Women’s Anxiety: Six healthy habits that can help to ease anxiety and worry
This post was written by Louise Barraclough (with her daughter Hope above), Owner and Founder of Hope & Fortune. Check out her website for more information.
We all do it, rush around trying to look after everyone else and very often forget to look after ourselves. There has been plenty of discussion in the media recently about the amount of work and responsibility that women are increasingly taking on.
Being 'busy' has almost become the new status symbol for Generation Y. I would say it has become the most common response that I get from friends when I ask, "How are you?"....."So busy!", they say.
So it's not surprising that more and more women are reporting feeling anxious, worried and overwhelmed, and this can have a profound effect on our hormones and our health. Women are cyclical by nature; we are beautifully designed hormonal beings.
From puberty to menopause, our hormones rise and fall during our menstrual cycles and during pregnancy, as we grow an actual human being in the space of nine short months (that's a miracle that never ceases to astound me).
Through birth and into motherhood, our lives are punctuated and informed by major physiological changes; the monthly phases experienced during the menstrual cycle and the ebb and flow of hormones, emotions and energy levels make us particularly in tune with the flux of life.
So what effect does stress and anxiety have on this beautiful balance?
When we're anxious and worried we produce cortisol and adrenaline, these are the 'survive now' hormones and if levels are raised over a long period of time this can interfere with the pituitary gland and its ability to produce our reproductive hormones.
This in turn can reduce libido, make periods irregular or stop them completely and produce mood swings, which can show as anxiety, depression and irritability. Other signs of anxiety can be feeling tearful, having trouble sleeping or feeling unusually fearful to name just a few.
It’s easy to see how easily we can get trapped in this cycle of daily, generalised anxiety, so what can we do about it?
1. Take some time out
Be kind to yourself, don’t forget to love yourself as much as you love everyone else and give yourself the same advice you would give to that person you love. Sit down for ten minutes with a cup of Womankind tea.
A loving cup of nourishment, it’s packed with the perfect blend of herbs to restore balance including chamomile, vanilla, rose and the fabulous shatavari. If you are pregnant or breast feeding, there’s also Motherkind Pregnancy and Motherkind Baby teas to support you.
2. Nourish your body
Avoid the foods that produce huge fluctuations in blood sugar levels; avoid too many stimulants like alcohol or caffeine, they might make you feel better for a moment but there is the inevitable come down that definitely wont.
3. Get your daily exercise routine down
Get outside whenever you can, go for a walk, take your shoes off and feel the earth under your feet, breath in the fresh air. Head for the ocean whenever you can.
Find a class that you can get to regularly. Discover the power of yoga to remind you how amazing the human body is and to help develop your ability to stay calm and centred in challenging situations.
4. Consider taking a supplement
Discover the incredible shatavari that is used in Wholistic™ Shatavari and Womankind supplements. Also known as ‘the plant that has 100 roots’ or ‘she who has 100 husbands’ (now there’s a thought), it’s been used in India for thousands of years to nourish the reproductive system and maintain hormonal balance.
5. Practice mindfulness and acceptance
Practice being in the here and now, remind yourself that life is made up of a series of little moments and this is one of them, don’t miss it.
Close your eyes and listen to your breath in the back of your throat, see if you can slow it down, try inhaling for a count of three and exhaling for a count of six.
As you do this relax your jaw and your shoulders, notice how this makes you feel - (the good news is that everything changes; the bad news is that everything changes).
Remember you are a beautiful hormonal creature who is designed to ride the ebb and flow of life, accept whatever is happening right now, you’re exactly where you are meant to be and the only certainty in life is that everything changes.
Women are cyclical by nature, whisper this mantra to yourself – ‘I have noticed this, I accept this, I know it will change’.
6. Connect with other women - Find your tribe
Society has changed for many of us as extended families and communities have been slowly eroded.
Many of us live miles away from our mothers and sisters yet we are essentially cooperative, social creatures who are designed to help and support each other through all the different stages of life.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Make sure you find other women to spend time with, share experiences, love and laughter. And last of all tap into your natural feel good ‘love hormone’ Oxytocin.
Hug and kiss the ones you love as often as you can.
How do you take time to nurture and love yourself? Is there someone in your tribe you'd love to tell us about? Give @PukkaHerbs a tweet and let us know using the hashtag #WomanKind.