10 Ways to Help Calm Anxiety before it takes hold.

This week in Canada it’s CMHA Mental Health week! Mental Health is a serious Health topic, too often we hear people brush off depression as “someone’s just being miserable, whiny and attention seeking”. How can you possibly know what it is like for that person? Do you know what personal issues they are facing every day? No! Do you know if they are being bullied daily? No! Are they suffering at the hand of mental or physical abuse? You don’t know! So how can anyone tell someone who is suffering from depression to “Get a Grip” or “snap out of it”. We need to be more understanding and we need to have more empathy towards people suffering at the hands of depression or anxiety or paranoia etc… It’s easy for those who don’t have anxiety disorders to state that day to day life is “stressful” these days but simple “stress” is very different to “Anxiety Disorders”.

When Robin Williams passed away, a man who was famously happy, one of our greatest comedic actors and stand-up comics, I think It brought home the topic of Mental Health in a way that hadn’t been seen by the greater population previously. We saw Robin Williams in interviews and on TV and giving Oscar-winning performances in movies but how could we possibly know what was going on within, the demons that he was dealing with every day. Having suffered from Anxiety and Depression I understand that it hurts and I understand that you can feel afraid to talk to those close to you for fear of being told to “get a grip”, anxiety and depression are a chemical imbalance in the brain, there is no switch that we can flick to turn the feelings off, it’s an invisible, insidious illness that requires the world to be more understanding and to be better informed on the subject. It could just be that someone who is dealing with depression or anxiety simply needs you to listen and not judge, be that someone, you never know whose life you could save. This being Said, here are 10 tips that I have picked up on how to deal with Anxiety, *please bear in mind that if you suffer from an anxiety disorder like I do, these tips will not always work BUT for times when we are unable to see a Counsellor or if the feeling of anxiety is just starting to creep on, these may help to quell the anxiety before the onset of a Panic Attack or Anxiety Attack*

 

Take a little Time out: Take yourself out of whatever situation is making you stressed and panicky and spend some time, in a quiet room, on your own and just breathe.

  • Breathe: Sounds silly, I know, but really, breathe! Big, deep, breaths from your stomach. Breathe in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 2 and then breathe out for a count of 4.

  • Exercise: Pilates videos on YouTube, Yoga classes, or just jogging around your local park on a nice day, it doesn’t matter what the exercise is, it’ll make you feel so much better: “Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy….” preach Elle Woods! Preach!

  • Get outside: Away from the positive ions (positive in this case is not a good thing) that are emitted by your screens and go outside for a walk, better yet, if you have water nearby, especially a waterfall, go there. There’s a reason we feel refreshed when we get outside on a crisp Winter morning or when we open a window at home to let the air in… Negative ions; which are oxygen atoms charged with an extra electron and are created in nature by water, air and sunlight, they clear the air of mold spores, pollen, pet dander, odors, cigarette smoke, bacteria, viruses, dust and other airborne particles that are hazardous to our health.

  • Get enough Sleep: it seems easy right? Wrong! if you have anxiety, you know all too well that the moment you switch off the bedside light, your brain goes “Oh hai! looks like you want to sleep now… lets just bring up all those things you’re worried about with work, school or just life in general!” Get in to a “Sleep Hygiene routine” switch off ALL screens an hour before you want to sleep, start winding down, skincare, have a cup of soothing tea, read a book… all things that signal to your brain that it’s time to sleep. If that’s still hard for you to get some shut-eye then you may want to see a Doctor about insomnia. You can also get a Himalayan Rock salt lamp (they’re really inexpensive) and get that on in the bedroom… I’ve had one since last weekend and honestly I’ve not had such consistently good sleep in ages! For my top ways to get a good night’s sleep and how to develop a good Sleep Hygiene routine then check that post out HERE 

  • Cut out the Caffeine: This is a big one for a lot of people but we all know that Coffee is a stimulant, that’s why we inhale that first Cup of Joe each morning before we head out to work! But stimulants have side effects and what goes up must come down. Same goes for Chocolate; cut it out and I guarantee you’ll start feeling less stressed, (you’ll sleep better too!)

  • Cut out Alcohol: Yeah, I know this post is probably sounding like a real Debbie Downer right about now; no coffee no alcohol… but Alcohol alters your brain chemistry and it’s a depressant, meaning that you end up feeling anxious and paranoid… as well as having the mother of all hangovers the next day! It’s not worth it.

