Anxiety: How Long Does it take to Heal?

Confession: I read a lot of other people’s blog posts about anxiety.

To be honest, even though most are complete strangers, it makes me feel connected in a way I can’t find elsewhere. I feel like we all share in something – something awful, but special – something that only if you’ve lived through it could you ever understand.

Some people are just beginning their journey with anxiety, while others have been hammering away at it for years, trying to figure out how to help themselves.

This is my question: How long does it take to heal?

This is my answer: No one knows.

Some people find that one thing that really works for them. Some people search and even try what feels like hundreds of things, but nothing has quite clicked yet.

It makes me upset when I see people giving up on themselves, or being hard on themselves, all because they need more time than the next person.

Look, it took me the better part of 10 years to get the hang of this thing. Am I healed? I don’t know. I know that I’m helped, I know that I’m capable of helping myself. I know I’m more in control of that part of me than I’ve ever been. I know it feels good.

Maybe that’s the point. We put so much pressure on ourselves to be ‘better forever’, but that doesn’t exist. With anxiety there is going to be ups and downs, all we can do is learn to manage it – in however much time it takes.

How long have you been at it for?

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Looking for support?

My Anxiety Workbook is a great place to start – made specifically to help you help yourself. Click the link for additional info!

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Special Announcement – New Ebook!

Today my dreams come true and I am officially releasing this Anxiety Workbook on Standing Strong Wellness. This is such a big deal for me. As someone who has been on their own journey with anxiety over the years, I know how hard it can be to find support out there.

This ebook was born of a small idea – to combine the many aspects I have found to help balance anxiety, and bring them together in one easy, simple book.  When I finally took the leap into writing it, I dove in head first. I wanted this to not just be something that the reader could read, but something they could actually use.

That’s why I’ve included colouring pages, recipes, and examples of coping strategies. This ebook will put you to work – towards improving yourself, your mindset, and becoming the person you were always meant to be – anxiety it not.

To get downloading visit the ‘Products’ page up top, or simply click here .

And from the bottom of my heart, thank you for your ongoing love and support. Without the community I have found on here and on Instagram, the world would be a lot less shiny for me. I love you!

Copy of Anxiety Workbook

Download the Anxiety Workbook for $7.99

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So You Think Anxiety is Funny?

Good, me too.

When I’m not having an episode, of course.

When I’m knee deep in anxiety, it’s not funny… it’s terrifying.

But that’s not what today’s post is all about. Today, let’s keep it on the bright side.

Anxiety is funny because it means I can handle huge life changes, but I can’t keep my shit together if you grabbed the wrong coffee at Starbucks.

Anxiety is funny because it keeps me from sleeping, especially when sleeping is the one thing that can free me from being anxious… sneaky.

Anxiety is funny because if I start screaming in public or having a panic attack, people just think I am some kind of raging lunatic. I’m not a lunatic! The whole world is crashing down around me.

Anxiety is funny because it turns a beautiful, charming, outgoing woman such as myself into a homely recluse who rarely showers. I’m cute under all these sweaters, I swear.

Anxiety is funny because it’s like having a really mean best friend… a frenemy if you will. They are constantly there, they know everything about you, and they’re just awful.

 

I’m pretty sure that the secret to longevity with anxiety is not just learning how to live with it, but also learning how to laugh at it.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Adaptogens for Anxiety

Are you stressed? What a loaded question. Who isn’t these days? Especially for those of us dealing with mental health issues – I mean, isn’t stress kind of just like, par for the course?

I have anxiety – even when I’m not stressed, I stress about not stressing.

Like many of you, I do what I can to help myself. I exercise, eat well, and do my best to get a good quality sleep each night. I practice a lot of self care and kindness towards myself. And recently, I’ve added something new to my routine: adaptogens.

What are adaptogens?

‘Adaptogen’ is a term used to describe plants that help the body adapt to stress. You may have heard of a few such as ashwaganda, holy basil, rhodiola, ginseng, and maca.

The purpose of these is not particularly to address mood, or to manipulate emotions, but rather to help the body function optimally during stress. As someone who often gets the physical response of stress (thanks anxiety!) without an environmental or emotional cause, adaptogens are quickly becoming one of my most useful tools in my mental health toolbox.

