4 things everyone with Anxiety should be doing (or start doing) NOW

If you have anxiety, depending on the day everything can slip. A bad day can set you back a week, a bad week a month and so on. Everyone has different triggers and this post isn’t meant to shame anyone. What it is intended to do is to give you 4 things you should be doing every day, even in the throes of a serious bout of anxiety. These aren’t fixes, but what they do is they create consistent actions and routines that will allow you to anchor yourself on the days (weeks or months) where you have crippling anxiety. Every other day these will be natural events, the list is not complicated or exhausted but they are MUST DO’S

  1. The Mouth Routine: No this isn’t perverted… Twice a day, when you wake, and before you got to sleep you should be cleaning your mouth. The health benefits are for another post but how it makes you FEEL is what is important here. A clean fresh mouth is well, refreshing. What should you do for a “Mouth Routine?”
    • Brush
    • Floss
    • Mouthwash
    • Tongue comb or rake – You can brush your tongue as well, trust me on this one.
  2. Vitamin D: I take a lot of Vitamin D. I’ve read a lot online about the importance of this vitamin and this post isn’t intended to be a science piece I did a post here many moons ago click it for an elaboration. If you are uncomfortable with Vitamin D fine, take a multivitamin. This should be done at the same time every day. I take mine at noon.
  3. Consistent Sleep schedule: This is easier than it looks. I’m not saying you have to sleep for 8 hours, I know most people can’t, particularly with anxiety. What I am saying, and you should be doing is going to bed and rising the same time every day. Sleep is how your body repairs. It’s critical for all aspects of your health and you need to create a consistent schedule for it. Mine?
    • Weekdays – Sunday thru Thursday: I am in bed screens off by 10:30PM. Even if I can’t fall asleep, I lay there. I get up between 4:30AM and 7:00AM depending on what days I go to the gym.
    • Weekends – Friday thru Saturday: I am in bed screens off by 1AM. I get up between 7AM and 9AM. I game, watch movies/shows used to go out will again after covid. Friday night and Saturday night I stay up but rarely past 1, and often in bed by midnight.
  4. Human Contact: You need to talk to someone, touch someone, and have human contact (non sexually is the context here, but sex is fine but another post all together). Anxiety can be isolating and even if it’s just some emails or a text you have to talk to someone every day. This may sound silly, but believe it or not there are many of us who can go weeks and not talk to anyone at all. You need human interaction, you need to “feel” and “sense” other people.
Ugh, lists….

Every day do these things. Do not wait, don’t make excuses start working on them. These will help you and give you confidence and self-worth. Anxiety can be crippling, isolating, desperate. Fight back with simple tools. Even if you only do one of the items above it will have a dramatic impact on you for the positive.

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stressed-out-woman

Anxiety & You: Great tips on “how to deal with 2020”

Yes, 2020 has been a bad year all around. Oh you have anxiety or mental health diagnosis? Then 2020 is likely to have been torturous at times. 5-6 weeks out from the U.S. presidential election on top of everything else? Yikes…. There are less and less safe spaces to go to. Many of us are struggling out here and the struggles have so many degree’s to them that there are extreme swings in anxiety all around.

Everyone’s situation is different. Maybe you lost a job, maybe someone you know has passed from Covid. Maybe you have a germ phobia, maybe you just feel general anxiety and have less outlets to relieve it. Whatever your particular situation is, you aren’t alone. I suppose looking forward to a new year is cathartic in a way it’s a “fresh start”. I’m on board for that, I will take any glimpses of hope I can get.

I found a very good article here that offers some tips on how to deal with and get through 2020. These tips can be used really any time in your life but let’s focus on getting to 12.31.2020 and moving on….

From the article: “Usually when we face a threat, we get scared, we get stressed, and we go through our responses,” clinical psychologist and author of Detox Your ThoughtsAndrea Bonior, Ph.D., tells SELF. “Hopefully, we use good coping strategies to get through, but in the very least, the threat eventually goes away and our physiological stress response can reset back to our baseline. The difference here is that we haven’t gotten to reset but everything keeps accumulating anyway.”

Surviving 2020 & covid
That’s 2020 in a nutshell isn’t it? Everything keeps accumulating….

