I have had my battles with anxiety. As I have grown up, I have learned that bringing on more responsibilities and growing up causes more and more anxiety, at least for me. If you follow me on snapchat (@cvbentleyfit), you saw I finally went and opened a bank account for my business. This may not seem like a huge deal to some of you, but for me its a big step towards creating the empire I envisioned so long ago. I no longer wanted to hide behind my husbands corporation and actually have something of my own all in my name solely. The scary part is now I have employees, now I have a responsibility to hit certain numbers every month and make concrete decisions with how my business will run. Also, since I have lived overseas most of my adult life taxes were different and now I have to learn about how that all works. This is the scary part and a reason I knew this blog post was needed as I had mentioned this to many and the same response was “WOW that sounds like the definition of anxiety…”
Anxiety is not new for me. As a small child, I was put on anti-depressants, which did nothing for me as I still was depressed. I spent most of my life depressed and up until recently had experienced a depressed cycle once again. I am not a doctor so if you are on prescribed anti-depressants please do not stop taking them just because of some of the suggestions I will make below. The pills these doctors gave me always had side effects, ones I immediately saw if I went off the pills which would make me withdrawal and crave them once more. I believe I have been suppressing my emotions and having to actually deal with how I feel made me feel weak. Now that I have tools like meditation and a squat rack, I feel empowered and this weak feeling is for the most part not with me. I also use these tips and tricks which can be used as an addition to heal your anxiety and depression.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is simply the fear of the unknown. We wrap ourselves up in the fear of outcomes, the fear of thoughts or what other people will think, the fear of falling and failing. These are all fears and ones that happen to everyone and go through all of our minds even the most successful people. It is how you manage these feelings that makes you a stronger human being. Depression and anxiety usually go hand and hand. While I would love to say I never experience anxiety anymore, I do, I just have learned how to do breathe, do a dance and laugh at myself instead.
How to Manage Anxiety Naturally:
You know when you just take a deep breathe, like in yoga class and just feel a huge weight lift off your shoulders? Well, that is one thing I do on the regular and use when I start fearing the unknown. Watch this video, it shows you two ways to calm yourself down. The first action where I put my finger tips underneath my chin was taught to me by naturopath and energy healer, Olivia McAllister who I interviewed for The Fit Fierce and Fabulous podcast. She taught this to me and it instantly made me calm. I now do this when I drive or get frustrated at my computer and it immediately puts me at ease. It is such an odd thing to do but it works! The second one is a breathing practice I developed while living in Thailand. The most important thing is to really hold your in for the full 5 counts and the out the same. My teacher at the time could do this for a full 30 count but I still have yet to break 10 seconds so I normally do 5. The flow of energy in and out feels amazing and instantly calms you down and energizes you at the same time. You have to try it to see what I mean!
Drink Calming Tea
If you are experiencing anxiety in your life, the last thing you need is caffeine and sugar. You need foods that ground you, you need to drink warm soothing drinks like tea and bone broth. Valerian tea, ashwagandha tea/herbs and lavender are three teas and herbs you should include in your diet. If you remember my journey with adrenal fatigue, I used ashwagandha herbs to heal my adrenals and calm me down. I do not take these on the regular any longer but when I have a lot going on or just feel drained I begin to take them again and make sure to sniff some lavender before bed to completely zen me out.
This has been my savior after a long week. The Fit and Fabulous Club girls and I have dedicated Sunday’s to self-care. There are weeks I work myself until my eyes swell and I just know that having a bath to look forward to before I do it all over again starting Monday is just what I need. This past month has been balancing a lot of projects which I am so blessed to be able to do but I definitely need that bath time and break. I love putting on classical music, a Korean face mask preferably SK-II hydrating mask, a hair mask and some lavender essential oils or a Nature’s Earth Cosmetic bath bomb (either will do). The full 15-2o minutes of bliss and me time is the exact thing I need before starting the grind Monday morning. If a bath sounds out of the question due to your lifestyle, try putting on a face mask and sniffing some essential oils instead. It really is that moment of just taking care of you that calms your nerves and gives you a moment to look forward to when work life gets tough.
Not kidding. Sometimes I put on my wireless Beats by Dre, turn on some Missy Elliott or Black Eyed Peas and dance. The amount of energy that comes from that 2-3 minutes and the high vibe energy I feel throughout my body is contagious. This is a technique I use when I start to feel drained, tired and half asleep. Dancing is like coffee, it’ll immediately get you out of a funk, put you in an amazing mood and get you through the rest of your day with a smile on your face. In Bangkok I used to have to get in a taxi cab at 5:40 AM in the morning and I was going through crazy hormonal issues so I was a hot mess. I had Black Eyed Peas “Pump It”, Missy Elliot’s “Work It” and JLo “Get On The Floor” downloaded to my Samsung Galaxy. I would literally be dancing in the back of the cab by myself in the dark without a care in the world, this boost of music literally switched my mood and put me in this fun happy place that I loved to be in. I still to this day do this, it can turn my day around in the matter of seconds and that extra blood flow gets you pumped back up!
5 Second Rule
I most recently listened to a podcast from my favorite Lewis Howes (School of Greatness) and he had Mel Robbins on who wrote a book (you can grab it here) on a speech she spoke at TED about the 5 second rule. The technique is simple, its about breaking down your fears 5 seconds at a time. When you come to a fear, you close your eyes and just count down from 5-4-3-2-1 and right when you say 1 you do what needs to be done. As I was launching my podcast, I was experiencing a lot of anxiety. My podcast is from my heart, its raw, its real and its a bit scary to put yourself out in the world in that way. It can be a lot easier to just put up a filter but that’s not what I wanted to do with Fit, Fierce and Fabulous. This caused me a fear of not knowing if people will like it and actually caring about that caused me stress and anxiety. For me it was counting down to push publish, it was counting down to send emails sharing my podcast link, it was counting down to email potential guests and the list goes on.
How to Implement These Tips
One thing I would love to say is try all of them, and you should. If you are someone who gets overwhelmed easily, try one. Maybe dedicate a slot a week to take a bath or try sipping on tea before you go to bed. These tips will all add up in the end and I hope you take them seriously to help ease your anxiety overall.
So I wanna know…
- Are you someone who experiences anxiety?
- Have you tried any of these tips before?
Photos by: Leon Cruz