If you want to know how to manage anxiety symptoms without medication, this is the blog post for you. There are plenty of ways that you can manage your anxiety symptoms without medication, from beginning your journey into therapy to making significant lifestyle changes in your day-to-day life. So, if you have found yourself experiencing symptoms of anxiety, but you’re not ready to try medication just yet, take a look at the tips below.
Up your exercise game.
Yes, I know it’s one of the most well-known coping mechanisms, but that’s because it works! Exercising can help to manage anxiety symptoms without medication due to the release of happy hormones, such as serotonin and endorphins.
Realistically, if you’re feeling anxious, going for a run is probably the last thing you want to do. In order for your mental health to benefit from exercise, you don’t need to go for a 5k run or over-exert yourself; you simply need to get your body moving. Enjoy the opportunity to get a change of scenery and go for a walk, even if it’s only a short one. Pop some music on and have a crazy one-man dance party, or even find a short 10 minute exercise video on YouTube.
There are a variety of ways to get your body moving and they don’t need to be high intensity for you to benefit from the positive effects the exercise will have on your mental health.
Make sure you’re getting enough sleep.
An effective way to manage your anxiety without medication is to establish a routine.
One of the symptoms of anxiety that I have personally struggled with is sleepless nights. Although there are several reasons for this, one of the big issues I faced was that my sleep cycle was all out of whack. This was due to a complete lack of routine on my part. It’s important that you set yourself up for success, and part of this is to establish a bedtime and a time you wake up.
You can help yourself to get into the habit of going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day by putting routines into place. If you’re looking for ways to create a successful morning routine that sets you up for a great, anxiety-free day, check out: 5 Simple Ways To Kickstart Your Morning Routine.
To create an evening routine that gets you ready for bedtime, try doing calming and relaxing activities. You may want to start with your evening skincare, or perhaps a nice relaxing bath. Next, you could opt for some light reading before it’s time for lights out. Figure out what makes you feel calm and relaxed before bed and incorporate those into a regular routine to ensure you get a good night’s sleep.
Manage your anxiety symptoms without medication by cutting down on your caffeine intake.
It is no secret that there’s a strong correlation between anxiety symptoms and caffeine. Caffeine is in so many drinks these days, that it’s no wonder we often find ourselves addicted to it – sometimes without even realising it.
If you’re the type of person who can’t make it through the day without several cups of coffee, or you find you rely heavily on fizzy drinks like Coke and energy drinks, it’s likely dietary items will be making your anxiety symptoms worse.
As a stimulant, caffeine speeds up the activity in the brain and body, often making people feel restless and anxious. Too much caffeine can even increase the likelihood of anxiety attacks, so if you’re trying to manage your anxiety symptoms without medication, caffeine is definitely one drug you need to cut down on.
A word of caution: when cutting down on your caffeine consumption, do so slowly. Caffeine withdrawal symptoms are common, especially if you decided to stop consuming caffeine cold turkey.
Exit strategies can help you to manage your anxiety symptoms without medication, and provide a mental and physical escape.
Having an exit strategy was a game-changing coping mechanism for me. My other half is an extremely extroverted person, and often I would find myself needing to partake in a social situation that was probably going to be a bit too much for me. When I knew a big event was looming, or a situation was likely to occur that would require me to be extremely present and ‘mask’ my anxiety, I would always start to get extremely anxious around 24 hours before. I wouldn’t be able to eat and I’d spend almost all day on the toilet feeling rotten.
I found that the best way to manage my anxiety symptoms without medication was to plan an exit strategy. For example, if we were going to a Christmas party that was taking place at a hotel, I’d make sure that we had a room booked for the evening. That way, not only could my other half drink without having to worry about driving (yep, you guessed it, there was no alcohol consumption from me due to anxiety), but it also meant that if it all got too much, I could simply pop up to the room and escape for twenty minutes.
There are so many ways in which you can implement this strategy to help you cope with anxiety around big events. For example, if you’ve been invited to a party, instead of carpooling and relying on others, you could simply drive yourself. Not only does this give you a physical escape, should you need it, but it also drastically reduces the anticipation anxiety, as you will know you have an escape plan in place.
More often than not, you’ll find that this escape plan was not needed in the end. You’ll lose yourself to the moment and end up having a great time. However, it is the peace of mind that really helps you to manage your anxiety symptoms without medication when it comes to a situation like this.
Therapy will change your life.
For a long time, I was far too anxious to try therapy. I mean, I knew I needed it, but the thought of calling someone up to talk about myself was pretty much the most horrific thing ever. That being said, one day I was brave enough to start the process and it ended up being extremely useful and beneficial for me.
Therapy is an extremely useful tool against anxiety, and helpful treatments such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) explore coping mechanisms and work through the root causes of your mental health problems to help you to manage your anxiety symptoms without medication. CBT helps a person to understand their thoughts, emotions, and why they often find themselves behaving in the way they do – for example, why a particular trigger makes them feel anxious, and how that person can then overcome that emotion.
Therapy can help people suffering from anxiety to break cycles and establish new routines that promote positive mental health. It can help to reshape the way you see yourself and the world around you, and ultimately help you to break patterns of behaviour that you’ve grown to rely on.
If you’re in the UK, you may be eligible for therapy as part of an NHS program. It’s worth talking to your GP about your symptoms and asking if there are any Mental Health schemes in your area that work alongside the NHS to provide free therapy.
If this isn’t an option, there are many online therapists and organisations that can help you to find the right treatment.
Check out this blog post for more information about managing your anxiety at home.