  • Tidy Up: I’ve been doing this A LOT recently, realizing that I get stressed and end up having anxiety attacks at home when I see clutter and stuff all over the place. I’ve been cleaning up and clearing out room by room so that surfaces are clear, I’m throwing out things that I don’t want or need: use this phrase for throwing things out at home: “Do I need it, Do I Love it, do I use it?” If the item doesn’t fit any of those questions then toss it… it’s just clutter and a cluttered home means a cluttered mind space!

  • Go play with your pet: If you have a cat or a dog then go play with them, for dogs especially, they live for Human interaction and playtime, there’s a reason they’re called Man’s Best Friend. I have 2 cats and they’re both super affectionate (though they do not appreciate being cuddled by me!) but they love being petted and brushed and played with and I feel better when I hear them purring and seeing them happy. As a child and a teenager, when I was being bullied in School, coming home and playing with my cat, who showed affection and was fluffy and a furry friend who didn’t judge me, always made me feel better about what I was coping with daily in School.

  • Spend time with Loved ones: Mum, Dad, Husband, Wife, Best Friend; whoever it is. Call them up if they’re a long way away. Talking to loved ones ALWAYS makes you feel better, even if they’re far away.

 

I also want to include that there are websites that can help you find ways and tips to deal with Mental Wellness and Anxiety: Mental Movement by Emma & Steph in London, who I want to congratulate massively because they just won the Health & Social Care Category at The UK Blog Awards!!, have created a Magazine & E-Zine contributed to by people who are dealing with mental health themselves! The site and magazine talks about all aspects of Mental Health issues from Anxiety, Depression and everything in between! With healthy recipes that boost your brain power and fight anxiety/ depression to featuring stories from people who suffer from Mental Health issues themselves, they talk about ways to fight anxiety and depression and ways to bounce back afterwards.

Have a Wonderful Weekend everyone

Be Kind & Take Care and Get Loud for Mental Health!

xoxo Ellie

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66 Comments

  1. May 2, 2017 / 7:23 am

    I could never quit caffeine but you made some valid points here! Thank you for sharing your thoughts, we all struggle with stress today. As for me it really helps me to envision myself dealing with the situation. It’s a boost that really works!

    • May 2, 2017 / 7:30 am

      Thanks for reading Chelf, I think quitting caffeine is really only something that is necessary to think about if you have severe anxiety disorder (what i’m talking about in this post) like I do, as day to day “stress” is very different to an anxiety disorder that requires counselling or professional help. Glad you found the points helpful 🙂

  2. May 2, 2017 / 8:22 am

    Not getting enough sleep plays such a huge role in my moods! Less than 6 hours and I get depresssed.

    • May 3, 2017 / 7:56 am

      it truly is crazy what not getting enough sleep can do to us but the mind and body really does need that time to recharge.

  3. Paige Strand
    May 2, 2017 / 10:30 am

    Caffeine is my life but that is a really great point! Herbal teas can be really helpful for soothing certain factors that play into anxiety.

    • May 3, 2017 / 7:55 am

      Haha! it was certainly mine too when I was on 3-4 mugs a day lol!Herbal teas with lavender or St John’s Wort are my go to now for anxiety attacks.

  4. May 2, 2017 / 10:32 am

    I don’t really experience this in my life but I have some relatives that I will share this with.

    • May 3, 2017 / 7:54 am

      thanks so much! Hope they find it useful 🙂

  5. May 2, 2017 / 10:48 am

    Some really great tips, especially pet time..its the BEST! I have been feeling overwhelmed lately and decided to take the day off, slept in, headed out makeup free, sat at a cafe and read while sipping on some yummy coffee. PERFECT!

    • May 3, 2017 / 7:53 am

      those furry little purr-machines really do help, especially when they’re affectionate! Not sure my old cat would have helped too much with my anxiety now… she was savage lol! So glad you took that time to take care of yourself and help yourself feel better and more centered. 🙂

  6. May 2, 2017 / 11:50 am

    After quitting coffee I definitely noticed I was experiencing less anxiety. Getting outside and doing some exercise also always helps me feel better.

    • May 3, 2017 / 7:52 am

      definitely fresh air and exercise as well as cutting back on caffeine are 2 excellent ways to help anxiety! Thanks for reading 🙂

  7. Samantha
    May 2, 2017 / 11:58 am

    These are all really good tips, and I needed them! I live in the south and we have awful spring storms. They always set off my anxiety (I’m terrified of a tornado destroying our home). Thanks for sharing them!

