standing.
In the past, very busy periods in my life would lead to sickness and anxiety…. more precisely, sickness brought on by anxiety. I spent five years working full time and earning my bachelors degree at night; inevitably, each year I would come down with pneumonia, bronchitis, infections, the flu, etc… and my anxiety would flare up, sometimes beyond what seemed like manageable levels. I would physically and emotionally run myself into the ground.
It looked a little something like this:
This is the number one lesson I have learned:
- Embrace the sloth. I am a type A personality – always on the go, always wanting to do more, plan more, achieve more, etc. One of the most important lessons I am continuing to learn is that downtime is just as important as anything else. Just like a car needs to stop occasionally for refueling, so too do we. Lazy Sundays, mental health days, evenings spent watching mindless TV or whatever your sloth-like poison – it’s all necessary for our well being.
That being said, sometimes we all find ourselves in busy times beyond our control. Wedding planning, moving, work demands, family situations, etc all creep and need tending to. When I find myself in such situations, as I do now, I try my best to:
- Eat well. Keep to whole, simple foods and absolutely avoid sugar. Make sure your diet is rich in avocados, bananas, broccoli, blackstrap molasses, brown rice, fish (especially salmon), garlic, greens, legumes, nuts and seeds, whole grains and yogurt – all foods that supply the minerals that are depleted by stress (calcium, magnesium, and potassium). Avoid sugar, caffeine, sodas, alcohol – all of these wreak havoc on your adrenals and actually bring on nervousness. Let food by thy medicine… that whole thing.
- Go to bed early. Sleep is absolutely vital, especially when you’re feeling anxious or stressed. Sleep is the simplest and most effective medicine. So set aside the guilt and judgment, and head to bed as early as you can! 🙂
- Get up early. Yes, sleep is extremely important, but too much can be detrimental. Very rarely do I emerge happy and healthy if I sleep in until 1pm. For those of us who wrestle with anxiety and depression, the line between sleeping in and hiding from the world can easily become blurred. So get up out of bed, shower, enjoy a quiet cup of tea, go to yoga – just get up!
- Do yoga. I know that is seems counterintuitive to add more to your plate when you’re already stressed and anxious, but this is one exception I know is absolutely worth it. Leaving aside all of the esoteric spiritual aspects, many asanas (poses) engage the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS). Translation: many poses stimulate the organs, glands and hormones that are responsible for rest. Further translation: yoga will make you feel more rested. Magic! I am such a believer in this that I continue to wake up at 5am throughout the madness to heal my body and soul through yoga.
That’s it. Easy peasy. 🙂
Okay, one final note: if you find yourself on the brink of meltdown, just know that everyone… and I mean everyone… has been or will at one point be in the same anxious shoes. We all go through it.
Happy almost weekend!