The article has some specific tips you can take to improve your current anxiety levels. Like so many other articles in the vein part of the article, sadly is devoted to the popular notion of “just think of things differently”. I mean I hear and see this in nearly every narrative on mental health issues I am compelled to yell out “IF I COULD THINK OF THINGS DIFFERENTLY I WOULD”

I mean it’s almost as if some of these authors think people with anxiety and mental health issues aren’t aware of this simple yet extremely difficult concept. Yes it would be wonderful to get to that place, I mean in the end that’s what most of us are working toward aren’t we? I digress. The article does have value, there are some very good pieces of advice in here and I don’t want to dismiss the whole thing out of hand because of one conceptual issue I have with the prose. The article correctly lists as its first tip “Focus on getting enough sleep”. This is probably the easiest single thing individuals can do.

The Importance of Sleep
The Importance of Sleep can’t be understated.

I know for some falling asleep is a chore but the point here is you can try and sleep more. Naps, earlier bed times, later awake times. No Dr needed, no medications, you just need a place to lay down. Simplistic? Yes maybe but increasing your sleep just helps all facets of your mind, body and spirit in my opinion.

The article does do a decent job of giving empathy between the lines, the author seems to get it that Mental Health and Anxiety are a constant struggle. She does a great job of talking out the “just think differently” narrative that we aren’t offended or ready to shout like I proposed earlier in the piece. I think articles like this are important for those of us with anxiety and mental health issues to visit regularly.

Yes some of it is redundant but sometimes redundancies drive the point home. We all need a hand in getting through 2020 and looking beyond. I’ve had a bad year, not as bad as some, worse than others but I am committed to pushing forward and I’m looking to pull inspiration from any source I can get. I hope this post, and the article cited gives you some inspiration to push ahead too.

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New Years Resolutions?

It’s a new year, a new decade  and as is tradition many of us set out resolutions/goals we want to achieve. Often this ends in failure and not because we don’t try, but because we stumble, get off track and or create resolutions that are too lofty for us to attain.

This will be a short post today, but I want to give you 3 New Years Resolutions that you can absolutely do that will benefit you.

  1. Resolve to sleep more: Naps, getting in bed 15 min earlier or getting up 15 min late it doesn’t matter. If you can increase your sleep, you will improve your overall health. I expand on sleep in a prior post here :
  2. Exercise more: Take the stairs, walk the dog, mow the lawn…. You don’t have to go to the gym (you can of course) but more exercise is good for you and it doesn’t take a monumental effort to increase your activity. Literally, TAKE THE STAIRS, if not maybe start weight training! I talk about some of the benefits here
  3. Keep a “to do” journal: No not a running narrative of what you did minute by minute, I mean a simple notebook where each day you write down the things you need to get done. Literally list them 1-2-3-4 etc. So, date, then 5-10 things you need to get done. Some days you will get 1 done some days 10, but you will always have a running list of notes you need. I talk about the benefits of this here:

Of course, you can set any resolutions/goals you want but when you start small, your chances of success are much higher. You are doing awesome ! one day at a time ! It would be wonderful if you would consider sharing this post with your network, I truly appreciate your support of my blog !

The Importance of Sleep

Anxiety Cure all = Sleep

Yes, we are back on the sleep train again. The more sleep you get the better health you will be in. There are articles upon articles about exercise and diet, but we often neglect the third key component to health and that is sleep. If you are like most people you don’t sleep more than 6-7 hours a day. The sweet spot for sleep is 7-9 if you can achieve that then you’re winning the battle. My self I am hovering right around 5-6 and am working on increasing the amount of sleep I get

I found a good article here  about how sleep or lack of effects your anxiety levels.

From the article: The researchers scanned the brains of 18 healthy young adults in two experimental sessions, during which they watched video clips depicting ‘aversive’ scenarios, designed to elicit an emotional response.

One of these sessions occurred in the morning, after the participants enjoyed a full night of sleep. The other session took place on another morning, after they’d stayed up all night in the laboratory, doing things like reading, watching movies, and playing board games (while being monitored to ensure they didn’t rest).

After the sessions, the participants had their anxiety levels measured by a psychological test called the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and the results showed the sleepless night effectively triggered a 30 percent increase in anxiety levels.

“Notably, 78 percent of all participants in the sleep-deprived condition reported an increase in anxiety, confirming a robust impact of sleep loss on the escalation of anxiety in healthy individuals,” 

Let me say off the bat, that a study of 18 young adults is hardly a large clinical sample but its absolutely a start. The article, and study really get in-depth on the observations and reactions produced. Even for a nonscientist we can make the logical conclusion that more sleep = better outcomes in the context of anxiety.

