I used to suffer from intense anxiety and high stress. I would wake up every morning with that sick feeling in my stomach, a restlessness in my bones. You get me?
High stress and anxiety are far too common these days. I believe our modern day non-stop mentality and social media addiction is absolutely worsening our state of mind and increasing stress levels. It is becoming harder and harder to find that inner calm, to switch off from all the noise and distraction that we’re surrounded by 24/7. I am so passionate about helping people relieve themselves of this feeling.
Lifestyle and nutrition tips really can make a difference. As a nutritional practitioner I believe anxiety and stress should be addressed holistically – we have to tackle it from an emotional, physical, spiritual and nutritional point of view. I also believe people with severe cases of anxiety (diagnosed anxiety) should be well supported by a doctor or psychologist and there is absolutely a place for Western medicine – some people need to be supported with medication along with nutrition and lifestyle adjustment. There is no one way or one quick fix – it’s different for everybody, so find out what works with you!
My top nutrition and lifestyle tips:
- Eat well – we need various nutrients and minerals to produce feel good hormones which can be found in a wholefood diets that consists of greens, nuts, seeds, proteins, healthy grains and fruit. We need all of these macro nutrients to thrive. My website has amazing wholefood recipes and blog posts which go into more detail about optimal nutrition jessicasepel.com.
- Commit to 8 hours of sleep each night. Going to bed before 11pm helps you to wake up feeling refreshed and energized which can decrease anxiety the next day.
- Take a herbal Adrenal formula called that contains beautiful calming herbs such as passionflower, rhemannia, lavender and magnolia. These ingredients help with the stress response in your body, calming the nervous system and keeping cortisol levels (your stress hormone) in check.
- Avoid exercising to the point of obsession and exhaustion. Try swapping a high-intensity workout for a more yin-based form of exercise – Yoga and nature walks are the most calming and grounding types of exercise in my opinion.
- Take 500-800mg Magnesium dyglicinate or citrate at night before bed. Magnesium is an incredible muscle relaxant, helping to calm the body from the inside out. Fun fact: It’s also amazing for reducing sugar cravings!
- Practice yoga – even a home practice will do. Doyogawithme.com is a great website to do your own practice.
- Social media boundaries – I switch my phone, emails and all other social media off by 7-8pm each night. Set your own boundaries. This has a great impact on sleep which effects stress and anxiety.
- Alternate nostril breathing – a life saver during anxious and stressful moments… Google it.
- Keeping our blood sugars stable helps to reduce anxiety and stress eating. I focus on eating lots of greens, good quality proteins and low GI carbs every day. I also find that warming, grounding foods such as soups, stir fries, curries or slow cooked dishes as opposed to raw meals, really help me on days where I feel anxious.
- Drink Chamomile tea – especially before bed.
- I repeat throughout the day, “I am enough, I do enough” – can you do the same?
- Perfect does not exist. Relieve the pressure to perform perfectly. So what if I stuff up? Or don’t get something done when I should? Or disappoint someone? I am only human. I am doing my best.
- Let go of comparison. Comparison only keep you going backwards, not forwards and increases anxiety. What’s the point? Waste of energy! Focus on all the amazing things YOU do.
- Relieve the self-pressure – we do so much. We just have to be ok with the fact that we don’t need to do it all perfectly right all the time. Yes, we may disappoint people along the way. We need to strive to do our best. This is enough.
- Say NO to social arrangements when you feel stressed, anxious or depleted.
- Avoid alcohol during anxious times. Alcohol makes us more anxious. Or drink moderately on weekends and avoid alcohol during the week.
- Trusting the universe has your back – know it, feel it, believe it. The universe is on your side.
- Anxiety - know this feeling with pass. Life is hard. As my mum always says, “Life does not always feel so good”. Just accepting that – actually eases my anxiety. It will pass – say this as many times as you need to.
Remember, you are not alone – everyone feels this way at times!
Jessica Sepel is one of the founding members of the Women’s Health Fitfluential Network. Jess believes in in inspiring us to “nourish our bodies rather than punish them […] I believe our diet culture has caused women to have a complex relationship with food and their bodies.