    • May 3, 2017 / 7:51 am

      oh my gosh, that would terrify me too! I have to admit that I have that same fear but for earthquakes! The BC Coast is in a huge Earthquake zone and the media keeps saying that “The Big One could happen any day and thousands will die” which makes my anxiety skyrocket!

  8. amongstouts
    May 2, 2017 / 12:36 pm

    These are really great tips, I struggles with anxiety all through middle school and high school, and now at 28 I feel like I finally have a handle on it!

    • May 3, 2017 / 7:51 am

      That’s great that you have a handle on it! So glad you found these tips helpful! 🙂

    • May 3, 2017 / 7:49 am

      Aww thank you so much Summer, that means so much that you loved the post! I hope that my posts on anxiety provide help to anyone else going through the same things. 🙂

  9. meredithamand
    May 2, 2017 / 12:47 pm

    Thank you for this post. I’ve struggled with anxiety at times, more so when I was younger. But I totally agree about concentrating on breathing. Sometimes, just slowing down on focusing on one thing can help quite a bit.

    • May 3, 2017 / 7:48 am

      It was my Mum who taught me how to breathe through Yoga and mindfulness it has really helped a lot with my panic and anxiety attacks. Glad you enjoyed the post!

  10. May 2, 2017 / 2:12 pm

    Exercise is my number one anxiety reliever. I do also need to consciously breath more, as silly as that sounds, I think I hold my breath when I’m stressed!

    • May 3, 2017 / 7:32 am

      Exercise is great for helping to calm nerves or anxiety for sure, that rush of endorphin’s can squash the fight or flight response for sure!

  11. courtneyrandrews
    May 2, 2017 / 6:47 pm

    As someone who suffers from anxiety, I appreciate this post. Thankfully it’s gotten easier to manage since I’ve gotten older. Your tip about “go play with your pet” is my favorite! My little Pomeranian brings me so much joy and truly calms my nerves.

    PS I love your purse 🙂

    • May 3, 2017 / 7:29 am

      I’m so glad you liked the post Courtney! I found myself struggling badly until I put my hand up and said “I need help, I can’t get through this on my own”. It certainly has improved over the past couple of years. I’m glad to hear that your pom makes you feel better too!

  12. moscatoismymantra
    May 2, 2017 / 8:26 pm

    So important to take care of ourselves 🙂 Must make it a priority! thank you for the encouragement

    • May 3, 2017 / 7:24 am

      Self-Care seems to be an area we all slip up in, we take care of others but forget our own wellbeing. It’s so important and it’s all we really have! 🙂

  13. May 2, 2017 / 8:56 pm

    So many simple but necessary tips!! Thank you!

    • May 3, 2017 / 7:23 am

      Thanks for reading Whitney! Glad you liked it 🙂

  14. May 3, 2017 / 5:06 am

    These are all on point! I know going outside and limiting caffeine has really helped me!

    • May 3, 2017 / 7:22 am

      I definitely found that when I went from 3-4 cups of coffee a day to just one first thing in the morning I felt much better and far less anxious and jittery.

  15. May 3, 2017 / 6:06 am

    These are great tips. As someone with anxiety and depression, I can attest to how well some of these things have worked for me. I think last year before my official diagnosis, I was in a really dark spot b/c on top of everything else one of my dogs was really sick. My doctor diagnosed me with anxiety and depression and made my pooch an emotional support animal. Now I’m able to basically take her everywhere and don’t have to constantly be worried that she’s okay (and yes she has gotten better since last year).

    • May 3, 2017 / 7:22 am

      Aww I’m so glad that you liked the post! I’m so glad that your Dog became a way to help you get through everything and that she got better too!

  16. May 3, 2017 / 6:26 am

    Such a great article, really helpful. I also want to say I love your looks and you are beautiful. 🙂

    • May 3, 2017 / 7:20 am

      Thank you so much Celine! Glad you liked the post 🙂

  17. May 3, 2017 / 7:15 am

    I agreee 100% about the lack of sleep. I notice after a few days of not getting enough sleep I go into a slight depression. Sleep is important.

    • May 3, 2017 / 7:20 am

      Sleep is so important and I’m trying really hard to make sure I’m getting enough of it! Gone are the teenage years of staying up late and getting up early with a coffee to fuel me lol!

