Honestly, the last week of school was the toughest. Similarly, the last weeks of the year are the toughest. There were tears and triumphs when completion was near. We can turn over our calendars and either feel joy of a new year or the anxiety of things we didn’t get to do (or overwhelm of all that we are going to do).
All the “feels” come pouring out. Just like this →
In times like these, my anxiety can reach an all time high and I have found tips like these come in handy, time and time again. Tips like “notice your breath” or “go for a run” don’t really work for me. I feel like if I focus too much on the breath, it might stop or I’m not getting enough air. Often it is about settling the mind into the body rather than burning off excess steam. But if going for a run helps you, lace up!
Mix + Match | 8 Ways to Calm Anxiety in the Moment:
1. Take a few deep belly breaths:
- Hands on your lower abdomen, breathe fully into hands. Repeat.
2. Do a check-in:
- Do I need food? Have I had enough protein or good fats today? Stabilizing blood sugar is important.
- Water? Do I need a glass of water? A cup of herbal tea? (see #6)
3. Clean or tidy something!
- I love washing the dishes to help calm my mind by focusing on the warm water and the physical sensation of my hands washing each dish with care.
- BUT try not to think that everything needs to get done. Just focus on one simple task, one load of dishes (not the whole kitchen). It will all get done eventually, but now is not the time.
4. Take a warm shower:
- If your shower head has the option for pulse mode or strong stream, switch to that option.
- Start with your hands, hold them into the stream (you can do one by one or both together)
- Say OUT LOUD: “These are my hands and they belong to my body”
- Be as specific as you can, you could do palms then the back of the hands.
- Move through your body, head to toe, repeating for each body part.
- Notice how each body part tingles and truly belongs to you.
5. Go for a short walk:
- Notice the birds and trees along with the colours and sounds.
- Get outside. Get out of your head.
- Smile at people walking by.
6. Reduce caffeine intake:
- This one is huge for me. I have noticed that I consume more coffee when I’m already not feeling very balanced. This can send the nervous system into overdrive and the body then responds in a fight, flight or freeze mode. Try herbal tea with chamomile, lemon balm or holy basil.
7. Yoga (of course):
- Skip the Sun Salutations (they might over stimulate) and do some standing poses. Feel strong in your body and legs.
- Try a balancing pose like Tree pose and stretch your arms overhead.
- End with restorative poses like Child’s pose, Legs-Up-the-Wall, Lying twist, Forward fold. Get warm and cozy, I feel calm with the added weight of blankets over me.
- Breathe. But don’t focus on it too much. Instead, focus on the “dropping down feeling,” sink into your feet, sink into the floor, drop the mind into the body.
8. Shake it off:
- Get silly and shake!
- Do one leg then the other. Do one arm up then the other.
- Lay on your back and shake arms and legs in the air (think of a beetle stuck on it’s back)
- Try to laugh about it. It is kinda funny when we shake like that.
As always: seek out professional help if this is ongoing and you need external support.
Here are some resources which helped me to develop my tricks:
What is your #1 trick to calm anxiety in the moment? Comment below!
Certified Nutritional Practitioner & Yoga Teacher
Lindsay is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, with a passion for whole body/mind care. She believes that supporting wellness through nutrition is more than following a diet. Lindsay's years as a yoga teacher and mindfulness practitioner lead to a compassionate multi-dimensional approach to your health and wellness.