3 Easy Hacks To Reduce Overwhelm

3 Easy Hacks To Reduce Overwhelm

3 easy hacks to reduce overwhelm

What do you do when you’re feeling overwhelmed and scattered?

I used to shut down, go find a snack, watch TV or procrastinate by changing the colours on my Canva graphics 50 times.

That helped calm my mind down in the moment, but as soon as I started working on the important stuff again, I’d be right back on that train heading straight to *Overwhelm Central*.

Now, I ditch overwhelm as quick as you can say tim-buck-two using these 3 hacks.

Listen now on your fav podcast platform or read the blog below.

Hack #1: slow belly breaths
  1. Place your hand on your belly and another on your heart
  2. Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds feeling your belly rise
  3. Hold for 3-4 seconds
  4. Slowly breathe out through your nose for 6-8 seconds
  5. Hold for 2-3 seconds
  6. Repeat 10x

By breathing into your belly you’re activating your diaphragm rather than using your shoulders and neck to breathe and that long exhale switches your body into parasympathetic mode (aka. rest and digest mode).

This gets you out of sympathetic mode where your…

  • breathing is shallow
  • head is spiralling
  • body is flooded with antsy cortisol which is making you feel scattered and overwhelmed.

Having that long exhale switches you back into the calming parasympathetic mode where your cortisol is lower and you have more clarity in your mind to be able to rationalise and think clearly without the haze of stress, panic and overwhelm overshadowing everything.

So have 10 long exhale belly breathes, focusing on your belly rising, to switch you into parasympathetic mode so you can feel calmer and have more clarity.

 

Hack #2: Distract yourself for 20 minutes

Literally, step away from your work and go distract yourself for 20 minutes . Put the washing out, make a snack, even lie on your bed.

After 20 minutes, come back to your work and you’ll notice your head is clearer, your more in control and way more productive.

This is because your brain can only handle and process information for 52 minutes before it’s at full capacity. Before your brain gets so full that it starts to feel tired and scattered and overwhelmed.

After 52 minutes, your brain will naturally start to daydream and you’ll catch yourself procrastinating with other mindless tasks or scrolling on social media. Which usually makes you feel stressed and you try to rush back into work.

After 52 minutes of working, relax for 16-20 minutes.

Go away and empty your brain, give it a breather so it doesn’t feel like it’s trying to hold on to all these different ideas at once, but it can actually stop and process what its absorbed and done in the last hour or since your last break. Once it’s processed the past 52 minutes worth of information, it’ll be clearer, calmer and you’ll be able to rationalise and think much easier – reducing your overwhelm.

The best way to do this is to set a little reminder every 90 minutes on your phone or laptop to tell you to have a break so you can get into your work and run over if you’re on a roll, but still get your 16-20 minute break in. You’ll be so much more productive, get so much more done, and your brain will feel calmer and clearer.

 

Hack #3: find the solution.
STEP ONE

Brain dump every thought you currently have onto a piece of paper or a blank work document.

If you’re generally feeling overwhelmed and you’re not sure why…

  • Brain dump every single thought that passes your head in a 20 minute time period. Doesn’t matter if it’s tasks you need to do, reminders you need to set or how you’re currently feeling. Jot it all down.

Or if you’re feeling overwhelmed about a specific task…

  • Write down every thought and step you need to do for that task.

Basically, every single thought that pops up, write it down. Try to completely empty your head so your brain isn’t trying to hold onto all these thoughts and reminders and to-do’s. Because when you transfer the thought from your head and into written form, your brain can let go of that thought. When you keep repeating that process, your brain gets clearer and clearer.

Experts state the mind thinks between 60,000-80,000 thoughts a day.

That’s 41-55 thoughts a minute. But most of these are useless thoughts or constant reminders, so clearing out the fluff and emptying these thoughts from your mind can reduce how many thoughts you have per hour, leaving your brain less overwhelmed and scattered and full.

So get all your current thoughts written down about a specific task that’s making you feel overwhelmed or in general so that they’re physically in front of you.

 

STEP TWO

Choose the thought or task that’s the most important to do right now.

My favourite way to do this is a method my coach taught me about the blocked hose analogy.

