How do you relax? Please share your tips

Lilia A

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,610
Hi all,

I hate having to resort to this, but I don't know what else to do. I know Google is my friend, but it seems like I have tried it all.

Anxiety has been a problem for me for a long time. A year and a half ago I started doing better and was able to leave all meds for about a year. I recently couldn't take it anymore and went back on Klonopin, I'm not proud of it but it had to be done.

Fast forward to yesterday afternoon: Anger and rage got the best of me (job related, I hate it but I can't quit because I need it), which triggered major anxiety and despair and I've been tense and even tachycardic since then. I couldn't sleep despite doubling my med dose + trying natural relaxants (valerian root and chamomile). I'm still not fully alert from all those relaxants + lack of sleep, but the symptoms described are still there.

I was wondering if any of you has a secret remedy that doesn't require a prescription (oh and I can't take allergy meds or cold meds, I don't react well to them). All I want is to feel at ease, even if just for tonight.

I'll appreciate any suggestions/advice.
 

skatemommy

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,345
I really like yoga. And wine. Natural Calm (from Amazon) has lots of Magnesium which I think tones down anxiety. And yes, I have scripts for Valium and Xanax.
 

I Luv Bulldogs

Well-Known Member
Messages
199
Have you tried yoga? I find its great for unwinding and calming the mind. There are tons of great videos on doyogawithme.com.

Get ready for bed, do a restorative yoga video, and then go straight to bed. I find I sleep much better when I do this.

Good luck.
 

joeperryfan

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,452
I was going to suggest magnesium too, it helped me a lot to recover from a long period of stress and I never had to take meds.
 

vesperholly

Well-Known Member
Messages
12,439
I like to write down all my most irrational, horrible sounding thoughts and then delete/burn/throw away (make sure no prying eyes can find it). NEVER save.

Last year when I was unemployed, I would write down things like, "I am totally unemployable. I have no skills. I'm not good at my career. I will never find a job again." etc.

It felt so great to acknowledge the thoughts and get them out of my head. I'm not sure if it will help anger and rage, but it certainly helped in the throes of despair, anxiety and depression (as emotions I was having, not diagnoses).

Oh, and cleaning (not necessarily deep cleaning, but just putting crap away) and showering help, too.
 

quartz

uncultured pearl clutcher
Messages
12,248
I've had anxiety and depression for 40 years. I won't do any prescription drugs. I journal, listen to music on headphones(totally shutting out everything), watch figure skating (perfect escapism),
take lavender bubble baths, do a whole lot of internal dialogue encouraging myself to get my shit together, and of course, drink wine, which relaxes me more than anything.

My husband's solution to everything is to have more sex. That helps too.
 

Buzz

Well-Known Member
Messages
31,838
The only things that helps me relax more are cleaning the house and going to the movies. I can get totally caught up in both and forget my troubles for a while.
 

skatemommy

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,345
My local grocer (and Walgreens) have lavender scented Epsom Salts. Supposed to draw out the impurities and impart Magnesium. Also have essential oil in Lavender and add baking soda. Haven't been able to enjoy my baths since radiation for breast cancer. I am fine now, just with residual burns.
 

snoopy

Well-Known Member
Messages
11,394
Doing something encompassing helps the most. I found golf better than yoga because yoga is silent like. Focusing on my golf swing gave my mind a break. But also arguing in PI relieves stress for me too. :D
 

myhoneyhoney

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,466
Ok.... 4 kids = 4 long bouts of post partum depression with massive anxiety and stress. Here's what I STILL do to help unwind and destress:

1. My bedroom is my santuary where I can hide from the kids. Everything is soft and I like to lightly play soothing classical music with several lavender candles burning. I just sit or lay down on my bed, close my eyes and take slow deep breaths.

2. I craft. I took up knitting (the repition of movement eventually becomes soothing and quite therapeutic. I also crochet and scrapbook. I do it slowly so it's not stressful.

3. I work out. My favorite is to just stroke around the ice rink. I'm lucky to have a good pretty lake nearby so I like to walk there too if possible. All else fails, I hit the gym, turn on some loud music and lift weights and/or go all out on the elliptical.