Where can you get adaptogens?

Due to their increase in popularity, adaptogens have become relatively easy to find. They can be found at health food stores, and even some bigger grocery store chains. I currently use Holy Basil, Ashwaganda, and Maca – all of which I found at my local grocer. In powder form, these can easily be added to smoothies and elixirs. Sometimes I make chocolate and add my adaptogens in.

What is unique about the different adaptogens?

Holy basil has a reputation for balancing blood sugar levels and regulating cortisol. It is typically made into a tea. I enjoy it warm, but if you’re up for an alternative check out my recipe for Holy Basil Iced Tea !

Maca has been studied extensively in relation to libido, but it is also known for it’s ability to increase energy and balance hormones – like cortisol. Maca root is easily integrated into an energy ball recipe or morning smoothie.

Ashwagandha has long been highly prized in Ayervedic medicine. It helps to balance hormones, support the adrenals, and also protects the brain. One study in particular is especially intriguing. A group of participants were given dietary counseling, a multi-vitamin, deep breathing relaxation techniques, and a daily dose of ashwagandha. Not only did the participants anxiety decrease significantly, but they also decreased more than their counterparts in the psychotherapy intervention group.

Should you try adaptogens?

I do not recommend trying to treat your mental health symptoms with adaptogens alone. Mental wellness requires a holistic approach, so I encourage you to use all the tools at your disposal. If you do decide to treat your anxiety with adaptogens, check with a medical professional so you can be sure it isn’t contraindicated with any of your medications.

I have felt an increase in energy and a more balanced disposition after adding these to my wellness routine. In my personal experience, it has been rewarding incorporating them. The next adaptogen I want to try is moringa, which enhances digestion and also promotes healthy skin.

Are you guys using adaptogens? What benefits have you noticed?

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Edamame and Greens Salad

Confession time: I’m a salad fanatic. If I haven’t had my daily greens, or some sort of salad during the day, I feel a little lost. I love the crunch of a good salad, and the textures! Yes, I’ve gotten some looks while enjoying a salad as big as my head. Don’t worry about it! I’ll be over here… looking weird, and enjoying my greens.

Admittedly, that having the exact same thing day in and day out is not really my thing. I love variety, so even though I eat a lot of salads, I always mix them up. Today, I’m adding this to my favourites list: Edamame and Greens Salad. It’s simple, easy, and fresh.

This recipe also hooks you up with a dressing that is absolutely fantastic. Trust me, you’ll want to make extra!


This recipe is gluten free, dairy free, and makes two large servings.

Ingredients 

Base:

  • 2 large handful of mixed greens
  • 2 large carrots, spiralized or finely diced
  • 2 cups edamame (organic if possible)
  • 2 TBSP raw unshelled sunflower seeds
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds

Ginger Tahini Dressing:

  • 2 TBSP EVOO
  • 1 TBSP tahini
  • 1 TBSP rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp gf soy sauce (if gluten free is not your preference, regular is fine)
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp minced ginger

Directions: Combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Prepare your salad by mixing all ingredients together in a large bowl. If your edamame is frozen, give them a warm water bath until they defrost. This should only take about 5 minutes. I mashed my avocado, but feel free to simply dice and add in. Top with the Ginger Tahini dressing and enjoy!

Is it just me or does spiralizing just add a little ‘something’ to this salad? If you don’t have one yet I recommend the one I use, which is by Starfrit – it’s the Starfrit Spiral Slicer (not sponsored) . I have tried many other brands over the years, but this one is the easiest to use. It’s also the easiest to clean!

Enjoy this recipe! If you make it, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram – I love to see what your recreations!

When Anxiety is Your Normal

When anxiety is your normal, you don’t really know you have anxiety. It’s just life as you know it.

Growing up, I never thought I had anxiety. I thought I was just ‘uptight’. I described myself as ’emotional’. I never felt like I had control, but I constantly sought it. However, it never crossed my mind that I had anxiety.

Even as my anxiety worsened, and I began to worry about losing people I love and thinking about death a lot, I never reasoned that it was anxiety. I just knew I would never be the same.

