When I work with patients who suffer from anxiety, I help them develop a self-care plan that provides relief between regular acupuncture. The very act of making a self-care plan and sticking to it can be tremendously empowering and greatly relieve your anxiety.
Here are several stress-reducing activities to try:
- Set aside a fixed time during the week to exercise – Whether you’re a long distance runner, a yogini, a dancer or someone who likes to take slow, ambling walks with your dog, getting regular exercise will help reduce your anxiety by helping you remember to breathe. Engaging in regular deep breathing helps your nervous system reset and gives the signal to relax. So pick an activity that you enjoy, invite some friends for support, and do some physical exercise that you love two to three times a week. No need to go crazy — just 20-30 minutes at a time will do.
- Do something frivolous twice a week – It doesn’t have to be big. One of my patients told me that browsing in the hosiery section of Nordstrom sans her children had made her day and left her completely relaxed. Whether it’s sitting in the sun for 10 minutes on your afternoon break or getting your nails done, treat yourself to something that feels slightly pointless and a little decadent twice a week.
- Plan time to eat – This one sounds like it should be easy, but… We live in the age where 5-hour energy drinks sell because people feel too hurried in the morning to make coffee. So preparing or even eating a healthy meal at a relaxed pace can seem like a tall order. Before you leave the house, eat breakfast — not a piece of toast in your car, I mean breakfast at the table. Also, know approximately what time you’ll be eating lunch and what you’ll be eating so you can plan accordingly. Bring your lunch or snacks if your work prevents you from eating until the afternoon. These steps will help even out your energy level, give you a sense of control over your schedule, and help you feel like you’re taking care of yourself.
- Give yourself unstructured quiet time – Set aside an hour or two a week to spend being quiet. When the time arrives, you may want to use it for a nap, to catch up on your dishes or to journal or read.
- Practice self-acupressure to help you calm down – Most acupressure holds are subtle enough that they can be done during a business meeting or family dinner without anyone noticing. An excellent acupressure hold for generalized anxiety is Heart 7 or Spirit Gate. To find Spirit Gate, flip your hand so that you are looking at your palm. Then trace from your pinkie finger straight down to your wrist and you’ll find Spirit Gate at the wrist crease. You can stimulate Spirit Gate with light finger pressure or try wearing magnets, (available at Pure Joy Acupuncture – $12/two and $22/four) if you want more constant support.
If you would like acupressure point suggestions that are specific to how you manifest anxiety, please ask me at your next acupuncture appointment.
I would also like to acknowledge that when you’re suffering from anxiety, making even small changes can be difficult. Doing so may cause you to grapple with deep-seated beliefs that you unconsciously hold. If you have trouble taking time for yourself, feel you’re not keeping pace as an employee, that you’re failing as a parent, or that you’re a bad person, I recommend a combination of therapy and regular acupuncture. I’m happy to work in conjunction with your therapist and customize an anxiety management plan that’s right for you.
To schedule your acupuncture appointment today, contact Katharine at 415-994-0252, firstname.lastname@example.org, or book online.