4. I play and bang away on my piano.

5. I read a book outside.

6. Wine :D

I truly hope you find a way to ease your anxiety.
 

FunnyBut

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,934
Hi all,

I hate having to resort to this, but I don't know what else to do. I know Google is my friend, but it seems like I have tried it all.

Anxiety has been a problem for me for a long time. A year and a half ago I started doing better and was able to leave all meds for about a year. I recently couldn't take it anymore and went back on Klonopin, I'm not proud of it but it had to be done.

Fast forward to yesterday afternoon: Anger and rage got the best of me (job related, I hate it but I can't quit because I need it), which triggered major anxiety and despair and I've been tense and even tachycardic since then. I couldn't sleep despite doubling my med dose + trying natural relaxants (valerian root and chamomile). I'm still not fully alert from all those relaxants + lack of sleep, but the symptoms described are still there.

I was wondering if any of you has a secret remedy that doesn't require a prescription (oh and I can't take allergy meds or cold meds, I don't react well to them). All I want is to feel at ease, even if just for tonight.

I'll appreciate any suggestions/advice.
I very much sympathize with you, work anxiety sometimes rules my world , affects my sleep, makes me feel guilty for having fun and all around drags down my day.

My doctor prescribed Lexapro for me, it certainly helped a lot. I don't think we should be ashamed to take medicine, and if it needs to be a permanent dosage, so be it.

I feel best when I'm productive, so I like to garden, clean house, do home improvement. Accomplishing something outside of work helps me negate lingering issues that remain at work.

Sunshine , fresh air , stretching, yoga and exercise all help too. Being idle, inactive or wasting time exacerbates the anxiety.

I wish you peace and well-being.
 

clairecloutier

Well-Known Member
Messages
9,262
Skating is a stress reliever for me. Being at the rink, completely away from home/kids/work, helps clear my mind and tone down anxieties. Usually I feel better and more relaxed afterward. Being outside helps. Going to the playground with my kids is good sometimes --again, it gets me outside and away from stressors. Other things that help somewhat--reading, watching a funny Tv show, casually chatting with someone. (As opposed to having a discussion about specific problems/issues, which often just gets me worked up.)
 

Matryeshka

Well-Known Member
Messages
14,016
Rewatching my favorite movies/TV Episodes. If my mom sees me watching "The Bracebridge Dinner" from The Gilmore Girls, she KNOWS. If I break out Buffy the Vampire Slayer, stay back. It's been rough.

I don't think it's healthy to do this every day, but maybe twice a month, just fantasize about telling everyone at work where they should go, why they should go there, and what they should do when they get there. For me, if I don't do it often, I find it really helpful. If you find yourself doing it everyday, then I think conversely you can make it worse by overly focusing on the negative.

I know it's counterintuitive, but coffee also helps me when I'm anxious. While I'm sure some of it is I just genuinely love coffee, some of it is also ritual. There is comfort in ritual and it gives you something to look forward to. Maybe develop something small to look towards everyday--it could be food related, but it doesn't have to be.

Playing with cats and dogs has been shown to significantly reduce anxiety. If for whatever reason you can't get a pet, try volunteering at a no-kill animal shelter. They always need people to walk or play with the animals to help socialize them to aid them find their furever home. If animals are not your thing, try volunteering at a food bank, soup kitchen, shelter, YMCA, etc. I am NOT in ANY WAY saying that your problems are somehow less, but sometimes volunteering does help get yourself out of your own head, if that makes any sense.
 

Lilia A

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,610
Have you tried yoga? I find its great for unwinding and calming the mind. There are tons of great videos on doyogawithme.com.
I've taken yoga classes, but I've never tried it before bed. I could try that.

I was going to suggest magnesium too, it helped me a lot to recover from a long period of stress and I never had to take meds.
I've read about this too. I'd try it but I recently got a high magnesium result on a blood test (just barely) despite not taking supplements. My doctor didn't think much of it though.

