Do you struggle with anxiety and don’t know where to turn for help? You’re not alone. Anxiety affects more than 40 million adults in the United States alone, and it’s prevalent among women. I have suffered from anxiety on and off since the birth of our first daughter and opened up about it for the first time recently on Facebook.
For me the anxiety was postpartum related, and also stems from PTSD from a traumatic birth. (You can read more about my story here.) But many women feel anxiety even if they don’t have kids. We hold onto our feelings and emotions, are always expected to do all the things, and rarely do we have time to process what we’re going through and heal. We also experience hormonal issues through the years, and perimenopause and menopause can bring on anxiety.
Since my post was written about in several publications, I’ve received many messages of encouragement, and many from women asking for help. Let me preface that I am not a health professional, but I would like to share some of the things I do to cope with anxiety. Please note there are several ways to approach this powerful emotion; spiritually, psychologically, and medicinally. This is my choice for managing and ultimately conquering anxiety. Because I do believe we have the power to heal our bodies and our minds.
9 Natural Ways I’ve Coped with Anxiety
I cannot stress enough how important it is to talk to someone if you are truly suffering from anxiety. I first talked to my primary care physician and obstetrician when I was going through postpartum anxiety disorder. They recommended I see a psychologist which helped so much. Now that I’m in perimenopause I ‘ve re-visited her again to help deal with some new issues. There’s no shame in asking for help.
Do you feel anxiety the second you wake up? Like an elephant sitting on your chest? I do, and it just plain sucks. I’ve learned that feeling stems from my thoughts in the morning, thinking of all the things I have to do. It’s called anticipatory anxiety. You know what dulls it? Meditation. If you’ve never tried meditating I highly recommend it. It dissolves the anxiety and sets me up for a peaceful start to the day. I use Simple Habits, but Headspace is wonderful as well. (Here’s a story I wrote after meditating one morning, it’s a very powerful tool.)
I am a huge advocate of journaling. At the end of the day, we all need an outlet to express our emotions. Maybe someone made a sexist comment and it made us angry, or maybe we felt shame or guilt that day, it’s a wonderful way to just get it all out. Seriously, just word vomit on the page as scribbly or neat as you’d like. In addition to journaling, I add what I’m grateful for that day, and also add affirmations to say to myself to help change my thought patterns. This helps me stay present and focus on the positives of life.
You can purchase our gratitude journal here, or get my free printable!
4. Make a List
How many times a day do you feel overwhelmed with everything you have to do in a day? I make a list on Sunday nights of what I want to accomplish that week and break it into days. That way it doesn’t feel overwhelming. Also, it helps to just write down the three key things you want to get done in a day, the rest is just a bonus!
5. Essential Oils
Yes, I’m oily. I used essential oils to help me get pregnant when we did IVF, and I use them now. My favorite blend for anxiety is equal parts Lavender oil, Orange, and Frankincense. Another good blend for anxiety is Valor, Vetiver, Lavender, Cedarwood, and Frankincense. You can put it on your wrists like perfume and smell in that calming scent whenever you want, or diffuse through your home. It really helps me to stay grounded. (If you want to try oils start here!) Here are some more recipes as well!
As much as you hate it, exercise helps not only your body but your mind as well. I never want to work out, but afterward, I’m always so glad I did. It releases endorphins, soothes tension and nerves, and just makes me feel so much stronger. Get moving, and help some of that stress and worry disappear. And it doesn’t have to be boring, swim, hike, dance…just do something you love!
(I also have a Facebook group called Be Who You Want to Be if you want to join for a little motivation.)
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, so before taking anything see your doctor.
I highly recommended anyone struggling with any sort of mental health issue to get a physical and a blood panel. There could be an underlying physical cause that is exacerbating your emotional symptoms.I go to a holistic practice and have adrenal fatigue (yes it’s a real thing), thyroid issues, and use bio-identicals for my early menopause. But additionally, I take the following.
- Ashwagandha – This is an herb that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine in India for several conditions, such as stress, anxiety, and immune support.