  • Imagine you’ve got a hose and it’s blocked in various locations.
  • You need to unblock at the end closest to the water tap so the water can progress further up the hose.
  • You need to start with the task that will get the water moving the most. The one task you can do right now that will give you the most benefit and get you closer to where you want to be.

If you get this one task done, you’ll have unblocked one aspect of the hose and will be making progress and have made the biggest step in the right direction.

Rather than trying to stop the overwhelm by doing everything at once, starting 10 different jobs but only doing 5% of them and procrastinating with the easier tasks that make no difference at all.

Like changing the colour scheme on your social media posts or choosing a new font for your website.

These tasks won’t be unblocking the hose and will leave you still feeling overwhelmed and stressed with everything that needs to be done. Especially because you’re not making big progress when you alter your colours or change your fonts, even thought you will naturally gravitate towards doing them because they’re easy and mindless.

Brain dump all your thoughts, then look at everything you’ve written down and choose the one task that is the most important to do right now.

The one task that’s the first step to unblocking your hose and will allow you to make progress to achieve your big goal.

 

If you’re struggling to reduce your overwhelm, control your stress and feel calmer, let me help you.

Book a free 15 min chat and let’s get you feeling amazing again.

How To Know If You’re Close To Burning Out

How To Know If You’re Close To Burning Out

How To Know If You’re Close To Burning Out

How do you know if you’re on the verge of burning out?

Is it when you feel scattered and overwhelmed with everything you need to do…

Is it when you wake up feeling still feeling exhausted…

Or is it when you feel so anxious that everything feels out of control…

 

Burnout doesn’t just hit you out of no where. There are key symptoms your body throws at you to tell you you’re heading in the wrong direction. And key symptoms where your body is screaming at you to tell you that burnout is just around the corner.

 

Want to know what those symptoms are?

Then today’s podcast episode is for you. Listen now on your fav podcast platform or read the blog below.

Burnout is something we all avoid.

It leaves you feeling drained and exhausted and halts your business and your life to a complete stop.

If you were magic, you’d pause the world for a while to give you time and silence to catch up again.

But the world doesn’t stop moving so you either have to cocoon yourself away and miss out on catching up with friends, spending time with your partner or enjoying life in general, or power through and still do *all* these things. But feel like a complete zombie, while feeling irritable, exhausted and totally drained the whole time.

Burnout stops you from doing everything you love. It leaves you feeling heartbroken and empty.

Burnout doesn’t just affect your ability to live the life you want, it also has a huge impact on your business.
  • Burnout stops your business from being able to grow and thrive, and ends up draining the living shit out of you
  • If your business can’t thrive, then it leaves you feeling like a failure and that you’re not capable of running a successful business
  • You feel guilty that you have to power through because you have clients depending on you so can’t leave clients high and dry but then you are always worried because if you don’t stop then you’ll totally burn out
  • It feels like you have no control over your life

 

Burnout doesn’t just hit you out of the blue.

There are warning signs you can look out for to know that burnout is lurking around the next corner.

And it all starts with:

#1. Constant stress over weeks or months

  • Stressed with all the things you have to do
  • Stressed with the lack of time to do them
  • The fact you’re basically fumbling around in the dark trying to figure it all out

#2. Overwhelm

  • To-do lists everywhere
  • Tasks building up
  • Nothing is scheduled or planned but everything needs completing
  • No idea how to get everything done

#3. Scattered

  • Million things you need to do but you’re super time poor and unsure where to start
  • You’re running behind schedule and you don’t know when you’ll do everything you need to do
  • You’re unsure how to do everything you need to do

#4. Moody

  • Feel snappy, irritated, frustrated, moody, and have a low tolerance for everything and everyone else.
  • Snapping at your partner and family
  • Irritated when things don’t go right (aka. your hair isn’t sitting right)
  • Small issues feel like the worse thing in the world (aka. spill you coffee)
  • Emotions easily swell and tidal wave within your body
  • Feels like PMS all the time

#5. Extra stress

  • Feel like you’re running on adrenaline and you can go go go at hyper speed
  • Jumping from thought to thought and task to task with no clear direction
  • Feel wired and antsy
  • High intense energy within your body but unable to get rid of it
  • High energy that stops you from falling asleep or wakes you in the night

