Two summers ago I noticed something about myself. I was having trouble sleeping and consumed with worries. Small things, worries that probably wouldn’t happen were keeping me up at night, distracting me, making me cranky all day and keeping me from being the mom I wanted to be. A psychiatrist diagnosed me with Anxiety and I wanted to share some things that have helped me.
- Eating Well
One of the things I did, quite by luck, was eating regularly & very healthy. I was invited to be part of a Media Challenge eating only foods from the program. Regular snacks & only the super healthy meals provided. Something I should have known would make a difference but it took putting it into action to see the results. There’s actually a really great article I came upon recently that talks to why the foods you eat can contribute to/ or help with Anxiety. Nutritional strategies to ease anxiety says “complex carbohydrates are metabolized more slowly and therefore help maintain a more even blood sugar level, which creates a calmer feeling.” ~ Harvard Health Blog. This particular article also talks about specific foods that have been shown to reduce anxiety as well, so a great place to start.
Another part of the challenge was regular exercise. We’ve all heard about endorphins, again, something I really should have known would help. According to an article shared on Sunlife.ca titled Exercise helps fight anxiety and depression says “While many mysteries have yet to be solved, experts believe exercise eases anxiety and depression by releasing feel-good brain chemicals (neurotransmitters and endorphins), by reducing immune system chemicals that can worsen depression and by increasing body temperature, which can provide a calming effect.”
- Cutting Caffeine
This was a tough one for me. Pretty sure caffeine was a major factor in my getting through the sleepless nights of babyhood & toddlerdom but it had gotten a little out of hand. I was working from home and drinking a whole pot of coffee every day. It took a few days, some Tylenol for the headaches but I quit it. An article titled 15 Links Between Caffeine and Anxiety talks about some reasons behind the fact that caffeine was adversely affecting me. “Caffeine is a psychoactive drug that can cause or exacerbate anxiety and other stress-related signs and symptoms in many ways.”
- Talk Therapy – Partner/Friend
Let people in. I shared some of the thoughts crossing my mind with friends and loved ones. Hearing that they’d had moments like that too, and even just the simple act of talking through it helped me realize the irrational fears I was having. Leaning on someone is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign that you love yourself enough to allow people to help you.
- Talk Therapy – Professional
This was another tough one for me. Depending on your financial situation, getting time with a Therapist can cost a bit of money. I decided at a certain point in the last year that I was worth it and after leaving the first appointment I never regretted it. I actually found mine through an online website. I liken it to a dating site, for psychologists (Ha, Ha). You can search by city and see their specialties, issues, & client focus. ***Update** After sharing this post a friend let me know about AHS Mental Health Program Outpatient Services: 780-407-6501 for those who may not have the funds to afford a therapist alternatively.
As you can see by the title of the post, I’m not “cured” but I am better. Someday, I may need medication to manage my anxiety, and that’ll be ok. I don’t always exercise as well as I should, or eat as well as I should and I can tell the difference. I am 2 years off caffeine, something I can be proud of and continue both kinds of talk therapy but because of my journey, I don’t have as much to say.
If you think you might be suffering from anxiety or depression, be sure to go see your doctor. The Alberta Health Services website has some great resources to help as well.