If the thought of certain activities, tasks on your to-do list or certain people make your heart start pumping quickly, your breathing shallow or your palms turn sweaty, you are feeling the effects of anxiety. This is a state of being in sympathetic “fight or flight” mode. The hormones that are part of our adrenal system come out and cause a flood of symptoms including the ones above. More importantly, you are in a place where decision making becomes poor and reactions become elevated.
Anxiety, no matter where it stems from can make you feel:
- out of control
- unable to proceed with discretionary direction
- overly sensitive or reactive to life
Do You Feel Anxious or Full of Stress at Home?
While clutter might seem somewhat inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, you’d be wise to consider the feng shui take on an untidy space. According to the principles of feng shui, clutter prevents chi (positive energy or life force) from flowing throughout your home.
Clutter may contribute to feeling stuck or of being unable to relax in your home. This can indeed bring up feelings of anxiety, worry and stress, from what feels like “nowhere.”
The mere act of clearing clutter in your home, can renew your life by aiding in the release of negative emotions & feelings.
De-cluttering allows you to create space for the things you want to achieve. And decluttering can make space for you, so that internally you feel at peace, calm and grounded while at home!
In The Power of Less, Leo Babauta explains, “Simplifying isn’t meant to leave your life empty—it’s meant to leave space in your life for what you really want to do.” By clearing space you’ll not only reduce some anxiety, but be making room for wonderful things & amazing opportunities to flow in.
3 Simple Steps to De-clutter
Step 1—Commit to a project. This can be either a room, a floor or the entire house. BUT here is the deal, do not pick something so big it is going to cause anxiety. Start small!!
Every day, take small steps towards reducing the material you have in your chosen area. Create a calendar and place small feats on it daily: clean out filing cabinet, re-arrange filing cabinet, organize filing cabinet, go through kids toys they don’t play with, donate the kids toys, etc, etc.
DON’T, I repeat DON’t try to do it all at once or you are likely to succumb to extreme stress, anxiety and overwhelm!
With consistent daily action, in just a few short weeks, your home will be a lot neater and it won’t feel like it was a burden. The energy will be flowing more freely in no time!
Step 2—Keep, Toss, Donate.
Create boxes for Toss and Donate, to help add organization to your process. This way as you are working through different rooms, you are ready to toss or donate when you have gone through all the tasks in Step 1.
Step 3—Stay Detached (as much as possible). This is probably the most important one!
Sentimentality or a sense that “I’ll need this someday…” completely cuts you off from being able to live life a little more freely, TRUSTING that what you need will come your way when you need it.
Now, of course I am not talking about the last picture you have of your grandmother with the family. Instead I am talking about books, clothing, toys, gifts, etc. If you haven’t used it, pass it on to someone who will.
Here is the deal: when you set things into movement, FLOW has a lot better chance of being in your life. Get rid of things you don’t need or use, and you’ll be surprised at what just may show up. I have seen this numerous times, where people de-clutter and let go of things, and the next day a check shows up in the mailbox, or a toaster over (that you have been wanting to replace) comes your way from a great Aunt who never uses hers.
Oh, and the best part? Your feeling of anxiety pretty much goes with all the stuff you are getting rid of.
Really, when you trust that you will have what you need when you need it, small miracles appear to happen.
Anxiety IS Common During Major Life Shifts
We’ve all been there, when life wants to stir things up for us, we must at least try to be ready for the waves. Whether you are in for a good transition or a less than desirable transition, one thing is for sure- there is going to be added stress in your life.
Most commonly this shows up in the form of anxiety. The best thing you can do is have a few strategies in your back pocket to help reduce the anxiety when it arises in the moment!
My most recent bout with transition anxiety has been in the form of a move. I am over the moon thrilled about this relocation and am eager to get to where I am going. During the weeks leading up to the big move, my anxiety and irritability increased slowly and steadily.
Not because I was upset or worried about something going wrong, but because there was just so much to do; between juggling work, finding a new house, entertaining a 3 year old, packing and cleaning and actually moving a 3 bedroom house, and the upcoming task of having to unpack everything on the other side. There was a lot on my plate.
So naturally I got a little more ‘jumpy’ than usual. But like anything in life, I take every opportunity to learn a little something about myself. I want to share with you what I did to keep my stress and anxiety in better check.
3 Ways to Keep Your Anxiety in Check:
1) Get out in nature.
I cannot stress enough to you how grounding this is (pun intended). You will feel completely recharged. Don’t you dare try to tell me you don’t have enough time to carve this out! You don’t have enough time NOT to. Why? Because you are way more productive from a place of calm and centeredness, than you are from a place of anxiety. If you don’t have any nature around you, well then get outside, take your shoes off and walk in the dirt for 10 minutes. A technique known as earthing.
Just get it out. It’s stress management. Transition brings up a lot of “stuff” inside….remember feng shui. Well when you are in transition, your own chi is moving (or stuck) and you need ways to set it free. Put it in the flow.
Old memories are stirred up, successes and failures are revisited. It is almost like a “new year” celebration, a time to start over, or begin again. There is a lot of emotions you will feel. One time you may feel happy, other times you may feel sad or how you wish you had done all these things on your ‘list.’
You need to get these feelings off your chest….(there are sayings for a reason)
When you give yourself the chance to give voice to your feelings, they free up your body and mind from holding on to them. This is a great way to keep you energized (rather than anxious, exhausted and drained) throughout the change.
3) Drink a cup of nervine tea.
Your nervous system (along with your adrenals) are on over-drive right now. Good stress, bad stress, its all still stress. And some stress is good! But constant stress can be really taxing on the body. So why not give your nerves a little support. My favorite teas: lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora), chamomile (Matricaria recutita), catnip (Nepeta cataria)- not just for cats 🙂 Go on, you’ll be breathing slower and deeper in no time!