#6. Anxious

  • Everything feels too much
  • Your heart starts fluttering and racing in your chest
  • An iron grip or tightness squeezes your chest
  • A sticking glob gets stuck in your throat
  • Your thoughts start spiralling around in chaos
  • Can’t get clarity with a single thought due to a cyclone of thoughts flying around
  • Might wake up feeling anxious or experience persistent anxiety all day
  • Experience flare ups of high anxiety throughout the day

#7. Exhaustion

  • Prolonged mid-arvo slumps where you need to rest or have a nap
  • Struggle to wake up and get out of bed
  • Drag yourself through the day
  • Crash on your bed or couch once you eventually get home
  • Use energy to lift your eyebrows just to keep your eyelids open
  • Low motivation and no oomph or drive to do anything – can’t be bothered
  • May experience dread and resentment because you don’t want to do the things you need to be doing because you’re so tired

#8. Brain fog

  • Lack of clarity
  • Struggle to concentrate
  • Easily distracted
  • Procrastinate a lot
  • Feels like a grey, thick wall in your head with all your thoughts and words on the other side
  • It takes energy to think

#9. Numbness

  • All these symptoms are too much for your body and mind to cope with so you enter straight into burnout and finally *hit a wall*.
  • Numbness, apathy or hopelessness
  • Too tired to do anything or care about anything
Welcome to Burnout Central. A place you really don’t want to be.

When you’re here, you can’t have the mentality to push through it, ignore it or believe it’ll get better once you’re finally successful and on the other side.

It won’t.

Once you reach burnout, your body and brain need a serious amount of time to recover.

Burnout is a biochemical reaction that’s happened in your body.

Your body and adrenals are now depleted.

Therefore, your adrenals need time to recover. If they aren’t given time to recover then you’ll always be in a state of constant exhaustion and fatigue as they can take months or years to get back to normal patterns.

Your adrenals biochemically can’t bounce back to give you energy, give you clarity and make you inspired and motivated again simply by getting a goods night sleep and pushing through.

Pushing through exhausts and depletes them more. Pushing you deeper and deeper into burnout territory.

Your adrenals may slowly get back to a healthy range on their own over many months and years. But to speed this process up your adrenals require certain nutrients and the right signals from your brain to function optimally and give you energy, motivation and clarity.

 

Prevention is key to stop burnout from happening in the first place

And it’s the reason I created the FREE QUIZ so you can know how close to burning out you really are, followed by a few key tips to reduce stress and overwhelm quickly.

We don’t want to wait until you’re already in burnout to pick you back up again. We want to prevent you from entering burnout in the first place so your business and life can continue to thrive.

On a final note…

Know that no matter what stage of burning out or burnout you’re at, there are ways to quickly heal your body, mind and adrenals.

You can get your energy and motivation back within a few weeks with the right herbs and nutrients.

  • Your anxiety and stress can reduce in hours.
  • Your energy can boost within days.
  • Your motivation can lift within a few weeks.

Burnout is never a prison sentence that you can’t get out of. It’s not a 2 for 1 deal that comes with running a business.

You can grow a business at every stage and be filled with energy, inspiration and motivation.

Find out how close to burning out you are with the free quiz RIGHT HERE.

The Anxiety Relief Technique That Calms Your Mind And Halts Your Panic Attack

The Anxiety Relief Technique That Calms Your Mind And Halts Your Panic Attack

An Anxiety Relief Technique That Calms Your Mind And Halts Your Panic Attack

Do you wish you had a magic stick that could make all your anxiety simply disappear?

Well this one particular technique may not be magical, but it sure has the power to halt a panic attack in its tracks and make you feel calm again – quick sticks!

There’s a reason it’s my absolute favourite technique to use when I’m feeling anxious and it works everytime.

Want to know what it is and how to use it?

Then check out today’s episode by clicking play below or listening on your fav podcast platform.

 

One of the most effective ways to reduce anxiety when it’s flaring up…

…when you start to feel that unease in your stomach and the pounding in your heart, the tightness squeezing your chest or the sweaty palms and the chaos swirling around and around in your head…

…is the 90-10 method.

This technique quickly reduces those symptoms when they pop up. But even better, they stop your anxiety flaring up again later on.