I very much sympathize with you, work anxiety sometimes rules my world , affects my sleep, makes me feel guilty for having fun and all around drags down my day.
Thanks. I've had bad luck with jobs in the last few years. Two years ago I quit due to anxiety and I ended up jobless for months. I won't quit this time until I get another one. Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for having a job. I just long for the day I wake up looking forward to my work day (which I have in the past, but it's been a while since I've really enjoyed a job).

Thank you all for the well wishes and advice, I really appreciate it. I find that as long as I'm distracted I feel ok. It's when I have too much time to think that things get really bad. My heart rhythm seems to be back to normal now, so I guess it's a sign that at least my body feels a little better.
 

Prancer

Desperately seeking a humbucker.
Staff member
Messages
48,061
I was having a lot of trouble with performance anxiety last year and one of the things I was advised to try was this: Goodbye Anxiety, Goodbye Fear.

I wasn't too keen, but I finally got desperate enough to try it and it actually helped a lot; I had to listen to it three or four times before I noticed any change, but I did start calming down after that. There are times when I can't go to sleep because I have gerbil-on-a-wheel brain, and it usually puts me to sleep, although I had to listen quite a few times before that worked.

Another thing that has helped me is Breathe2Relax, which is pretty much explained by the title--the app gives you breathing exercises to do when you are stressed. The exercises are calibrated to your stress level. It doesn't put your mind at ease, but if you need to physically calm down, it's a good way to bring your heart rate down and ease some of the tension in just a couple of minutes.

Good luck! Anxiety can be really debilitating.
 
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Allskate

Well-Known Member
Messages
10,949
I've dealt with a lot of stress the last couple of years, mostly from things I have very little control over. That's the most difficult thing for me because there's nothing pro-active that I feel I can do. Plus, I find that, if I'm already stressed out, then minor things bother me more.

In situations where I really can't do much about the situation, I try not to dwell too much on the problem, but that's a lot easier said than done. There are various things I do to try to distract myself. Movies are good. I think that anything that is engaging, but doesn't take tremendous amounts of mental energy, works well. There are adult coloring books that are designed to be stress relievers. You end up focusing on what colors to use. Crosswords and Sudoku are good for some people. I've recently started playing with logic puzzles when I find that I'm stressing over things I can't do anything about.

I know some people who swear by meditation as a form of relaxation. I can't do it when I'm wide awake. But, if I wake up in the middle of the night, if I start doing deep breathing with mental body scanning, it helps me fall back asleep quickly. I also take some time during the day, including in the shower, to do deep breathing.

I agree with the magnesium recommendations. I have problems with Stevia, but CALM is probably the easiest way to take magnesium because it's simply a powdered drink mix. If you're already consuming magnesium, shifting your consumption to later in the day might help you wind down at bedtime.

Exercise helps me a lot, especially if my mind is engaged by it or during it. I injured myself a couple of months ago and couldn't work out and it was really a bummer, especially since the weather kept me inside.

But also arguing in PI relieves stress for me too. :D
PI has the opposite effect on me. :lol:
 

Rock2

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,515
So let me break it down into categories:

A. Fix the symptoms - longer term solutions

Best options in random order: 1. Yoga, 2. drink very warm/hot water with lemon every morning, 3. meditation 4. nutrition management 5. exercise 6. have your PH levels checked
None of these are quick fixes, so you have to adopt as many into them into your lifestyle as you can. Meditation has just ridiculous healing properties. The problem is that you won't really notice it until you practice every day for about 3 months. THEN...you will START to notice a difference.
I recommend meditation because yoga is such a time commitment. Yoga is great though because it combines exercise and meditation. But for meditation alone, you can start with ten slow deep breaths and it counts. Ideally you'd like to work up to 20-30 mins per day. My closest friend meditates an hour every day and hasn't missed a day in probably 25 years. Impossible to stress her out...and her entire family is high-energy batsh*t crazy, so her chillness isn't DNA. It has come from practice. So, meditation is something anyone can do at any time (ok not while driving aha). Shortest form takes about a minute . No excuses. Hopefully you get into the habit of sneaking a minute several times a day...and then expand to 20, 30 breaths, etc. It really works. Feel free to research. You should want 'mindfulness meditation'...easiest to adopt. Meditation is not about clearing your mind...mindfulness is about noticing everything that pops into your head but letting the thoughts drift away as others enter...all the while you are deep breathing and lowering your heart rate. You're conditioning your body to not freak out as anxious thoughts enter your head.