- 5-HTP – This is a popular supplement to help with anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders. You can read more about it here.
- Magnesium – I drink Natural Calm each night, it comes in several flavors. Low levels of magnesium can result in fatigue, restlessness, fear, and anxiety.
I also take Folate, B12, and Vitamin D – but did I mention I’m not a doctor?! These were all recommended to me either by my acupuncturist or holistic practitioner.
I started using acupuncture for infertility and obviously, it worked. But it’s also helped me with my perimenopause symptoms and to relieve anxiety. My acupuncturist and healer Dr. Leonor Murciano explains, “Acupuncture helps to reduce anxiety by creating new physical and energetic pathways for the body to release accumulated stress responses that have been habitually resulting in the symptoms of anxiety.” Bottom line, it rocks my world and helps to alleviate feelings of grief, anger, stress, and anxiety and afterward I feel like pure peace. If you couldn’t tell, I love it!
9. Positive Words
I’m obsessed with positive quotes and love to read books that fill my mind with positive strategies. I wrote a post here on my favorite inspirational books, but my favs I often recommend are You Are a Badass, and You Can Heal Your Life.
Several people also turn to anti-anxiety meds. And honestly, if it helps you, take it! Needing a pill does not make you a failure. It’s helped many of my friends, and I have taken it in the past. I personally though would prefer to be as natural as possible and work on healing the root of my anxiety. Anxiety is caused by our thoughts, and by re-framing our thoughts I truly believe we can make a difference in our lives.
I also realize this list may be overwhelming and leave you wondering: How the hell do I pay for all of this? And who has the time? I get it, I do. It’s hard to work through past issues and schedule in self-care. But here’s a little secret…YOU ARE WORTH IT. You matter. If you can even do one of these things, I guarantee you’ll start to feel a little bit better.
Did you like this post? Then please follow along on Facebook. Also, check out Today Anxiety Won.
Or these inspirational books that have helped me.
I love writing and using essential oils! Such simple but very effective ways to combat anxiety. Thanks for sharing this ❤️
You have found some very effective ways to help manage anxiety. It’s very impressive how you have been so proactive and taken control of your mental health!
Kristen Hewitt says
Thank you. I believe in the holistic approach as you can see and believe someday soon I will be free of this powerful emotion.
Kristin clearly something is in the air right now because you’re basically wrote what I needed from my post today!!! I love all these and am getting ready to meditate right now!
Kristen Hewitt says
I hope you are feeling better soon! <3
Anesa Doyle says
Being a professional in the field of psychology, I can’t thank you enough for helping to normalize your struggles with anxiety and providing suggestions on how you can cope in a natural way! I especially love your suggestion of making lists. Although this seems so simple, this allows you to focus on items in your day that you CAN control! Also, the feeling of achievement after you cross an item off the list feels amazing and helps with self management!
Kristen Hewitt says
Yes I love lists! And thank you so much for reading and commenting. I am obviously not a mental health professional, but I am my own advocate. And I think we all take on too much and then don’t have time for ourselves.
What a great resource! I’ve tried a few of these myself and they always seem to help. For me writing ALWAYS helps.
Allie G smith says
I had a scary incident with my special needs son last spring and it unleashed anxiety I never knew existed. I ended up at urgent Care twice with panic attacks. I was convinced I had MS because I tingled all over. After a bunch of tests I was sent to a psychiatrist. I am on medication now, but the goal is not to be. I’m seeing a therapist, exercising again, and using essential oils
I’m trying to meditate, but it’s really hard for me. I’m making sleep priority and my therapist is teaching me all about mindfulness. Thanks for sharing your story.
Kristen Hewitt says
Oh I’m so sorry you struggle. It does feel tingly doesn’t it? Medication does help, and I’m glad you are finding help. Good luck, sending you lots of love.
Awesome and thorough list. Love it. xoxo
Angela Sept Smith says
It was one of those bad anxiety days today … particularly bad morning.
Thank you for this lovely post. I’m going to bookmark it
Lori Gilman says
Kristen great article! I too suffer from panic attacks thanks for some new ideas xox