Last month we covered National Stress Awareness Month where I touched on the stigma around anxiety. This was the perfect opportunity to share three helpful habits that can be effortlessly incorporated into the daily life of a busy EA or PA and that are guaranteed to combat the harmful effects of chronic stress during the week. This week, the UK celebrates Mental Health Awareness Week and as it happens, we are continuing the theme of anxiety.
Note from an Anxiety Positive Author
I have decided to use this opportunity to do something a bit different. From a very young age I was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) but as I grew older, I understood that I was far from alone. A written piece like this cannot begin to express how complex the condition is, how it effects people in different ways and how misunderstood it is. As an emotion, anxiety is a standard part of the human experience, but for those of us with the malfunctioning ‘fight or flight’ response, it can get out of control and even become a mental health problem. If you suffer from symptoms including frequent panic attacks, restlessness, sweaty palms or episodes of light-headedness or dizziness, please consult a medical professional. For those with manageable symptoms or who would like preventative measures, here are a few anxiety hacks that you can pop into your handbag and utilise throughout the day that are tried and tested.
AM: Rise and Shine
I used to think that going to the spa could uplift anyone’s mood but researchers at Kyushu University have found that a 45-minute facial massage can activate the sympathetic nervous system and decrease psychological distress. Not to mention that Jade is known to soothe tension and stress – all of which contribute to having happy skin! 45 minutes of face yoga is quite the commitment for a busy EA, but this sleek pocket-sized accessory makes it easy to carry and use throughout the day, helping you tone, firm, and stimulate the skin throughout the day.
AM: Post Morning Meetings
I still find it shocking how CBD has flooded the market, our podcast channels, and social media feeds and yet many are put off by the menacing extended family including marijuana and hemp. For educational purposes, CBD does not produce the intoxicating effects associated with the psychoactive compound found in cannabis. 2 to 5 drops of this luxurious oil can promote daily calm and clarity without leaving you cognitively impaired making it a fantastic natural remedy after a stressful commute or morning minute meeting. I also highly recommend reading this brand’s story.
PM: Lunchtime and Coffee Breaks
A great alternative for those of us who never got into meditation (not to be ashamed of). You achieve the same results, focusing your attention on the present moment, engaging in a calm and repetitive task. Although breaking out the felt tips during your lunch or coffee break sounds absurd, the intricate patterns and colours will promote a sense of inner peace, giving a fresh and peaceful mind for whatever the second portion of the day brings. Still not convinced? Aside from connecting with your inner child, the act of colouring stimulates various cognitive abilities including attention, concentration, and hand-eye coordination. Unwind AND engage the brain’s visual and motor areas! Our team’s colouring book of choice is by the renowned Scottish illustrator, Johanna Basford, a leading pioneer of this movement who has sold an incredible 21 million copies of her books, which include Enchanted Forest and Magical Jungle worldwide.
PM: Evening Routine
Ashwagandha has been quite the rage recently. Native to India and Southeast Asia, ashwagandha plays a starring role in Ayurveda which is based on the Indian principles of natural healing. Those local communities swear by this herb (and that is about a thousand years’ worth of Google reviews!) and some modern science has backed up their claim that it contains a range of health benefits including reducing stress and anxiety. So? What exactly can it do? First, it can help regulate those pesky cortisol levels. Stress can lead to elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which may contribute to anxiety. Likewise, it can regulate serotonin – that vital neurotransmitter that plays a key role in mood regulation.