Managing diet and understanding your PH levels are random, especially the latter. Specialized practitioners can test this. Your body's acidity levels affect so much from stress, to migraines, to tiredness...many things. Surprising how regulating this can help but it does. No one checks into this but it's an untapped option to fix many things. The water/lemon gig is a part of that fix. Meagan Duhamel does that every morning.

B. Fix symptoms and causes - medium term

Do you know what is causing your anxiety? For some people it's a loss of control. Meaning, their lives are so busy they feel they are letting so many people down. Get to the root causes and simplify your life (easier said than done I realize). That often calms people down...but that's your journey. I have done it and my stresses level is pretty low these days.

C. Fix symptoms - quick fix

Beta Blockers: Propranolol (also known as Inderal)

It's a miracle drug. Cheap. No side effects, safe to use longer term. Available on the internet with zero hassle or through your doctor. Not a heavily controlled or monitored drug due to its safety.
Not indicated for people with low blood pressure or asthma. Other minor things are an issue, too. Research it.
Beta blockers are used to treat high blood pressure, tachycardia, racing heart, tremors. Also it's the drug of choice by people trying to manage performance anxiety (not sexual!). Orchestra musicians, public speakers etc rely on it. Best for situations that are closer to panic attacks than general anxiety. Slows your heart rate, stops tremors, your body totally chills out but not in a spacey way. You're completely lucid.

If you have anxious thoughts those don't disappear...just the physical manifestations of the thoughts are brought under control.

10mg you may not even feel. So you can updose to find the right level. Most people try 20-40mg 2X a day. Onset takes about 30 mins. Lasts 4-6 hours.
Keep in mind that people with legit heart rate issues take 160mg+ at a time so you're well within a safety zone.
You can exercise on it but just understand your heart rate won't speed up easily so you won't be as energetic in the gym.

D. Fix root cause -- longer term

Talk/Cognitive therapy.

If you can afford the 150/hr. Has proven benefits for helping you get at the root cause. There are 2 barriers to success for talk therapy:

1. The therapist. Some are terrible. If one sucks, try another.
2. The patient. Many patients go to therapists to be validated...to be told they aren't crazy. As a result they only share certain information so as not to incriminate themselves. It only works if you share everything...even the stuff that might make you look bad. You won't get the right kind of help without it, so if you do it, be committed.

It's a tough world out there. Good luck!
 

Lilia A

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,610
Thanks Prancer. I'll check it out. One time an old therapist of mine gave me a CD that was supposed to get you all relaxed too (never had time to use it, it was exam period). I think I still have it. If not, I'll give the one you suggested a try.

Entire post
Wow, thank you for all these suggestions. Funny you mention Propanolol because I happen to have it (it was prescribed to me a few years ago, long story but tachycardia was, at some point, a very recurrent issue for me. I never took it though, so I still have the entire bottle. 10mg). Yesterday I was tempted to take it because my heart rate was bothersome (it wasn't just fast but also hard, I could feel every single heart beat), however I was afraid that all that Klonopin I took would interact with it (I haven't done any research on interactions).

Funny anecdote about therapists: 3 of my psychotherapists ended up pregnant while I was their patient, forcing me to switch therapists when they went on preg/mat leave. That's why the doc who prescribes my psych meds is a man, I'm not taking that risk again.
 

Japanfan

Well-Known Member
Messages
21,086
I don't have much to add other than that I turn my four-way flashers on way I have a panic attack in traffic. I do BTW take great care with where and how I drive in terms of not putting myself in situations where I become a danger to other drivers should I get anxious. For example, I usually know my route well, trundle along in the right lane, and know where I will find left-turn lights (opposed to having to turn left on yellow, which is common in my city - and scary).

