10 natural ways to help lower anxiety when you’re short on time
4 minute read
Do you often feel overwhelmed and anxious? You struggle to find the time to relax and when you manage to you find it hard to really switch off. Here’s ten quick ways to help you feel less anxious.
Close your eyes and take 10 big deep breaths exhaling each one through your mouth. Picture the anxiety leaving your body as you breathe out. If you are at home and have scented plants such as Lavender growing in your garden then inhale their scent as you do it. It works as an anxiety reliever and increases relaxation and calm.
This tip can be used wherever you are, at your desk before a big meeting, on the tube, dealing with a screaming toddler who won’t put their clothes on (me this morning 🙈).
Your breath is a powerful free tool, use it.
2. Dance it out
Put your favourite upbeat song on and shake it like you mean it. Not only will you get the good vibes from the song but the shaking of your body will actually help get rid of the anxiety. I keep a ‘High Vibes’ playlist for this exact purpose.
Need some inspiration?
A couple of my faves:
💃🏽 Calvin Harris and Rihanna- This is what you came for
💃🏽 Taylor Swift- Shake it off
💃🏽 Katy Perry- Firework
💃🏽 Whitney Houston- I wanna dance with somebody
💃🏽 Clean Bandit and Jess Glynne- Rather be
💃🏽 Katy Perry- Roar
💃🏽 Kelis and Andre 3000- Millionaire
3. Get your heart pumping
This is more of a consistent activity rather than to be done in the midst of a panic attack. 20 minutes of exercise that raises your heart rate will get rid of the anxiety and give you that lovely warm post exercise glow. Done first thing (even with a toddler running about) allows you to feel calmer for the rest of the day and helps you to manage your anxious feelings better.
I highly recommend Jemma’s Health Hub if you are new to or just getting back into exercise after a break. She is a huge advocate for exercising for your mind rather than to lose weight.
4. Go for a walk in nature
Take yourself alone or with the family for a big walk. Spending time in nature surrounded by green is known to reduce stress and anxiety levels. Breathing the fresh air into your lungs and taking time to notice the changing colours of the leaves in autumn, new buds forming in spring or the frost on bare branches in winter can help you reconnect with nature and yourself. Collecting treasures on your walk can be a really good way to anchor yourself back into that moment when you feel anxious. The smooth brown skin of conkers is especially good for this.
5. Have a proper hug
Yikes, Human contact you say? We are tactile beings by nature and in a busy modern world we rarely get the time to have a proper hug. A quick kiss and a squeeze on the way out the door, or at the school gates is as much as many of us get.
When you are feeling anxious ask your partner, one of your kids or a close friend or family member to hold you for at least a minute, body to body with arms wrapped around you and just breathe into it. This will get the oxytocin and dopamine flooding into your brain and help you to feel calmer and happier.
6. Reduce caffeine intake
A phrase that strikes fear into the hearts of every over tired parent in the land. Notice also that I didn't say cut out caffeine completely. If you can, great. But if you struggle, just reducing those multiple cups of tea a day to 1 or 2 will help your anxiety levels no end.
Replacing your teas and coffees with water will (over time) help you to feel more awake and alert and help keep those anxious thoughts at bay.
7. Write it out
Ever feel like your thoughts are just whirring round in your head with nowhere to go? GET THEM OUT! You will feel so much better for getting them out onto a page. There are loads of journaling apps online, or just grab a pen and paper and get scribbling. Don’t overthink it, just write.
I’m a huge fan of The Imperfect Life Planner by Kerry Lyons. It’s a goal based planner that has daily sections to help you plan, celebrate your achievements (yes every day) plus sections to prompt you when you’re feeling stuck and so much more!
8. Get enough sleep
Easier said than done when you are feeling anxious and running through everything you have to do tomorrow. Here are a few tips to help you slide off into the land of nod:
😴 No screens for an hour before bed
😴 In fact, invest in an old school alarm clock and keep your phone out of the bedroom.
😴 Read a book to wind down
😴 Take a hot bath, as your body temperature drops you will start to feel sleepy.
😴 Open the window to get some cool fresh air in your room.
9. Cuddle an animal
Probably not something scary like a crocodile! But cuddling something cute releases serotonin and dopamine into your body which creates an almost instataneous calming effect. Really good for those days when you are feeling really anxious and need to find calm quickly. Holding and stroking your pet allows you to bond and connect with him or her and fulfills the human need for touch mentioned earlier. No pet? No problem, head to your local cat cafe (yes it’s a thing) and have a cuppa while you cuddle a kitty.
10. Sow some seeds
All you need is some compost, an old yoghurt pot with some holes in the bottom and some seeds and you’re good to go. Focusing on sowing your seeds, watering and tending to your plants as they grow boosts your mood. Gardening is a form of active rest which means that your brain is active enough to complete the task at hand but not so active that it becomes stressed. This allows you to calm your busy mind.
If you’d like to get sowing some seeds but you don’t have time to get to the garden centre. Join Mind in Bloom Box, the UK’s only mindful gardening subscription box today and everything will be sent to you in the post. Along with instructions on how to garden mindfully for maximum relaxation benefits.