  18. May 3, 2017 / 7:30 am

    All excellent points! Sleeping and learning how to declutter are both great things you can do for
    yourself. The benefits work wonders!

  19. May 3, 2017 / 9:13 am

    Best advice- take a little time. I find in times of stress this is the thing I most leave out and it is the most important.

    • May 4, 2017 / 7:31 am

      taking that time to just sit and breathe and allow yourself to recuperate is so important but we forget to do it because we’re always on the go these days!

    • May 4, 2017 / 7:32 am

      The sleep one is probably my biggest one, and not getting enough sleep is a cumulative issue it builds up over time and your mind and mental health suffers! So glad you liked the post lovely! 🙂 xo

  20. May 3, 2017 / 10:35 am

    I definitely agree with getting outside and tidying up. That caffeine one will be hard!

    • May 4, 2017 / 7:29 am

      I think if something is guaranteed to help alleviate debilitating anxiety disorder it’s not as hard to do. i cut my caffeine intake down from 4 cups to 1 a day and I feel much better 🙂

  21. May 3, 2017 / 10:46 am

    Anxiety is a real ass. Sleep makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE, total agree it is SO important. These are all great tips. Thanks x

    • May 4, 2017 / 7:30 am

      Haha! YES it sure is! Thanks so much for reading, I’m glad you found the tips helpful. 🙂

  22. Dani
    May 3, 2017 / 11:20 am

    So many great tips! It is so important to take care of YOU!

  23. May 3, 2017 / 12:28 pm

    So many great tips! I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for most of my life and these help so much. The big one for me, is staying physically active. I began focusing on my physical health back in August 2015 and it’s crazy how much it affected my mental health. Within a year, I was feeling the best I had ever felt in my entire life. And now, I’m feeling even more mentally stable and healthy. Your health is so important. It’s good to take time out of your every day life to focus on it.

    • May 4, 2017 / 7:34 am

      That’s fantastic that you found that exercise helped immensely! It’s true that rush of adrenaline and endorphin is so good for our mental well-being as well as our physical health! We need to focus on our own health because without it we have nothing. 🙂

  24. May 3, 2017 / 1:36 pm

    These are some excellent tips. Getting enough sleep is absolutely imperative to health in general, so I know it could impact anxiety as well! :]

    // itsCarmen.com

    • May 4, 2017 / 7:35 am

      thanks so much Carmen! Sleep is unbelievably important to our mental state and well-being 🙂

  25. May 4, 2017 / 6:37 am

    Going out and spending time with those you love is key to dealing with pretty much anything in life. Sometimes you just need to take a breather and share some laughs. 🙂

    • May 4, 2017 / 7:35 am

      couldn’t agree more! Family time is always the best!

  26. May 4, 2017 / 8:46 am

    First – I love your bag! Second I get anxiety all the time and love your outlook – being aware is the first step to getting help! Such great tips! XO

  27. May 4, 2017 / 9:54 am

    Great suggestions! I am going to take some time away from the screen to be with friends.

  28. May 4, 2017 / 10:09 am

    Ellie – what a great post! I think we could all use these tips. And I love that you talk about tidying. I read Marie Kondo’s Book, The Art of Tidying Up, a NYT Bestseller, and I put her principles to work on my closet and I have never felt better! So calming! xx C.

    http://www.thevancouveriteblog.com

  29. May 4, 2017 / 1:12 pm

    These are all so spot on, and I love how openly you discuss the topic! Basically getting into a good, healthy routine is so key!

    Chelsea
    Chow Down USA
    Instagram

  30. May 4, 2017 / 8:06 pm

    Great tips. As someone who suffers with anxiety I know how crippling it can be. I’m not a outdoors person at all but I know sometimes when I’m feeling it start to brew inside me at the office, going outside and taking a deep breath with the sunshine on my face makes a huge difference.

  31. May 4, 2017 / 8:17 pm

    Yes to all of these! If I don’t get enough sleep or exercise, I get anxious too.

  32. May 9, 2017 / 2:15 pm

    Those are such simple YET super effective tips, lovely!! Couldn’t nod along more to each one. I feel like in the modern society everyone is dealing with some sort of a mental condition, sometimes without even realizing it. Love these amazing reminders which all point to relaxation, giving love and remembering to love yourself <3
    xox Nadia
    http://www.mielandmint.com

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