Many people experience different levels of stress in some or many aspects of their lives, which can easily turn into chronic stress and even anxiety.
Chronic stress creates a lack of vitality and low function of health in all areas: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, environmental, etc…
We are used to compartmentalizing different aspects of life and ourselves, but stressors on the physical level can affect mental health and emotional stressors most definitely affect physical health. Everything in our life is interrelated like a tightly woven fabric.
In order to reduce stress and anxiety, it is important to tackle factors at every level and in all aspects of our life.
I believe in having a grounded spiritual approach as it can become easy to ‘escape’ in the spirit world in order to avoid dealing with physical problems. But as important as it is to attend to the spirit, so do we need to attend to the body and physical aspects of our life.
I hope these starting points will help you contemplate some of the subtle factors in your life that may have been contributing to your stress and anxiety. It’s impossible to list them all, so it is a good practice to remain open, curious, and willing to look deeply and honestly into your lifestyle and mindset.
The suggestions offered come from what I have implemented in my life and I have found to make a difference. However, what works for me might be different for you. I’d love to hear any tips you have implement in your life in the comment section below. Life hacking is a huge topic and there are a lot of creative ways to make changes and improvements to what we do. The most important point is to take action! Don’t just read and move on…
Make one little change at a time and eventually, you will notice some compounding effects.
I part two I will address more the emotional, mental and spiritual aspects.
Nourishing Your Body
There are a lot of chemicals and additives in processed food which has been known to affect certain hormones and even contribute to anxiety. Eating whole and nutritious food seems basic but is a very important step in managing stress.
I know eating whole food can create its own degree of stress if you feel a lack of time to cook or you don’t enjoy cooking too much. However, there are tricks to make preparing and cooking meals easier.
The first tip is to have a small binder with simple and quick recipes. You can rotate them every few weeks so you don’t have to think every day about what you will cook. You can also make a monthly calendar of recipes with a matching grocery list so there is limited mental energy going into what will be cooked on a daily basis.
You can also precook or precut ingredients to some or all the meals for the week on your day off. You can use this prep time to practice mindful meditation, to listen to an uplifting talk, an audiobook or to pump some tunes that make you happy.
I personally get fresh farm produce delivered to my home weekly or bi-weekly. I like supporting local farmers, having really fresh produce, and reduce my time at the grocery store. I just really love this service.
I also make some freezer meals for when I am too busy to cook. These meals can be put in the crockpot in the morning and are ready when I get home.
Ensure Quality Sleep
Studies have shown that insufficient sleep may have a negative impact on mood and affect, as well as have adverse effects on cardiovascular and immune function (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8657096/ – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10543671/ – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8847159/ – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32085985/)
Quality sleep should be a priority to maintain physical, emotional, and mental health and to alleviate anxiety. Although we can definitely look at mattress quality and the time at which we go to bed, there are many other subtle factors that negatively impact sleep quality.
Blue light from TV and electronics reduces your level of melatonin (sleep-producing hormone) and makes it more difficult for your body to switch into sleeping mode. This can be mitigated by turning off all electronics at least 2 hours before going to bed. I also find LED lighting to be very irritating and have been using incandescent and halogen light bulbs at home.
Using blackout curtains if street lights penetrate your windows.
While you are asleep your body is hard at work restoring itself and it is imperative to limit electromagnetic stressors to give your body the chance to rest by:
- Turning off your phone and keeping electronics out of the bedroom. Or at the very least turn it on the airplane mode (making sure Bluetooth and cell reception are off).
- Limiting the number of appliances plugged in the bedroom in order to reduce dirty electricity and detrimental electromagnetic effect. You may want to get a battery-operated clock or a water clock if you need to have a clock.
- Ensuring that your smart meter or any large appliance isn’t on the other side of a bedroom wall. If so, mitigating the effect with proper shielding and grounding methods.
A course I recommend which is filled with amazing info and tips on reducing electrostress is : https://emfguylearning.com/epf
I also recommend that you energetically cleanse your mattress regularly with smudging. Rosemary seems to be the most effective herb to use for cleansing the average energies imprinted on mattresses. Burn some Rosemary and move the smoke around and over the mattress with the intention of purifying all energies that are non-beneficial. -> make sure to have a dish under your smudge stick to catch the ashes as they fall.
I truly believe in the power of nature and that everything we need can be found in nature through elements like plants, minerals, sun, water, etc..
I am not a huge fan of popping pills, even natural ones, but sometimes we need a little boost. And if one supplement doesn’t seem to do the trick, it doesn’t mean it is ineffective, it might just be that you need to explore other options.
You can often receive great advice for free from qualified staff in health food stores. Otherwise working with a Functional doctor or a Naturopath doctor might be more appropriate for your situation. These professionals will take the time to consider all of your symptoms when making a diagnosis and take a more holistic and rounded approach when suggesting a course of action.