I turned the flashers on once in the summer and another driver sailed by, yelling at me "You've got your four-ways on"!!
:confused:
 

Rock2

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,515
Thanks Prancer. I'll check it out. One time an old therapist of mine gave me a CD that was supposed to get you all relaxed too (never had time to use it, it was exam period). I think I still have it. If not, I'll give the one you suggested a try.



Wow, thank you for all these suggestions. Funny you mention Propanolol because I happen to have it (it was prescribed to me a few years ago, long story but tachycardia was, at some point, a very recurrent issue for me. I never took it though, so I still have the entire bottle. 10mg). Yesterday I was tempted to take it because my heart rate was bothersome (it wasn't just fast but also hard, I could feel every single heart beat), however I was afraid that all that Klonopin I took would interact with it (I haven't done any research on interactions).
Yes, pls do research interactions and contra-indications such as asthma. If you're in the clear (I assume you are because your doc wouldn't have prescribed if you weren't a candidate....you'd hope) there is practically nothing to be concerned about in taking it. PS don't worry about expired medications. Most don't turn into poison or anything..they just lose their efficacy over time. I'm not a healthcare practitioner but worked for big pharma for a number of years.

I don't know your weight and I won't ask, but unless you're under about 100 lbs ish...10mg will hardly feel like anything. Most people don't feel benefits until you get into the 20-40mg range. So try it, and test it with 10 mg when you're feeling tense. What you feel at about the 30 min mark is what you'll feel. So take 10mg, if you don't notice much after 30 mins pop another one.
As I said, zero side effects for most people....even long term. Curious to hear what your experience ends up being.
 

MacMadame

Cat Lady-in-Training
Messages
28,781
Exercise. Well, I call it play. But it's the same thing. :)

I think everyone has different ones that relax them. For example, yoga stresses me out! I like repetitive stuff like swimming where I get into a zone and stop thinking. Running does that for me too. I find both of these sports very meditative. It might take some experimentation to find yours.
 

Rock2

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,515
Here's also an interesting article I came across today. It's about stress in the workplace but it has implications for our personal lives, too.

Let me short form it. The argument is that you can't eliminate stress in the workplace because stress isn't environmental. It's the manifestation of your own fears. CEOs don't talk about stress and anxiety. They discuss their own fears and how they have to manage them. It's a personal thing, which companies or others can't solve.

e.g. you have a douchebag boss who is telling you you are not doing a good job and giving you reasons. You become stressed out because you fear you are not doing a good job. But if you ARE doing a good job and can prove it, that fear isn't there and as a result your douchebag boss doesn't bother you because you have this inner confidence. Something like that. I'm oversimplifying.

The whole point is that stress is YOUR problem, not what others are causing. You have to manage how you react to things more than trying to manage other people.

And, what CEOs say is the best thing to alleviate their fears is to not keep it inside. Find the right people to talk to about it. Simply talking about your fears with the right people will help make huge gains in alleviating fears and stress. So by coming here and posting you're actually helping yourself, maybe even more than you know!

http://www.fastcompany.com/3056310/work-smart/theres-no-such-thing-as-stress-heres-whats-really-bothering-you
 

skatesindreams

Well-Known Member
Messages
28,768
I've had anxiety and depression for 40 years. I won't do any prescription drugs. I journal, listen to music on headphones(totally shutting out everything), watch figure skating (perfect escapism)
This is similar to my experience, as well.
The episodes have lessened over time, as I've grown better at handling them.
Wine, in moderation, helps.

When I feel anxiety coming on, I redouble my coping strategies.

I have counsel that I can talk with, if I feel the need.
Knowing that they are available, often lessens the need to see them.
After all these years, it's still good to know that they are there, though.
 

meggonzo

Well-Known Member
Messages
6,754
I would also suggest checking your breathing when you are in the midst of anxious or irritating moments at work. Usually when I'm irritated or stressed, I remind myself to check in with my breathing and find that I'm not really breathing and am clenching my jaw. Taking some deep breaths helps in the moment.
 

