Many of us in recovery suffer with anxiety. It comes as part of the package of feelings we experience. It also waxes and wanes as we experience different moments and milestones in our recovery. Today, I am in the waxing phase. I’ll share with you how I am coping and my top tips to support recovery.
I am suffering with acute anxiety. In just four weeks, I move to the US. That isn’t just a move to a different state, it’s a move to a different continent! It is 4741 miles. When I decided on this move, some six months ago, it was at arm’s length; I knew it was coming, but it was far enough away to not feel overwhelmed by its enormity. Today, I am in the midst of it. There is no going back. I have sold most of my possessions and I have just two suitcases to bring with me. My flights are booked and my hotel reserved. It is happening. And it is doing so at lightning speed.
Some days, my anxiety feels like it is in my throat. I feel consumed by it – can’t breathe. I feel at the precipice and the only way is up, because the road behind is crumbling. With all my might and determination, I am digging deep and using every ounce of faith and courage to keep on.
A Strategy for Anxiety
Here are my top tips for coping with anxiety:
Determine the cause of your anxiety.
For me, it is the enormity of my relocation. At other times, it can be a new job, or travelling. If it something I can change, like a relationship that isn’t working, or overly stressful job; I do what I can to change those situations. The rest, I do what I can to weather the storm.
Eating well is one of the best ways to deal with stress and anxiety. These particular foods will help:
- Seaweed – high in tryptophan (a calming effect) and magnesium (calms nerves and anxiety and provides energy)
- Acai berries – rich in phytonutrients (plant nutrients) and antioxidants (chemicals that prevent cell damage), which are great for immunity;
- Almonds – rich in zinc (for balancing mood) and iron (low iron levels are thought to affect lack of energy and anxiety);
- Dark chocolate or raw cacao – known to reduce cortisol (the stress hormone that causes anxiety symptoms). It also contains compounds that improve mood;
- Blueberries – rich in vitamins and phytonutrients, and antioxidants that are considered extremely beneficial for relieving stress. Many experts also believe that peaches fall into this category as well, because they have nutrients that appear to have a sedation (calming) effect;
- Whole grains (unprocessed) – also high in tryptophan and magnesium.
Drink lots of water.
Dehydration will add to stress and exacerbate anxiety. Keep a water bottle close by and keep sipping it.
Do something to soothe your nervous system, such as restorative yoga, taking an Epsom salt bath with candles, meditate, take long walks in nature.
Give yourself credit.
I am terrible at this – if I take a step back and reflect on the bravery and courage it takes to pull off this move, together with a full-time job, recovery, blog and writing commitments, I realize my nerve (and valour).
Keep the faith.
I feel connected with my plan and have sought long and hard to make this work. But this past few months has been curve ball after curve ball and it has really shaken me to the core. To the point where I have repeatedly challenged my decision to move. At times like this, I take time to listen to my intuition and connection to the universe. I then move forward. I know, deeply, that this is the right move for me. So I stay strong in that conviction and have faith in myself.
I have to take care of me, my recovery depends on it.
Dark chocolate avocado mousse
2 large ripe avocados
4 tbsp raw cacao
Grated dark chocolate, or chocolate chips (at least 70%)
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp creamed coconut
Coconut shavings (optional)
- Combine the avocado flesh, cacao, maple syrup and coconut in a food processor and blend until smooth. Store in the refrigerator for 1 hour;
- Before serving, sprinkle with grated dark chocolate/chocolate chips and coconut shavings.