It sounds simple right? Sleep more. I know it isn’t, I’m fighting that battle as well. I think making sleep a priority is critical for everyone, particularly those of us with stress. So, if you can, knock off the PC or phone 15-30 mins earlier. Start there. As an example, I am trying to commit to hard deadlines. 10PM weeknights (Sun-Thursday) I shut down the PC, I’d like to get to 9:30 but for now its 10PM. Weekends (Friday and Saturday night) its 12PM.

Now I use a setting on my PC that puts it into sleep mode, like an alarm clock on the weekdays. So, If I am on at 10PM the PC begins to shut down. My issue? I sit and look at my cell phone in bed for 15-20 min after that…

I’m no saint here but I’m working on it. See if you can carve out another 15-30 min in the evening where you go to bed earlier and stick with it.

The Svefnthorn – An old pagan trick to better sleep

As suffers of anxiety one of the best remedies we have to battle the condition with is sleep. Sleep is a wonderful, natural elixir for the soul. Your body, mind, spirit all refreshes after a good nights sleep. For the non pagans who read this blog, this is not meant to be an affront it is rather a part of our ancestors mythic past.

A wise man once said to me “today’s religion, is tomorrows myth” I wonder if the Romans thought that when pontificating about Zeus? For those of us with European heritage it is likely some of your beliefs or family traditions are derived or harken back to old Norse pagan practices.

The Svefnthorn (Old Norse svefnþorn, “sleep thorn,” ) is a symbol that features in several of the Norse sagas and in folkloric magical formulas recorded long after the Viking Age. During the viking age, many people still held pagan beliefs as Christianity had not yet taken a firm hold. The sleep thorn was a prominent rune stone that nearly everyone had, you placed it under your head to ensure you would sleep well. They believed that a good sleep was the key to a successful day.

The point? Not much has changed. A great nights sleep is paramount to a successful day. More over, as someone with anxiety we need the best sleep we can get and if that means reaching back to our ancestors to achieve it why not?

The next time you are riddled with anxiety, remember throughout history sleep has been a remedy for so many ails. Some of your pagan friends still practice this “trick to better sleep”

You are doing great, one day at a time.

Kemst þó hægt fari.
(You will reach your destination even though you travel slowly.)

India

For my friends in India

Like many bloggers who are new I look at my analytics daily. I have a lot of “traffic” from India. I was curious as to why and after rummaging around a little bit I found this article that might explain it.

From the article: “According to Money control, the survey further revealed that 95 per cent of Indian millennials between the age group of 18-34 are stressed compared to the global average of 86 per cent. Making matters worse, one in eight Indians have serious trouble in dealing with stress but nearly 75 per cent of the Indian respondents said they don’t feel comfortable talking to a medical professional about their stress. Consultation cost was cited as one of the biggest barriers to seeking professional help.”

Now this data I believe is from 2015, I can’t imagine it changed dramatically so wow. I’m not going to profess to understand the nuances of India culture or the daily life of people many miles away from me. That said I’m hopeful that my blog offers something in the way of hope. I am a Gen Xer I’m almost 50 now. I have been where you are (to my millennial friends) and I can say absolutely that things only get better when you make them better.

I know that’s probably not exactly what you wanted to hear. Age doesn’t always translate into wisdom, and wisdom often translates to peace of mind. So how do you obtain wisdom? Through experience. It doesn’t matter how old you are, what culture you are in, the more you do something the more you get comfortable with it. The bottom line? Hang in there. Life happens and while there is no guarantee that things are going to get better, there is no guarantee that things will get worse either.

Here are 3 things I have done throughout my life that have always had a positive effect on my stress.

  1. Sleep: get as much sleep as you can. A rested body and a rested mind are paramount to spiritual health. Take a nap, go to bed early, sleep late. Squeeze as much sleep as you can out of your day.
  2. Save money: I don’t care if it’s a rupee a week, save what you can. When you do this, you create the financial conditions by which recovery from mistakes or problems becomes easier. You also create the conditions of financial security which is critical for relieving stress. When you have money in the bank, you will be more at ease.
  3. Remembering You are not alone: There are people all over the world with crap lives, stress, and just general problems that make the day to day very stressful. Russians, Americans, Indians South Africans…. You are not alone, and you are not a bad person because you have stress and anxiety.

I am honored that a large segment of the people that come to my blog are from India. You are welcome here. I hope you get some measure of relief from my work. You are doing great! Remember, one day at a time.