Considering stress and anxiety, I have found that Gaba & Astragalus supplements as well as Vitamin B5 & B6 to be helpful. Make sure you purchase high-quality products and nothing synthetic.
I have also experience great benefit from Valerian Root supplement, Calm Forte homeopathy tablets, and Magnesium spray to help manage my bouts of insomnia. Valerian should be taken early in the evening as it can make you drowsy the next day if taken too late.
When I experienced a high degree of financial and business stress, using flower essence drops of Olive (Bach Remedy) provided instant relief. Olive flower essence is good for physical and mental exhaustion.
Aspen can be good if the source of your fears and anxiety is unknown.
Elm would be good if you feel overwhelmed by your many responsibilities.
Mimulus is for a fear of everyday things, illness, pain, accident or misfortune. Or being fearful or anxious about something specific.
Rock Rose is for fright, panic attacks, terror, hysteria. Extreme terror. It can instill courage and a calm state of mind & help you put things into perspective.
Sweet Chestnut is for those who feel anguish; those at the end of their endurance.
White Chestnut is for obsessive and worrying thoughts that seem impossible to control.
You can find a list of flower essence from Bach with their description: https://www.bachflowerscanada.com/pages/the-38-bach-flowers
Anxiety can also be effectively alleviated with the use of essential oils. Research found that a blend of lavender, roman chamomile, and neroli “significantly” lowered anxiety and improved sleep quality. Learn more about essential oils for anxiety here: naturallivingfamily.com/best-essential-oils-for-anxiety
You may need a few trials and errors before finding the right product or a combination of methods to lower your anxiety. Do not give up easily. There are very effective natural ways to alleviate stress and anxiety that can be explored. Of course, if you are taking medication you should consult a professional to guide you and make sure there is no contraindication to consider.
Managing External influences
There are a lot of little stress triggers in our environment we can be dubious to or haven’t taken steps to manage. This is a small list for you to consider, but you may want to contemplate your home and work environment and take appropriate steps to eliminate or reduce these stress-inducing factors.
- Loud or little irritating noises (could be a buzz from an appliance or light, the clicking of a clock, etc..)
- Your phone notification ring (reduce to a bare minimum the notifications you receive)
- The news and media channels
- Clutter & disorganization
- Broken items
- Unfinished projects
- Repetitive tasks that could be automated or streamlined
- Some lighting such as fluorescent bulbs and CFL (and I personally find LED bulbs very irritating)
Last but not least…
Being Prepared & Having Things in Order
There is an aspect to our being that is there to protect us. That aspect can be very hyper to all forms of treats or potential threats. So it’s important to recognize that it’s not a bad thing on it own but it does need to be managed.
One way to do this is to have actual emergency plans in place. To take some things off your mind and put them down on paper or have some actual action plans in place helps to alleviate the what if. This is a major topic I have started to delve into recently with everything that is going on.
It can bring its own degree of anxiety if one starts to research the topic so one has to be careful and have a balanced approach to it. Some people are really into doomsday and apocalyptic preparedness, but what we want to have in place is some basic real-life emergency preparedness.
Things like creating :
- a good first aid kit (for home, the car, and a mini one in your purse)
- a blackout kit (having candles, matches, flashlight, extra batteries, a card, game set or book to keep busy), a way to cook some food without electricity or having food you can eat that doesn’t require to be cooked – every year I suffer through at least two blackouts because I don’t have anything handy for when I lose electricity. I finally decided to put a box together for those moments.
- having some extra basic supplies of food and paper goods
- having a ready bag in case you need to leave your home quickly (including a copy of your important documents and emergency numbers)
- having a kit for the car as well with bungee cords, jumping cables, flashlight, emergency blankets, gloves, first aid, etc.
- having a box of basic tools, including different types of tape, zap strap, screwdriver, hammer, measuring tape.
- a relaxation, joy or spiritual kit too! with incense, candle, quotes, mala, mini journal, coloring book and crayons, or other things you enjoy
Most sites recommend creating kits to last you 3 days during an emergency.
Creating different bins (food, water, tools, first aid, etc..) in case of an emergency should provide some peace of mind. And I do believe that done right, will relax that survival subconscious program.
This is not only good for emergencies such as natural disasters or power outage, but also having things in stock should you lose your job or need to take an unforeseen extended time off.
This may not apply to everyone, but I think learning some basic traditional skills can also help us feel more empowered. Even more so as women, learning some basic repair and ‘handy’ skills can help us feel we can take care of some things on our own. You may also find a passion for something you didn’t think you would. I loved learning how to make my own bread during the lockdown and learning how to grow a small garden.
I suggest you make the process fun and see it as a learning experience to grow different skills. The goal is to approach it in a way that doesn’t bring more anxiety so as not to go into a state of panic.
Here are a couple of good sites to help you create kits and get organized:
What’s your best life hack?