Right now, everyone is dealing with “some” type of anxiety. However, I came into 2020 with mine. Looking back, I believe I’ve dealt with anxiety at various levels since I was single digit age.
I started having panic attacks after my divorce when I was in my mid 20’s and have had them on and off ever since—the most recent being in the parking lot of the grocery store last month. If you’ve never had one, it’s hard to explain what it’s like. I will tell you that I’ve ended up in urgent care more than once when the stress in my life sent me into overdrive and I thought I was having a heart attack.
Anxiety is said to be a condition that affects you when you are worried about the future. While that may be true, it’s a little more complicated. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 6.8 million adults have generalized anxiety, and 6 million have panic disorders. They also estimate that 31% of all adults will experience an anxiety disorder in their lifetime. Anxiety symptoms vary from person to person, but mine usually shows up as insomnia, exhaustion, feeling like I’m “on edge,” and difficulty concentrating. These symptoms can show up at any time, so I’ve had to build a tool-kit to help me keep myself even.
One of my main go-to’s is ORGANIC INDIA’s Ashwagandha Tea. I do have a powder that I can put into my smoothies but because I am a tea drinker and love how the ritual of drinking it invites me to slow down and savor, I prefer the tea. Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, which means it can help you manage stress. I won’t even tell you how many times a day I drink it.
I am also a huge fan of deep breathing, meditation and yoga.
Yoga helps to bring me back into my body. As a “Vata” type, it is important that I connect to things that ground me. When I first started teaching yoga over 15 years ago, I was a lot more physical in my approach. As I have gotten older, my body and my brain realize and acknowledge the benefits of slowing down and my flows are a lot calmer. My flows will always include cat/cow, lots of forward folds and child’s pose.
I am also a big fan of balance poses like tree and warrior III. Sometimes I make an entire flow out of it and sometimes I pick and choose which ones I do (sometimes it’s just one pose) based on what I need at the moment.
Anxiety can be complex and frustrating. The most important thing is to offer yourself some grace and have some “go-to’s” (I didn’t readily have hot tea in the parking lot of the store so I used deep breathing) that you can pull from when you feel the anxiety rising. Anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of and is something we can learn to manage (most of the time). Keep trying things until you find what works for you.