Truth be told, I didn’t really know what anxiety was, or what it looked like, for the longest time. It was just my normal, and I lived it. I think a lot of people with anxiety can relate to this. When you don’t know any other reality, it can be hard to tease apart whether or not you have anxiety.

Are you an anxious person, or are you just stressed? It can be difficult to tell the difference, as both are unpleasant and negative emotions.

Is it STRESS or is it ANXIETY-

 

Readers with anxiety, I have a question for you: When you first started experiencing anxiety, did you know what it was?

 

Thanks for sharing!

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Creating a Safe Space: Himalayan Salt Rock Lamps 

First, I want to talk briefly about the importance of creating a safe space. A safe space is important for people with anxiety – absolutely – but everybody deserves a sanctuary where they can go and feel safe. These past couple of months, we’ve been working on our bedroom, trying to get it where we want it to be. Of course, we aren’t made of money, and most of the stuff we tend to buy in terms of furniture is second hand, so progress is slow and exceptions must be made.

Right now, my focus is on the bedroom. When I’ve had a bad day, or my anxiety is high, this is where I gravitate…or hide. You know! It’s the place I go for calm and healing. One of the first items we’ve gotten for our bedroom, besides the basics, is a Himalayan Salt Rock lamp.

I think like many people, I was drawn to Himalayan Salt Rock lamps because they are so beautiful – with their warm soft glow shining through their textured, earthy appearance. But later, I came to understand that these lamps actually serve a unique and really interesting purpose that might be really beneficial for you.

Himalayan Salt Rocks are similar to the earth in that they release negative ions. This could explain why, like being in nature, these lamps have a calming and grounding effect. What’s also great about these negative ions is that they also balance out the positive ions released by all of our electronic devices – like our laptops and phones. Having the lamp in my room makes me feel a little bit better about sleeping with my phone in my room, and watching late night movies on our laptop in bed.

Himalayan Salt Rock Lamps can also help to purify air. The salt attracts water vapour from the air, and when it does the water is eventually released, but the pollutants stay. Studies have shown that it can also provide relief for those dealing with allergies or asthma – but this is more so true when the salt is actually inhaled or you are in a salt-cave environment.

Not only are the beneficial in those aspects, but many people actually find the hue of the lamp glow to be very calming. Promoting relaxation in a bedroom is great practice in sleep hygiene, and therefore may help you get a better sleep.

I definitely have noticed the relaxation benefits, and I’m happy with this addition to my safe space! What’s a must have for you guys in your space?

It’s YOU vs. (anxiety) YOU

We’ve all heard that saying before – ‘there is no competition – it’s YOU vs. YOU’ . For those of us with anxiety, it couldn’t be more true.

For most, “you vs. you” is a way of saying that you should just ignore the competition. The focus, after all, is on being the best version of yourself – not what someone else can do. For those of us with anxiety, it can take on a whole new meaning.

For those of us with anxiety, it can take on a whole new meaning.

It’s “you vs. you” because there are two sides of you – each one fighting the other. It’s “you vs. you” because one side of you is encouraging and optimistic, and the other side is cruel and nasty. It’s black and white; it’s good versus evil; it’s you vs. anxiety you.

Because the real you isn’t flawed, or worthless, or destined to fail – despite what anxiety you may want you to believe. I know the voice can be loud, but don’t let it win.

Keep fighting Strong Babes!

 

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Acute Fasting: Good for Anxiety?

While everyone else enjoys their down time in the outdoors, or out shopping with friends, or even just lazing about watching tv, I can usually be found on my laptop looking up new and interesting facts about anxiety. Don’t worry – I do know how to have fun. But I also enjoy finding cool new research and ideas related to mental health, and this is one of them.

Today’s post is about an article I came across stating that acute fasting may be beneficial for anxiety. I have to say, on my list of things that help anxiety, I did not suspect I would see fasting on there.

 

The authors of the article I read (cited below) concluded that acute fasting inhibits central caspase-1 (associated with neuroinflammation) activity, thereby reducing anxiety-like behaviors in rats. The acute fast was essentially a 24 hour fast, with only water being provided. Put simply, acute fasting reduces neuroinflammation, and the that decrease in inflammation seems to have an effect on anxiety behaviors.

Of course, as mentioned, this study was done on rats – not humans – so we can’t jump to too many conclusions here.

