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!

How To Improve Your Sleep Cycle

If you caught my blog post last week then you will have discovered just how important it is to have an optimum sleep cycle. This is unfortunately not something all of us enjoy, but there are ways to improve the quantity and quality of the sleep that you are having!

Set an Alarm

Your alarm clock is more commonly used to wake you up in the morning, but you can also set your alarm to remind yourself to go to bed. Having a bedtime may sound like something better suited to children, but as adults we can benefit greatly for inviting this kind of routine into our lives. If you get to bed at a reasonable time, then you are much more likely to sleep for longer. You should also then of course set an alarm to wake you in the morning, and try to resist the urge to snooze it when it goes off. Falling back to sleep and then waking again between snoozes can actually leave you feeling groggier and more reluctant to get up and start your day!

Be Conscious of Your Diet

Consuming alcohol or caffeine in the second half of the day can play a part in disrupting your sleep cycle. You may find that these things prevent you from falling asleep with ease, and can also cause you to wake up multiple times during the night. Furthermore, alcohol can continue to have a negative impact on your mood and how you feel physically the following day.

Create the Right Environment

The place in which you sleep can influence how easy it is for you to fall asleep, and also the quality of sleep that you enjoy during the night. The majority of people find it easier to sleep well in the dark, and also in a room that is comfortably warm, but not overly so. If it is impossible for you to sleep in an entirely dark room, then consider investing in a comfortable eye mask. Similarly, if it is not possible to keep your bedroom at an optimum temperature during the night then acquire some suitable clothes for sleeping.

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 keep moving through 2017!

Eating for Younger Skin

The foods that we consume play a big part in how quickly we appear to age. This is due to a range of things, but the consumption of vitamins and minerals that protect the health of our skin is key. There are, of course, other ways that you can look after your skin. Always using sunscreen when you are going to be exposed to the sun, never smoking and being sure to moisturise frequently can help. However, it can be argued that there is no better way to protect your body and your skin then with a healthy diet!

If you are keen to embrace this concept but do not know where to start, then the following tips will help you on your journey to younger looker skin!

First of all, eating a variety of whole grain foods is a great way to increase the amount of nutrients that you consume. This does not have to be a difficult transition at all. Simply replace any refined grain products you eat, such as bread and pasta, with their whole grain counterparts. It always pays to really read the labels when you are choosing your whole grain foods. This is because some products are advertised as being whole grain even though they still contain a certain amount of refined grains.

Swapping your coffee for a green tea will boost the amount of skin-friendly antioxidants in your body. Peppermint tea is a particularly good choice and has been linked to younger looking skin. Including green juices is another fantastic way to go green. Shop around for a juicer and you can enjoy fresh green juices at home every day, even on a budget. Buying a variety of fruits and vegetables in bulk gives you the option to make up a huge batch of juice that can be stored in your freezer as individual portions. Simply take one from the freezer and place in your fridge each night and it will be ready for you in the morning!

Herbs and spices bring a burst of flavour to meals and they also contain their own range of vitamins and minerals. You can grow your own herbs at home in order to always have a supply to hand. Adding herbs and spices to your food is also a natural option for flavouring your food instead of adding salts and sauces, which can be detrimental to your health and your skin.

One of the best things you can do for the appearance of your skin when it comes to your diet, is to bin the processed, packaged foods. These foods are all too often crammed full of sugar and additives, neither of which are going to do your skin any favours. Fried foods are also big health offenders and could contain high levels of trans fats. Processed foods that are advertised as low calorie options are often high in sugar to compensate for the flavour. You are much better off sticking to a primarily plant-based diet that includes a selection of wholesome options. 

It is also important for the appearance of your skin that you stay hydrated throughout the day. The best indicator as to whether you are adequately hydrated is the colour of your urine – the lighter the better! Always drink water regularly throughout the day and keep a bottle with you when you go outside. 

To learn more about nutrition and how it can help you to look younger for longer, head to The Flexi Foodie Academy!

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!