30Mar

Do you still get anxiety?

I’ve been on my book tour for almost three months now! I’ve done dozens of events across the country, and the question I seem to get asked most at every stop (aside from where I got my fruit and veggie jumper!) is if I still struggle with anxiety today.

As the Food Mood Girl, I usually share my story of struggling with anxiety and depression as a pre-teen. And given the quick nature of presenting, it can often seem as if after I got help as a pre-teen that my life has been anxiety-free ever since. I wish I could say that it has been, but the truth is, I still struggle with my mental disorders. However, the way I handle them has changed and the tools I have used along the way help me.

Yes, food is a huge part of it. Without creating a healthy relationship with food and without eating foods that nourish me, I know that I would feel worse more often than not. Eating food that gives me a clear mind and helps ease my anxiety levels is super important, however, that’s not all that goes into it.

As far as what my anxiety looks like today, it’s very different than when I was a kid. I’ve come to understand myself, my body, and how it has shifted and changed over the years. These days, my mind can be clear, but my body will experience symptoms of anxiety, so it can be even more difficult to manage because, often times, I am not sure the root cause of it. My mind isn’t stressed or I don’t feel anxious about a specific situation, but my body is feeling something. So, for me, it’s just about continuously staying in tune to the rhythms of my body.

I want to give you a glimpse of some real life things and situations that trigger my anxiety and how I deal with them. The more we can shed light on mental health issues, the more we can have real conversations about how to help others.

Crowded Bars/Restaurants: As much as I love going out to eat, I usually prefer places that are more low-key or going places during off-peak hours. You will most likely never find me out on a Friday or Saturday night in a popular part of town. Most likely, I will have eaten an early dinner out or opt to stay in. Sometimes, walking into crowded spaces can trigger my anxieties and I like to avoid that all together. If there is a special occasion and I know that a big crowd or busy restaurant is inevitable, I will usually try to keep it low-key and do less during the week so that I can go into the event with more ease and energy.

Summer Blues: In case you missed my Tonic article last year, I pretty much hate the summer. The heat is too much for me and I typically get depressed. With that said, I don’t really schedule many events in the summer that I will need to be “on” for. I also don’t beat myself up if everyone seems to be gramming exotic vacations in the summer while I lock myself in my air-conditioned bedroom, just hoping to make it through until bedtime. As much as FOMO is real, I remind myself that I thrive in the fall and winter, so my time will come.

Recharging As Necessary: Whenever I have a busy season (a.k.a. like right now), I try to break it up and give myself time to recharge. Some people can do event after event after event. However, I cannot. I usually like to get to an event the night before so I can have some downtime before the big day. I also like to schedule events a few days apart so I have time to bounce back in-between. It makes touring and events more costly overall, which means I have to pick and choose what I say yes to and what I have to turn down.

Rescue Remedy: Bach Rescue Remedy is a liquid tincture that contains various flower mixtures to help alleviate stress and anxiety, and it has been a huge help for me this past year. Since I usually get anxiety symptoms in my body, this is a natural liquid formula I take to help my body feel more at ease. I usually take this whenever I am about to head on a long trip or before I give a talk. It definitely helps prepare me both mentally and physically.

So, the long answer is yes, I do still suffer from anxiety. However, managing it is something that I still deal with on a daily basis and has really become a part of my lifestyle. I decided early on that I wanted to continue to commit to the betterment of my health and my life. This means that I ask for help when necessary, focus on self-care activities, and treat my body with respect and grace, knowing that I am far from perfect and won’t ever be.

If you find yourself struggling with a mental illness, I encourage you to first, take the step and ask for help. The road to recovery can be quite long and, honestly, sometimes never fully ends, but I promise you, it’s worth it.

 

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