But it’s an interesting idea. In my search for more, I came across a lot of sites that supported this idea, and even people who have claimed that it’s worked for them. So what’s the connection between fasting, inflammation, and anxiety?

Fasting, when coupled with drinking enough water, may help the body detoxify by freeing up the organs from their usual digestion-related responsibilities, allowing them the time to get rid of any built up toxins. This could account for a reduction in inflammation. The reduced inflammation may also be in part because certain foods eliminated from the consumer’s diet are typically pro-inflammatory (refined, processed, sugar-laden food). In this way, the fact that these foods aren’t introduced to the body contributes to a reduction in inflammation.

Although I’m interested in seeing where the literature goes on this, I’m not sure it’s something  I would recommend. I know for myself, a central theme in my anxiety is this idea of wanting to control things, and of wanting to reach perfection in everything. Although acute fasting could be used to reduce anxiety, it could also be an outlet for it to come out as well.

What I took the most out of this was less the link between fasting and anxiety, and more the fact that reduced neuroinflammation seems to reduce anxiety symptoms.
What do you guys think? Have you or would you ever try this?

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My First Float Experience 

On the surface, stepping into a float tank might seem a little ridiculous for someone with anxiety to do. I mean, why would an anxious person want to be alone, in the dark, with nothing but their thoughts, encased in a float pod and losing awareness of their own body?

Half that stuff I do all the time without a float pod, and trust me it’s not all that much fun.

Jokes aside, I am really looking forward to sharing my first float experience with you guys. Just as a disclaimer, I am not a float specialist, nor can I speak to what the experience will do for you – all I can share is my own person story of how it went for me. Here it goes.

Yesterday morning my thoughts raced as I anxiously awaited my first float. Taking advice from a friend, I tried not to put too many expectations on it. But I had so many questions, and no answers, so 11 am couldn’t come fast enough.

When I arrived at FloatLife in Kensington, the space was what I expected. The foyer was calm, clean, and the owner was helpful in showing me (and the couple who arrived at the same time) the rooms and explaining all the options we had for our float.

In the room there’s a float pod, a shower, and a chair with some cleanly folded towels. It doesn’t sound like much, but it was nice. Clean without being overdone. We had the lighting options explained to us, which was controllable from inside the pod, and the music options, from which we could choose: nothing (complete and utter silence), ocean sounds, or spa music.

I opted for the spa music, and as the other guests and I found our way inside our rooms, I couldn’t wait for the wave of relaxation to hit me. I put in my wax earplugs, which are standard, showered, and then got inside the pod.

Ah, relaxation.

Only – it doesn’t work that way. Especially for the anxious mind. And mine runs a million miles an hour. I tried my best to silence my mind, but it would slip back to it’s normal routine: what should I make for dinner? Did I forget to bring anything with me today? What do I have going on this weekend? 

After about ten minutes, I turned my blue light off to float in total darkness. Slowly afterwards, my bustling thoughts tamed. I began getting those muscle spasms you get when you fall asleep – only I was still wide awake – and I knew that my body had begun to relax.

In my mind, I was floating down a river under the stars. And I can’t quite explain the feeling, but it’s almost as if I remained half asleep and half awake for the remainder of the float. I lost the sense of my physical self and of time. I didn’t have any profound, life changing epiphanies but for a brief time, I had peace.

This is not something that a person with anxiety often experiences. Even though I don’t necessarily experience anxiety every moment of the day, it has hardwired my brain in many ways – so my mind is always busy. Having it cleared was the ultimate relaxation, for me.

I know it sounds cliche, but when the session ended and I opened the pod, I felt like I had been born again. As I rinsed off the salt in the shower I noticed that my muscles and joints felt much less sore, and that my skin looked really nice (bonus!). I felt like I had just gone to sleep for a week and woke up a new person.

I suppose that silencing your mind is something to be worked at, and I plan to keep on going back to practice more – to get good at it. Maybe initially I wasn’t sure how anxiety would play out with floating, but I’m glad I tried it, because I think for me it will really help me take some great strides in practicing self-care and the art of slowing down.

At any rate, I encourage you all to give it a try, and if you have please share your experience in the comments below!