Updated: Mar 10
As I wake up a small sense of dread awakens with me as I feel a familiar sensation in the center of my chest. Long lost since Autumn, hello again Anxiety. I must say I have not missed you, even though I have thought of you often. Wondering when you would make your unwelcome yet bittersweet visit. Although in the past I believed that you were unannounced, now I understand that you are quite timely. A respectful and gentle reminder to me. Your remind me to take care of myself well and with purpose. To go deeper. Your nudge allows. I do realize this feeling may get more intense if I try to suppress or kick you out of my life. I have learned to allow you in, so that your visits come less often. You may be a bit serious but you are still and quiet. Much better than raucous guests. Like Anger. He comes swiftly but destroys everything in his path, yet you….you sit across the room fluttering your wings so I feel you. I must not keep you caged. Wings are meant to flutter. Yes. Yes, I will honor your secrets until you leave. You are always gone by Summer.
It is much easier to respect you.
In our society we look at anxiety as something to be feared. We run from it, suppress it. Try to ignore it. This is an impossibility, after all. Anxiety is a part of us. In Ayurveda it is the essence of Air, Ether. It is all around us and inside of us. We need it. It is our breathe, our circulation. In Ayurveda it is the vibration of Vata, the Dosha of air and ether. It is the power of artistry, creativity, travel, and flow. There are ways to release it, to transform it, to tame it, and to understand it.
During the beginning of Spring and Fall, Earth becomes drier. As the density of Winter begins to lift, the ground and leaves begin to get dryer. Our skin and tissues, even the air around us becomes dryer. Anxiety is higher in the Spring and the Fall. I feel anxiety today in the middle of my heart space. In the last few years I have been deeply aware of anxiety and have shined a bright light on it. I have learned that my anxiety is probably why I abused alcohol for so long. I also believe that it has possibly been responsible for other addictions of my past. Nibbling when not hungry, or distracting myself with anything that would pull me away. It was painful to be by myself with pain. These days I look deeply into it and sit with it. I have some tips to share for you if anxiety is something that you have had trouble with in your life. I also want to let you know that you are never alone with this and that anxiety can be seen as a small reminder of your own inner artist. Our Artist is always looking to be uncaged, released.
Here are some tips that work for me in knowing thyself and my anxiety a little more.
Stress can trigger it. When you are hard pressed in work or taking care of those around you, remember to take deep breathes throughout the day. Pulling in deep breathes can settle the anxiety in your body. Give yourself five minutes early in the morning of breath work or a five or ten minute guided meditation with focus on heart or belly space. Also settle yourself in a comfortable seat between 2pm and 6pm in the afternoon for five minutes of deep breathing. Even checking your pulse throughout your day can settle you down. This will grow an awareness to your anxiety so that you begin to create coping skills that lesson these vibrations.
Remember on a deep level that anxiety is higher in the Spring and Fall, so prepare yourself for this. Understand that this may be the time for more down time or reflection. If you take CBD this is the time to take this or heighten your dosage. (Check with your CBD Educator or Physician before taking any herbal or pharmaceutical medication.) Check in with your calendars so you know the time to up your practices.
Yoga. In movement heated flows are excellent for anxiety. Heat can add an element of heaviness to the vibration of Vata. Heated Yoga flows are excellent as well as dynamic Vinyasa style classes with a lots of core work. Salutations are excellent. Restorative Yoga is a remedy for anxiety. During high anxiety, the style of Yoga to avoid would be anything that is jumpy or high movement. I love artistic expression style practice but during my anxiety I avoid fast and fluttery movements. It can aggravate your Vata and increase anxiety. Save this for more sluggish times. Also a gentle morning practice can go a long way. Rub some rose oil on your wrists and ankles, play soft music and enjoy.
Hot baths, hot saunas, hot teas. Heat is excellent for anxiety. I actually feel like it “burns it all up.” I practice a lot of hot Yoga during this time because it lessons the anxiety greatly. Saunas, hot tubs, hot baths. Lavender, , rose geranium or even your favorite bubble bath is nice. Heighten your senses. Massage your body at night with warm oil. Also wear layers if you are outside. Wool socks around the house. Keep the heating blanket on the bed for another month. Heavy quilts during sleep will ground us as well and give us more warmth.
This can be the time to enjoy the sweets. In Ayurveda we use healthy sweets and breads to tame anger and anxiety. it is the perfect remedy. Bake some sweet cake. Add flaxseed instead of egg and butter. Make some vegan brownies. Enjoy these precious acts. Any act that heightens all the senses and allows us to be more present, tames Vata.
Apothecary. Chose teas from your local distributers. Adaptogens are excellent for anxiety. Roobios, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Chamomile. Play around. Add some honey or maple syrup or agave. Take time to sit during the afternoon with a hot cup. Tea is my favorite Dinacharya. It allows us to be still. It is not only nourishing to our cells, it is nourishing to our minds.
Check in. Fellowship. Counsel. You know who you need. Check in with your trusted party. Reach out. It is important for us to have that person that we entrust with our anxiety. I have one person that I speak to often and we do this for each other. We hold space. She always knows when my anxiety runs high and I know when she needs me as well. It is nice to have a touchstone. This may be your counselor. Or an online group. Or your partner. Reach out. We have so much access to each other during this time. Take advantage.
Reading, Writing, Arithmetic! One way to tame anxiety is to grab a good book, or write down your feelings. Share a poem. Or do some of your grocery list, write out some bills. Get some things done that can ground you and transform your anxiety into action. This is one way to use your anxiety in movement and productivity. Clear out a drawer or organize your pantry. Make some labels and clean up a part of your home that has gotten a little messy!
Nature Calls. Nature is our only healthy distraction. And such a beautiful one. Take a walk. Feel the dry leaves under your feet. Allow. Hear the birds. Breathe. If you live in town, smile at other people. Look at trees. Just enjoy the gorgeous implosion of Mother Earth. Breathe deep and enjoy!
Remember during this time that you are not alone. And that anxiety can be a reminder of the seasons. Of passing emotions. It reminds me, that like the Moon, we must go through our own phases to feel full again.