Self-Care Sunday – Alleviating Anxiety

The latest topic in my Self-Care Sunday series is all about alleviating anxiety. This is the fifth week and you can check out the previous videos below!

Causes of Anxiety

There are many reasons why you may experience anxiety – and the degree to which it prevents you from going about your day can also vary. Addressing underlying issues and past negative experiences can be extremely helpful for working to resolve the sources of anxiety, and it can also be helpful to look to your diet.

Caffeine

Caffeine is one of the most prominent dietary contributors to feelings of anxiety. As a stimulant it can quickly cause feelings of anxiety, or exacerbate existing feelings of anxiety. Also, it can sometimes be easy to mistake the way that caffeine makes you feel for anxiety – as it may increase your heart rate and cause feelings of restlessness.

Alcohol

Some people use alcohol in order to alleviate feelings of anxiety, but doing so can actually become a difficult cycle to get out of. Although drinking alcohol can temporarily soothe these feelings, they will likely surface again once the alcohol leaves your system – causing increased levels of anxiety to return.

When you drink alcohol you are disrupting the natural balance of chemicals in your brain, and this can lead to depression and addiction.

Sugar

Studies have suggested that the presence of sugar in your system can affect how well your body and brain can cope with stress. Although sugar itself does not seem to cause the onset of anxiety, it can make symptoms worse and cause you to feel worse than you would otherwise during an anxious moment.

Furthermore, if you regularly consume sugar and then go without it, your body can actually experience withdrawal which may involve feelings of anxiety.

Your Diet

Taking a close look at your diet and making the conscious decision to remove problem foods can go a long way to helping alleviate your anxiety.

In the following video I talk more on the topic of Alleviating Anxiety! Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel whilst you’re there so you can be automatically alerted about future videos in my Self-Care Sunday series!

Also, if you have seen my new wellness for women membership site – Truly Julie – then you will know that I am on a mission to inspire and motivate women to become healthier and happier – and I would love it if you would join me on this journey as we move towards the end of 2017!

Is Your Diet Triggering Your Anxiety?

Anxiety is a very real but often invisible mental health problem that affects a large number of people throughout their lives. Official estimates suggest that at least 18% of the population will experience some form of ongoing anxiety problem in their lives. In previous blog posts I have discussed physical ways in which we can combat anxiety but today I want to address dietary issues that can make it worse. When a person is already suffering with an anxiety disorder, it is incredibly important not to add to this problem. There are several dietary triggers that are easy to avoid and in doing so you can potentially promote a greater sense of calm and control.

Sugar is a big one when it comes to our mood. Consuming even small amounts of refined sugar can wreak havoc with our energy levels and state of mind. This is because it causes a rapid boost in blood sugar which is then inevitably followed by a crash. When this crash occurs we can experience fatigue, irritation and anxiety. Avoiding sugar altogether and eating foods which regulate our blood sugar, as opposed to spiking it, will help us avoid this problem.

Caffeine is known to be a trigger for people with anxiety. Drinking too much coffee can have powerful stimulant effects and for many people it does become a sort of addiction. When you drink coffee you become more alert and this can lead us to overthink certain situations. Even if you do not recognise this as a trigger for your anxiety, try avoiding it for a couple of days and monitor your mood during this time. You may find that you are calmer and more relaxed throughout the day.

As well as avoiding sugar and coffee you should certainly check if you are getting enough sleep. People who have an anxiety issue can often find it more difficult to get to sleep but then this lack of sleep can cause the anxiety to intensify. This vicious cycle of sleep deprivation can be incredibly damaging to your mental health and it is important to try and get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Yoga and meditation late in the evening are both positive ways to promote relaxation and encourage sleep. Try 30 minutes of either practice before bed and see if this makes a difference to your sleep pattern. You might also find that without sugar and caffeine sleep comes more easily to you!

If you eradicate sugar and caffeine from your diet but still find that your energy is low and your mood is unstable, then it would be advisable to analyse the rest of your diet. Make sure you are eating a variety of wholesome, plant-based foods that will keep your blood sugar steady throughout the day. Also, make sure that you do not skip a meal and try to include some healthy snacks during the day. You will keep your metabolism stimulated as well as satisfying your stomach and mind!