While on my three-month rebalancing routine, I stuck to these tips. I found that they helped me so much that I now follow them daily.
1. Eat breakfast
Anxiety will deplete already low levels of energy, so you want to make sure you start your day off right. Breakfast helps fuel you from the get-go, making it the most important meal of the day. Choose something high in energy like granola or porridge, and include a banana.
2. Cut out caffeine
If you think caffeine helps to wake you up, you’re wrong. All caffeine does is bring you back to the state you should already be in. Yes, it’s a stimulant, but you don’t need it. All caffeine is good for is fuelling anxious thoughts. Be aware that tea, like coffee, contains high levels of caffeine. Ideally, seek alternatives like decaffeinated drinks and herbal teas.
If you can’t imagine a life without caffeine (and I’m including this section because there are plenty of people who think this), the theory of BALANCE means you should be able to do what you like, including drinking caffeine. My advice is to do your best to cut out caffeine in the rebalancing period (around three months), because it’s highly likely, in your anxious state of mind, that caffeine will have a negative effect on you. Like anything else, if you choose not to change your habit and continue to drink caffeine, please don’t waste your time wondering why your anxiety isn’t improving. Change often means sacrifice. All sacrifices are harder to make at the start, but get easier with time.
3. Drink lots of water
Drink lots and lots of water throughout the day. It flushes the toxins out of your body and gives you energy – which compensates for the fact you might visit the toilet a little more frequently!
4. Snack at regular intervals
Keep your energy levels consistent throughout the day by snacking at regular intervals. Snack on nuts, vegetables, fruit or any food that is high in energy.
5. Eat bananas
Potassium in bananas helps to balance the sugar levels in your blood, and the carbohydrates in bananas help keep energy levels consistent, so try to eat two or three spread across the day. I appreciate that eating lots of bananas isn’t easy, but make an effort to eat at least one (in the morning). You can also vary it a little by eating other foods that are high in potassium, such as deep-sea fish, yogurt and avocados.
I struggle to fit the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day into my diet, so I came up with a solution – juicing. I have a set vegetable juice I drink every day that includes:
It takes me fifteen minutes to make, and seconds to drink. My big tip is to get a decent juicer. Cheaper juicing machines tend to make a mess and don’t do a great job. Try not to juice too much fruit, because it’s not good for you (I’m told it has something to do with the high sugar content). If you find an all-veg juice not sweet enough, add an apple. Experiment and see what you prefer!
7. Cut out junk food
Eating too much unhealthy junk food will slow you down, reduce your energy levels and make you feel sluggish – the perfect breeding ground for anxiety. It’s also worth noting that spicy food can increase anxiety. (Like caffeine, it can produce symptoms associated with panic.) I’ve never fully trusted fast food for a number of reasons, including animal welfare and what actually goes in the food, so it’s easy for me to avoid it. I can appreciate its convenience, but it can be just as quick and easy to prepare healthy, nutritious meals at home.
If you do decide to treat the kids at the weekend, or avoiding fast-food outlets is impossible for you, most chains have picked up on the fact that people want a healthy alternative to their triple decker, double- bacon-and-blue-cheese special burger. For example, you can buy a salad bowl at Subway. These can be just as fulfilling as one of their foot-longs. They fill you up, they’re a lot healthier, and they don’t make you feel as bloated – all perfect for reducing anxiety, increasing your energy and achieving BALANCE.
8. Chew your food and eat more slowly
Make your food easier to digest by chewing it more and eating more slowly. By chewing more you also trick your brain into thinking you’re eating more than you actually are – which is great for losing a few pounds.
9. Get a good night’s sleep
Your body needs sleep for effective digestion. Poor sleeping patterns (or no sleep) will disrupt the process and aid the fear cycle. The average amount of sleep an adult needs is eight hours, although we’re all different, so you should gauge what you need based on how you feel when you wake up. Sleeping too much, or too little, will not only affect your digestion, but also cause other anxiety-related symptoms. If you choose to prioritise any of these tips, it should be this one – without it, none of the other tips are useful.
I don’t know about you, but I’m always happy to hear about foods that can enhance my mood.
Low levels of folic acid has been linked to depression, and the good news is asparagus has plenty of folic acid, which means asparagus could be good for depression and lifting your mood.
Apparently, asparagus is also good for increasing libido (I’ll leave that with you).
Instead of using bread as dipping soldiers for your egg, use asparagus.
Here’s a recipe from Jamie Oliver: Dippy Eggs & Asparagus Soldiers
Blueberries might just be the stress buster you’re looking for…
Blueberries are full of vitamin C, and we need vitamin C when we’re stressed because it helps repair our cells. They’re also packed with antioxidants that help repair and protect our cells.
I particularly like blueberries at breakfast with yogurt and granola. They’re a versatile fruit that you can have at any time of the day, so when and where can you fit them in your diet?
If you freeze blueberries you can have them as a cold snack.
Avocados are full of vitamin B, potassium, and monounsaturated fat - all things that can help reduce anxiety and stress.
We need vitamin B for healthy nerves and brain cells, and feeling anxious and stressed can be linked back to vitamin B deficiency.
Potassium & Monounsaturated Fat
Both potassium and monounsaturated fat balance sugar levels in our blood, and help reduce blood pressure.
Here’s a quick avocado salad recipe (serves 2 and takes about 10mins):
4 cos lettuce leaves, chopped
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 radishes, finely sliced
2 spring onions, finely sliced
50g cucumber, cut into small cubes
25g flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
25g mint leaves, coarsely chopped
1 avocado, chopped into chunky pieces
For the dressing
½ garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
This avocado salad recipe goes great with fish (like mackerel). You can find lots of other avocado recipes here.
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