Coffee: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (when it comes to Anxiety
Ok, short and sweet, if you battle with anxiety, stress or feelings of overwhelm, coffee is NOT for you! But…..but…..I know.
But here is the deal- if you suffer from anxiety, you are in a state of fight or flight being directed by your Hypothalamus- Pituitary-Adrenal Axis, and you are already plenty ramped up. The coffee only ramps up the adrenals even more.
Some individuals who just can’t take a break from coffee find that drinking coffee with a tsp grassfed butter and a tsp of organic coconut oil, can help slow down the absorption of the coffee, and make the caffeine stimulation less apparent and less aggravating to their anxiety.
But if I were you, wouldn’t you want to know if coffee was making you feel like you wanted to jump out of your skin??? Plus there are alternatives.
INSTEAD, give yourself a week of drinking organic green tea first thing in the morning. Heck, you can even put the butter and coconut oil in there if you are looking for a more low carb, high fat diet to follow. The thing with green tea is the nutrient profile is much broader than coffee. PLUS, green tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid, that has been shown to reduce anxiety, and promote calmness.
5 Super Simple Habits to Reduce Anxiety
1) Eat Breakfast
Here is the deal about breakfast- I am a big fan of intermittent fasting, so if you fast, then skip this recommendation, BUT for most folks, who may not know how to fast correctly for health, breakfast can be key to managing how you feel over the course of the day, IF you suffer with anxiety.
As tempted as you may be to eat junk for breakfast, don’t! Wait, junk, what is she talking about? I am speaking about anything such as: bagels, muffins, scones, bars, etc.
Instead eat a protein and vegetable packed breakfast: organic sausage & stir fried cabbage and onion, free range eggs and organic steamed kale, OR a protein, carbohydrate & fat packed breakfast such as oatmeal & 10 walnuts with 1 tbsp of quality butter.
2) Avoid Processed Foods and Snacks for that 2pm Slump (Unless You Want to Increase Your Anxiety)
Avoid packaged snacks like chips, popcorn and candy bars and go organic by taking a handful of raw almonds and eating them with cut up organic veggie sticks (celery, carrots, radishes, etc). Focus on snacks packed with fiber like fresh fruits and vegetables + protein (jerky, hard boiled egg, organic dairy, etc).
That 2pm slump won’t turn into an exhausted night because you actually gave your body what it needs!
3) Drink Plenty of Water
A well-hydrated body burns more calories than a dehydrated one. Drink lukewarm water throughout the day, not iced. Iced water is going to ruin your digestion. This will help flush your blood from holding onto cellular debris and toxins, keep you energized (rather than anxious) and will keep you regular!!!
4) Move Your Body
Introduce any kind of physical activity that you love. Dedicate at least 30 minutes of your day to increase your physical activity.
This will not only relax your mind but would also help soothe your soul. You will feel happier by becoming healthier, and this will greatly reduce feelings of anxiety and stress.
5) Pamper Yourself
Sometimes all you need is a good ole’ day of being taken care of to reduce that anxiety! Try getting a sauna or steam bath, and pamper yourself with a fresh juice drink and a body rejuvenating massage.
Laughter is Often the Best Medicine
Studies out of the University of Chicago show a great sense of humor can add 8 years to your life—no joke! Maybe that is why some hospitals are employing techniques of laughter therapy in an effort to get people well. It might involve the use of clowns, humor rooms, and roaming carts full of funny books and games.
Laughter’s Positive Effects on Your Body
- It triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals.
- It protects the heart: laughing improves circulation, which can help protect against cardiovascular disease.
- It decreases cortisol (stress hormones) and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies (yes please).
- A good belly laugh relieves physical tension and stress, with relaxation effects lasting for up to 45 minutes!
Laughter’s Positive Effects on Your Mind
- Humor shifts perspective, so you can see situations in a more realistic, less intimidating light. A humorous point of view also allows for psychological distance, which can prevent feelings of overwhelm.
- You can’t feel angry, anxious, or sad when you’re laughing! Laughter disarms upsetting emotions.
- Laughter helps you relax and recharge. It both calms you and increases energy, which lets you to stay focused and accomplish more.
Laughter’s Positive Effects on Your Social Wellbeing
- Laughing helps you get out of your head and be more spontaneous. You get to forget your troubles (temporarily).
- It helps you express your true feelings—deeply felt emotions rise to the surface and are released, which feels cathartic.
- Defensiveness falls by the wayside when you chuckle. Laughter helps you forget judgments, criticisms, and doubts.
- It let’s you release control for a moment. Your fear of holding back takes a backseat.
As Charlie Chaplin said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.”
Anxiety Reducing Recipe
I love food. I love to share food. Here is a complex carbohydrate recipe that will help you feel nourished and anxious free!
Simple Sweet Potato Wedges | Serves 4-6
- 2 pounds medium sweet potatoes
- 3 tablespoons oil: ghee, quality butter, coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon pink sea salt
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Cut potatoes lengthwise into 1-inch wedges.
- Toss wedges with oil and spices (you may need to lay the fat on top and give it 1-2 minutes in the oven to melt, then you can mix everything). Place them in a large roasting pan and roast in middle of oven 20 minutes. Turn wedges over and roast until tender and slightly golden, 15 to 20 minutes more.
- Serve with fun dipping sauces, such as honey mustard, a simple lime-avocado blend, or homemade ketchup!
Alright, now it is your turn. In the comments below, tell me what 3 things you are going to do to get yourself experiencing less anxious and more rejuvenated and energized?
Your Wellness Expert,