On Tuesday K sent me a text asking if I wanted to go to puppy yoga. She said, “it’s 45 minutes away but I think it will be worth it.” I had had an emotional few days and had done a lot of driving, so I was exhausted and really didn’t feel like doing anything except curl up in bed, but I got the feeling I should still say yes. K drove, we got there and settled onto our mats and after about ten minutes a man walked in with the sweetest little lab puppy. Two more puppies followed, and I thought, wow, three puppies, this is going to be awesome! Before I knew it, the room seemed filled with puppies. I think there were around ten, total. We all got to spend some time just cuddling and playing with the puppies. Their breeders had brought them in and all were sold except for one. They came equipped with paper towels and disinfectant spray for the puppy messes. It was incredible. While we got a few poses in, we didn’t end up doing a lot of yoga because the puppies would crawl underneath you and want to cuddle or play, but my heart felt so happy and I left with my mood completely turned around from the experience. If you ever get the chance to do puppy yoga, I strongly recommend it!
Lately I’ve been going through intense bouts of anxiety/depression that make it very difficult to concentrate on my regular life (work, social life, etc..). I don’t react very well to as-needed anti-anxiety pills (allergic reactions, decreased reaction times, difficulty functioning in every day tasks and very foggy the following day), and I don’t always want to go to or rely on medication anyways, so I have been trying different things that I read or hear about, and I seem to have come up with methods that work really well for me. Everybody is different, but I thought I would share in case any of them can help anyone else out as well!
- Eat (especially something crunchy). I try to avoid sugary or processed foods when I’m eating to improve my mood, as they seem to have more of a negative affect. I know it’s funny, but from my own experience, I don’t handle things very well when I’m hungry (even slightly). I have noticed that if I put a pause on whatever thoughts are making me anxious in order to eat, I am able to see the problem in a different light after I have finished eating.
- Drink green tea. I have come across so much research indicating that green tea is a mood booster and helps with anxiety and depression, but I can’t stand the taste of green tea, so I could never even make it through a glass. One day, when I was doing groceries I came across Lipton Mandarin Orange Green Tea and decided to give it a go. I was amazed at how much the orange flavour overpowered the green tea flavour, and even more amazed at how much calmer I felt after drinking a glass. I don’t know if it’s just a placebo effect, or if it is actually something in the green tea, but especially at work where I can’t do a lot about an anxiety attack or depression, having a glass of green tea helps me feel better with surprising effectiveness.
- Eat dark chocolate. Another thing that I have never enjoyed the taste of is dark chocolate, but I couldn’t ignore the research, again, that dark chocolate is good for your mental health. An added bonus of eating dark chocolate is that it actually satisfies the sweet craving I get every day at work after lunch. I just eat a piece of dark chocolate and I no longer feel like I have to have a dessert, and like I said, when I eat something too sugary, it actually seems to make me feel worse.
- Do a yoga sequence for stress. If I have the luxury of having a panic attack in the comfort of my own home, doing any yoga really, but especially a yoga sequence designed for stress or anxiety really helps calm me down. My body actually physically feels more relaxed and calm afterwards, and it lasts throughout the day. Here is a yoga sequence I really like for stress: Yoga Sequence for Stress
Then, when those steps have helped me calm down, and I am able to focus on something other than the problem, I can complete a Sudoku puzzle, or read a positive article, or watch a funny video, or do a crossword puzzle to further calm me down so that I can actually focus on my daily life. Hopefully some of these are able to help other people, and I am always open to ideas or ways that other people use to fight off anxiety!