by Natasha Hatherall-Shawe
How do I get myself off the ledge fast that doesn’t involve popping a pill? I ask myself this near-daily as a business owner in a fast-paced industry. After a lot of research along with trial and error, and despite my affection for Xanax, I have found these 5 ways to be the quickest at getting myself off the ledge and back up breathing and functional as quickly as I can.
1. Lie on the floor
Now bear with me here. Although I’m sure you’ll agree that any lie down is appreciated these days. When I feel an anxiety attack coming on or I feel out of control, the first thing I do, and one that is easiest to do in the majority of places, is to lie on the floor. Ideally a rug on your bedroom or living room floor, or if you have a garden, then lying on the grass can make you feel extra grounded at this time. Lying down will create some mental space and it will help you focus and use other coping strategies. Usually, I find after even 5 minutes I’m feeling a lot better and I’m ready to get up and continue my day.
2. Do 20 star jumps (or jumping jacks if that’s what you call them!)
This old skool intensive exercise helps release endorphins naturally, the hormones that help keep stress and depression away. They also give you a bit of a workout and help with insomnia too. Begin standing with feet together and arms by your side. Jump up and out to the side with both feet so that your feet are now wide apart. While jumping out, raise your arms straight up and out to your side until your palms are together above your head. Jump your feet back together as you return your arms to your side and you’ve completed 1 rep – do 20 of these and you’ll feel a whole lot better, we promise. You can also consider it as part of your daily movement, so winning all round ;)
3. Play Rain music
When a friend told me about “rain music” I must admit I thought they were a little crazy, but rain is very calming and helps stabilize us. The rhythmic noise can actually help induce a more meditative state in us that brings on relaxation. There are lots of free ones on YouTube and online to google and find.
4. Stand in the Shower
The shower is one of my happy places and the hotter the water the better. If I’m home and this is an option when I feel strung out, hopping in a hot shower is my favourite place to be. Throw in a lovely shower gel and I just stay in there for 10 or 15 minutes until my head it in a better place and I’m ready to function again.
5. Smell lavender / an essential oil you like
The powers of lavender to relax us are well documented and a soothing scene can really help relieve anxiety and can help focus and ground you fast. I keep a roll-on stick in my handbag at all times and if I feel myself starting to panic, I sit and inhale it breathing slowly for a few minutes in or out. I also roll it on my wrists and other pull points to support. Lavender is the most commonly used, but if you don’t like this find one you do such as bergamot orange, chamomile, or lemon.