Although I wouldn't say I suffer from extreme anxiety or anxiety on a regular basis, I can definitely relate to feeling overwhelmed by life. There are a lot of things people can do to help treat their stress and anxiety. I think its really important for each individual to find ways to cope with this by finding what works best for them. A lot of people told me to try mindfulness meditation, insisting that this had changed their life! After attempting to focus on nothing other than my breathing for a couple of minutes, on several occasions, with no success, I thought there were probably better options for someone with a busy mind and short attention span like myself. I've picked my favorite and most effective practices that I incorporate into my daily life to help when I'm feeling anxious or overwhelmed.
Epsom Salt Baths
Epsom salt baths were something I learned about recently but I was hooked since the first time I tried it. There are two reasons I take weekly, or twice weekly, epsom salt baths. First is to soothe sore muscles. I do high intensity exercise 4-5 times a week and before I discovered this practice, I was constantly sore. I wasn't interested in taking Advil daily, and it turns out that wasn't my only option! On the days I feel the most sore or when I worked out extra hard, I run a bath with water as hot as I can handle and add a few cups of epsom salt. I usually light some candles and soak for at least 20 minutes. Second, magnesium absorption is a huge benefit of an epsom salt bath. Deficiency in magnesium can lead to increased levels of anxiety and depression. I buy my epsom salt from Whole Foods with lavender and other essential oils to promote relaxation.
Diffuse Lavender Essential Oils
Every night about 30 minutes before I go to sleep, I diffuse lavender essential oils. The soothing and calming scent of lavender is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress and anxiety. It is also known to help reduce nervous tension, depression, restlessness and nervous exhaustion. Lavender is also known to promote sleep and reduce insomnia. I'm a person that needs 8 hours of deep sleep every night to perform at my full potential and diffusing lavender every night has improved my sleep quality drastically.
I really gained a more profound love and appreciation for nature when I spent time in Costa Rica. I would say that one of Costa Rican's cultural values is spending time outside and appreciating nature. When I'm in the United States, I live in a city so it isn't as easy to access beautiful mountains and waterfalls to hike to like in Costa Rica. Either way, I try to switch up my workouts and go on runs outside instead of on a treadmill in the gym as often as possible. Sunshine = Vitamin D!
"Eat, Pray, Love"
Just like so many other people, I am guilty of eating out far too often and having no idea where my food comes from. There's nothing wrong with eating out, as long as it's done in moderation. I've found that cooking a delicious meal with a person I love is one of the best simple pleasures of life. Since my boyfriend spent his childhood watching Food Network, he quickly taught me how much better food tastes when you are apart of the cooking process. Go to the store with your boyfriend, your best friend, or your sister. Try to buy local produce - it always tastes better and you're supporting local farmers. I really enjoying buying all of the food we are going to cook together and I think the experience starts when you're buying the food. Turn on music, pour some drinks, and take your time enjoying the experience of cooking. I never knew how enjoyable cooking and eating could be until I gained appreciation for the food, the company, and the process.