Stress = Someone Trying to Repair Every Situation Solo – Dave Willis
Several years ago, I was dealing with (what I perceived as) tremendous stressors in my life and wasn’t equipped with the life experience, nor the support system I needed at the time. I didn’t ask for help, I was a people pleaser, and I didn’t want to tell others the truth if that meant hurting their feelings, even if it was at my own expense. Well, all that self-denial eventually added up and ultimately took a toll on my mind, body and spirit. On top of this, I developed horrible anxiety, which began interfering with my day-to-day routines. It wasn’t until I finally reached out to a local acupuncturist that my health started to improve and my anxiety lifted. If you suffer with anxiety, you already know, it is literally one of the most uncomfortable feelings you may ever experience. Your chest tightens, you can’t breath and the simplest of tasks can seem completely overwhelming. However, I am happy to say there are some amazing dietary + lifestyle shifts you can make to alleviate your stress and kick anxiety in the royal you-know-what. On top of this, there are some tried and true herbal teas that can really help to keep anxiety in check.
Dietary Modifications for Reducing Anxiety
Elimination of junk food (a.k.a. fast food, boxed and packaged foods, vegetable oils, fried foods, conventional meat, dairy, soy and wheat) is high priority. Man-made, processed foods cannot support your body’s cellular functions because these food-like products are deplete of important vitamins and minerals like magnesium, a mineral critical for stress reduction. Chances are if you are working too much, plus have family obligations, you may not prioritize healthy eating. On top of this, you may be eating on-the-go to save time or buying cheap food to save money. These are all no-no’s. You deserve better and you are worth the extra time and money spent, for optimal health. Healthy colorful foods (lots of fruits and veg), plus, clean filtered water and healthy digestion (a.k.a chewing your food) are of the utmost importance when reducing stress and anxiety. Ensuring proper protein at meals and healthy fat consumption is imperative as well.
Here is a check-list of dietary modifications to reduce anxiety:
- Eliminate Junk Food (processed foods)
- Increase Colorful Fruits + Veg
- Sit-down and eat slowly at mealtime
- Chew your food well! (Chewing activates digestive enzymes)
- Meal Prep to Save Money, Time & Stress
- Eat Fermented Foods (Sauerkraut)
- Take A Probiotic for Healthy Digestion
- Sip Calming Herbal Teas Between Meals
- Eliminate Caffeine (Caffeine imbalances blood sugar)
- Eat 3 meals + 2 snacks to Balance Blood Sugar
- Drink Lemon H2O in the morning to increase HCL
- Eat High Quality Proteins + Healthy Fats with each meal
- Perform a 1-3 day Juice Cleanse for Healthy Detox
Lifestyle Modifications for Reducing Anxiety
There are many lifestyle interventions for reducing anxiety–Thank God! The first I would suggest is reducing the amount of stressful conditions in your life. Whether it’s your job, family or money, it is important to address the core issue/s contributing to the stress and anxiety in your life. Don’t quit your job just yet, but do examine if there are ways in which you can reduce your work-related stress, such as taking more vacation time, transferring to another location, talking to your managers or delegating work. When in doubt ask for help from a trusted friend or colleague. Don’t forget to take care of your body with low-intensity exercise like walking, yoga, swimming or kundalini breathing. Carve out time for you time. Treat yourself to a massage, acupuncture, nutrition consultation or a spa day!
Below are some very helpful lifestyle modifications for reducing anxiety:
- Learn to delegate work and/or say No!
- Build a trusted network of friends/family/colleagues
- Get outside and take a walk (especially on breaks)
- Meditation/Prayer/Yoga/Breathing Exercises
- Low Intensity Exercise/Walking
- Let Go of Toxic Relationships/Friendships
- Take a Break and/or a Vacation!
- Communicate your True feelings
- Don’t stuff your feelings/Journal Write
- Book w/ a Functional Med. Dr. or Nutritionist
- Quit smoking, drinking and/or recreational drugs
- Eliminate Stress! (stress depletes vitamins & minerals)
- Supplement with Magnesium
- Research Adaptogen Herbs for Stress
Herbal Teas for Stress Reduction
The following teas have therapeutic properties for stress and anxiety reduction. You may choose to consume them in tea form, or you may also find herbal formulas and tinctures with a combination of these herbs. Herbs in combination tend to cover all your bases, so it’s a good idea to look at reviews and talk with an herbalist or nutritionist with a good working knowledge of medicinal herbs. Knowledge is power, so do your own research too. Find out what herbs could work best for your specific needs. Lastly, it is important to note, if you are currently taking prescription meds like SSRI’s (anti-depressants), you should consult with your doctor before trying herbal formulas, like Kava or Ashwagandha.
- Tulsi (Holy Basil)
- German Chamomile
- Lemon Balm
- Kava (not with SSRI’s)
- Ashwagandha (not with SSRI’s)
It’s a good idea to drink 2 or more cups of these herbs a day to achieve the full therapeutic benefits. Again, you may need to consult with an herbalist, Functional Med. Dr. or Nutritionist for further modifications, especially if your anxiety is not going away.
Thankfully, there are ways to take control of your health and to nip anxiety in the bud, before it gets too overwhelming and you cannot function. By empowering yourself with knowledge, professional support and medicinal teas and herbs, you allow your body to heal naturally. Reaching for natural options and stress management tools when combating stress and anxiety, as opposed to a quick fix with a prescription, can minimize the additional stress of prescription side effects and/or withdrawal symptoms when you no longer need the prescription.
*All information, content, and material of this blog is for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as a substitute for the diagnosis, and/or medical treatment by a qualified physician.