Right now things are a little…stressful. Maybe it’s the ever crazy holiday season, the constant pandemic stress, supply chain and staffing shortages that pervade everything, or just your usual family challenges. Whatever the triggers may or may not be, many of us are feeling a bit anxious these days. So what can you do to help your anxiety? As physicians this is something we get asked by our patients all the time.
While anxiety is a big problem these days, the good news is there are many things you can do to help with anxiety. Some are simple things to add to your daily routine, while others require more of a commitment and the involvement of your doctor. We’ve compiled a list of our top 8 tips to help reduce anxiety:
- Take time to clear your mind. Step away from the stress of your work, home or whatever is the source of your angst. Whether it’s a long walk, a chat with an old friend, or simply hiding in the bathroom for a few minutes, allow your self to separate from the situations that trigger your stress.
- Exercise. Getting your heart rate up and exerting yourself is a great release of some of the many stress hormones that can cause anxiety symptoms if they circulate at the wrong time. Exercise is a great natural way to release these hormones and then keep your body in balance the rest of the time. Getting regular exercise is a great way to feel better, improve your health and improve anxiety symptoms and sleep.
- Sleep. Getting regular and consistent sleep is actually essential to helping your daytime mood. While anxiety can sometimes hinder sleep, having regular wake up times, and good sleep hygiene can also be helpful teaching your body to regulate itself and stay calm at times of stress. Read more here about some of sleep tips.
- Avoid stimulants such as excessive caffeine, cold medications (watch for those containing decongestants such as pseudephedrine), or other known stimulant medications (“diet pills”) or some supplements that are touted for giving “energy”. Many of these products contain high doses caffeine (such as green tea) or even illicit substances that are stimulants.
- Try meditation. Mindfulness and meditation has been shown to be very helpful in reducing anxiety and stress. This can be done in a variety of settings including in person, online or even via phone apps such as Calm.
- Take the right vitamins. Yes, Vitamins can play a role in helping with anxiety. There have been a number of vitamins shown to play a role in anxiety. The best way to get the right vitamins for your individual needs is with a personalized multivitamin. Take our vitamin quiz here to fine out the right vitamins for you.
- Get help. No reason to go this alone! There are professionals out there with expertise. If you are having trouble coping with stress reach out to a professional, be it a therapist, social worker, psychologist or medical doctor. If you have trouble finding these resources start with family or friends. There are also abundant online and phone resources.
- Medication. While prescription medicine for anxiety is a big commitment and requires the supervision of a physician, it can play a useful role in treating anxiety. There are a number of commonly prescribed drugs including short acting ones such as Valium, Xanax, Ativan and other benzodiazepines which are useful and effective in the very short term, but have limitations. These drugs should be used with caution since they are associated with addiction, dependance, sedation and even with dementia if used long term. There are numerous other medicines for anxiety including Zoloft, Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac, Cymbalta, Effexor, Buspar and more. These can be very helpful if prescribed and taken properly but require a commitment to taking daily medication for months to years.
As we head into the holidays, there is no better time to address the stress and anxiety you are facing. Doing so can help you better enjoy what should be a happy and pleasant time of year. Finding ways to help your anxiety now can also make for a better start to 2022. Many people look to the New Year as a time to work on self improvement and their health. There is no better start to this than addressing your mental health.
The bottom line, is you need not walk around stressed and anxious all the time. There is much help available and many things you can try to help anxiety. Treating anxiety can be a great way to improve your overall health. Consider getting the right vitamins to also help find your best health.
Romy Block specialises in Endocrinology and Metabolism and is mother to three active adolescent boys. Arielle Levitan is a Doctor of Internal Medicine with a special interest in Preventive Medicine and Women’s Health. She is a mother of three teenagers. As professional women with active family lives, they recognise that people often neglect their own health needs and are uncertain about what vitamins to take. Each person is different in her diet, exercise and health history, and will benefit from different nutrients. After years of advising their patients about the proper vitamins to take, Drs. Block and Levitan created Vous Vitamin® to provide people everywhere with quality vitamins that are suited to their individual needs. They are authors of the award winning The Vitamin Solution: Two Doctors Clear Confusion About Vitamins and Your Health (She Writes Press, 2015). Take your vitamin quiz now to get exactly the right vitamins for your needs.
The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products offered by Vous Vitamin® are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Nothing contained herein is intended to be a diagnosis or constitute medical advice. The symptoms described in this Blog may be a result of a serious medical condition which requires medical treatment. You should consult with your doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in this Blog and before beginning any vitamin or supplement regimen.