Cachoo

Well-Known Member
Messages
6,969
Stretching, walking and reading; when I am too wound up to sleep I put on ambient music--that is music that is not so melodic. I used to listen to "Hearts of Space" to find the artists. Once a song (sound) starts I relax almost immediately.
Also I like the crossword puzzles created by Frank Longo and only Frank Longo. I don't worry about the amount of time it takes me. Something about going through the "file cabinet" in my brain to find an answer is relaxing to me.
 

PDilemma

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,610
Exercise. Well, I call it play. But it's the same thing. :)

I think everyone has different ones that relax them. For example, yoga stresses me out! I like repetitive stuff like swimming where I get into a zone and stop thinking. Running does that for me too. I find both of these sports very meditative. It might take some experimentation to find yours.
Yoga makes me want to gouge my own eyes out with my fingernails.

Which would be a less annoying process than enduring a yoga class.

Seriously, it is not for everyone and is not the answer to every problem.
 

ArtisticFan

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,552
Writing helps me to relax. I have been struggling lately with my job because I just can't stand it. Writing forces me to focus on something else and create new worlds that are under my control.
 

Lothlorien

Active Member
Messages
424
I've gone through some rough times with anxiety and depression. For a while had a job which stressed me out so much that others found it hard to be around me, and before that another one which drained life out of me completely due to monotony and lack of autonomy. When in the midst of that, I did find it quite hard to take a mental step back from the situation and 'relax' - so I know it can be hard. Kudos to you for reaching out and for continuing to seek a remedy that suits you and works for you!

@ArtisticFan's comment about creating worlds/environments that are yours and yours only struck a chord with me. :)

One thing I found important was to not get anxious, overwhelmed and overwrought because of my remedy - e.g. if I decided to, for example, meditate daily for stress relief, and then didn't for some reason (ran out of time, forgot, whatever), then I needed to consciously let go of any negative or critical feelings that came up, otherwise I'd just beat myself up and not get any relief at all.
I also found that doing something for its own sake was more beneficial than constantly remembering that I was doing it to relieve anxiety - even if the prompt for starting and continuing was wanting stress relief. So, if I decided to go for regular walks, it needed to be about going for walks as something I did just to go out for a walk, rather than going for a walk because it helps with stress. Not sure if I'm making any sense here...


I like to write down all my most irrational, horrible sounding thoughts and then delete/burn/throw away (make sure no prying eyes can find it). NEVER save.
(...)

It felt so great to acknowledge the thoughts and get them out of my head. I'm not sure if it will help anger and rage, but it certainly helped in the throes of despair, anxiety and depression (as emotions I was having, not diagnoses).
[email protected]
Did that yesterday in fact - except I write lists by hand and stash it away. I've found some old ones, and it was so good to discover that it all worked out in the end (over time).

Not sure if you're up for "woo-woo" stuff, but for a while, writing affirmations was my lifeline. I had a dedicated notebook and wrote them out by hand every single day, at least a page, longer if I needed to. Someone recommended a book called "The Way of the Carrot" (not to be confused with the 'carrot' principle stuff). I used affirmations from that, added some that I read elsewhere, made my own - it evolved into a script which I wrote and wrote and wrote.

At the moment, I'm reading up on EFT (emotional freedom technique) and learning about tapping.

Whatever it is that you decide to try, stick with it for a good while. Just do it, and keep at it.

Best wishes! :)
 

twinsissv

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,784
Stretching, walking and reading; when I am too wound up to sleep I put on ambient music--that is music that is not so melodic. I used to listen to "Hearts of Space" to find the artists. Once a song (sound) starts I relax almost immediately.
Also I like the crossword puzzles created by Frank Longo and only Frank Longo. I don't worry about the amount of time it takes me. Something about going through the "file cabinet" in my brain to find an answer is relaxing to me.
Ah...yes! 'Music from the Hearts of Space'...whatever happened to that program? I loved to listen to and veg out to those interesting sounds. :)
 

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