With Covid 19, imminent recession, Brexit, national security threats and pension grabs dominating the headlines, is it any wonder that a recent survey found that 60% of us have insomnia, crave comfort foods and/or feel utterly exhausted as a result of near-constant worrying?
Reduce your worry levels with these simple tips…
1, Tuck Into A Happy, Healthy Diet!
Eating balanced, regular meals will increase feelings of wellbeing and reduce the risk of mid-morning and mid-afternoon mood-dips, when worries always seem even more worrisome.
“Make sure you diet includes foods containing feelgood B vitamins, especially as stress can use up the body’s natural reserves of these nutrients,” says registered nutritionist Rob Hobson. “B vitamins can be found in salmon, potatoes, avocadoes and brown rice.”
2. Talk About It
A worry shared is indeed a worry halved so speak to a close friend about whatever’s worrying you. If your worries are affecting your daily life, your relationships or your health, you should talk to a healthcare professional – perhaps your GP – or contact Anxiety UK’s helpline on 03444 775 774.
3. Set Aside Worry Time!
“Schedule time into your day specifically for worrying,” suggests leading Healthspan psychologist Dr Meg Arroll. “Set a timer for 15 minutes and during this time, worry your socks off! This will allow you to deal with background worry noise, allowing you to concentrate of daily tasks with fewer interruptions from intrusive thoughts.”
4. Sleep More
Night time is when your brain gets a chance to process the day’s happenings and file away any excess concerns. However, if you can’t sleep due to all the worries whirring around your head, you might find it helpful to take a traditional herbal remedy such as A. Vogel Dormeasan® (50m, £10.50, available www.avogel.co.uk ) before going to bed.
“This herbal tincture helps reset disturbed sleeping habits,” explains Alison Cullen, A. Vogel Nutrition Practitioner and Education Manager. “It’s non-habit forming and contains valerian, which has been shown to improve sleep without unpleasant side effects.”
Registered nutritionist and sleep expert Rob Hobson, author of The Art of Sleeping, advises ditching the booze and eating a light carbohydrate-rich meal a couple of hours before hitting the hay. “Alcohol disrupts sleep quality in many ways,” he stresses, “while carbohydrates help with the uptake of tryptophan, an amino acid involved in the production of sleep-inducing melatonin.”
5. Give Your Brain A Break
Distract your mind from worrying by learning something new – perhaps getting to grips with a new craft, signing up for online photography classes or learning how to meditate, which should also improve how you cope with anxieties and worries.
“Also,” adds Dr Meg Arroll, “the government-backed Escape Your Anxiety programme, which can be found at http://www.good-thinking.uk, offers a range of tools and resources to help you manage stress and worry.”
6. Indulge Your Inner Hippy!
‘CBD oil, which is extracted from cannabis plants but has none of the hallucinogenic effects, is particularly helpful for reducing anxiety, promoting relaxation and restful sleep,” explains medical nutritionist and GP Dr Sarah Brewer. “Many people use it as an antidote to worry and stress – and it’s ideal for anyone who doesn’t want to take prescribed medication.
“Try popping between one and eight drops of Healthspan High Strength CBD Oil (10ml, £15.95, Boots, Superdrug, Amason and http://www.healthspan.couk) under your tongue up to three times a day to help you cope with anxious thoughts.”
7. Embrace Tradition
If worrying is taking up far too much of your brain time, why not try a herbal product inspired by a centuries-old remedy? A. Vogel Stress Relief Daytime (£10.50) is based on a traditional remedy for mild anxiety while A. Vogel AvenaCalm (50ml, £10.50 independent pharmacies and http://www.avogel.co.uk) contains Avena Sativa, a herbal remedy made from oak leaves which has been used for generations to calm the nervous system.
8. Make the Most of Magnesium
Magnesium is one of nature’s wonder minerals and has many health benefits, including improving mood, fighting depression and increasing the chances of a good night’s sleep. “However, as stress and anxiety can deplete the body of magnesium, if you’re a worrier, top up your body’s reserves with magnesium-rich foods such as nuts, spinach, artichokes and potatoes,” stresses registered nutritionist Rob Hobson.
“Also, as the body’s ability to metabolise magnesium from food decreases with age, it may be helpful to take a good supplement containing this nutrient.”
And if you’re feeling particularly tense at the end of a long day, try sprinkling muscle-relaxing Healthspan Magnesium Flakes Bath Soak (1kg bag – £9.95) into a warm bath and letting your troubles drift away.
9. Calm Your Tummy
For many people, anxiety has an unfortunate effect on their digestive system and can even trigger episodes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Relieve stress-related tummy problems such as nausea, stomach pains and diarrhoea with Silicolgel (£8.29, from A. Vogel, Holland & Barrett, health stores and pharmacies).
10. Love Yourself
Make being comfortable with yourself your resolution for 2021. “Stop comparing what you have and who you are to others,” says Dr Meg Arroll. “Accept yourself for who you are.”