This is because the 90-10 method addresses the cause of your anxiety. This technique doesn’t make you feel momentarily better. It doesn’t distract you or ground you back down. It deals with the reason why your anxiety is popping up in the first place. So you can let that anxiety go and overcome it.

The 90-10 method can be used on all levels of anxiety. Whether it’s just low level anxiousness, overwhelm or unease, or more when your heart is pounding and your thoughts are spiralling in your head.

How does this magical anxiety-neutralising technique work?

10% of the time you allow yourself to wallow in problem mode.

Go grab that ice cream, curl into a ball and cry your eyes out…allow yourself to feel absolutely miserable in the moment. Let yourself feel like crap because whatevers making you feel anxious is sucky and it’s ok to give these emotions a voice and let it out. Let those emotions free. Feel anger, irritation, sadness, anxiety. Feel whatever you need to feel.

It doesn’t mean that you’re being petty.
It doesn’t mean that you’re less than, or that you’re weak.
It just means that you’re allowing yourself to be human and to feel your emotions.

Allow yourself to feel those emotions for 10% of the time. If you’ve got an hour, sit in those emotions for 6 minutes.

 

Then switch over and 90% of the time, go into solution mode.

Solution mode is anything you need to work out why you’re feeling anxious and find a solution to it.

Sit down, find a quiet place, take a cleansing breath and then ask yourself these 3 questions.

P.S. Let the truth come out. No one else needs to know these answers, so be as raw and open with yourself as you can. There are no wrong answers.

#1. What do I need right now to feel better?
  • Is it a hug?
  • Is it to pick up the phone and tell someone a piece of your mind?
  • Is it to quit your job?
  • Is it to have a big cry?

It doesn’t matter what it is and you don’t have to do it, just be honest with yourself for what your heart is screaming out for right now.

 

#2. What was the issue that made me feel this way?

Be 100% honest with yourself. You don’t need to act on these realisations, just allow your subconscious to tell you what you need.

  • Is it to call someone & set them straight about something they said?
  • Is it to change the way someone treats you & if so, how would you like to be treated?
  • Is it that you feel stuck and you don’t like the way you currently run your household or how you do your work?
  • Is it that your head feels chaotic, you feel overwhelmed, over worked and like you’re losing your sanity?
  • Is it to figure out what you actually want in life, because you’re truthfully stuck in a rut that’s not heading where you want to go?

 

#3. What needs to happen to stop this from happening again?

Start with the raw truth and then work backwards to find a solution that’s comfortable to you.

  • It may not be calling that person and telling them a piece of your mind. Instead it may be listing all the reasons why their opinion has no impact on your life and making a plan to avoid talking to them. Or maybe being the one to change the conversation with them so that when they make a comment that triggers you, you have something you can say that makes you feel better and stops them in their tracks from making you feel worse.

 

  • If you want to be treated differently, it may be writing a list of how you’d ideally like to be treated by the person or relationship that’s making you feel anxious, and noting down the things that mean a lot to you. Then bringing it up in conversation with them. It’s much easier to fix a relationship you have with a friend, partner or family member when you know what you want, rather than what you want them not to do – and they’ll be way more receptive to making a change you love, rather than trying to change something about them you don’t like.

 

  • If it’s because you feel stuck and you don’t like the way you do something in your household or at work, it may be that you need to sit down with a blank piece of paper and plan out how an ideal day looks in your house or at work. What you’d be doing and what you’d be achieving. And then look at your life and notice the parts that you want to be doing on a day to day basis that aren’t currently in your life. And then create a plan for how you could start to include it into your daily routine. Again, don’t focus on what you don’t like, introduce and start doing what you want to be doing. Focus on the positives.

 

  • If it’s that you feel chaotic, overwhelmed and like you’re losing your sanity, it could be that you need to get clarity again on what you really want. Sit down with a blank piece of paper and write down absolutely everything you need to do and want to do. Then prioritise that list with what’s super important and will make a big difference in your life, all the way down to the things that don’t make a difference if they’re done or not. It could even be just finding a diary that vibes for you and scheduling your day and making a plan.

It’s finding the right solution for you.

  1. What do you need right now to feel better?
  2. What was the issue that has made you feel this way?
  3. And what needs to happen to stop this from happening again in the future?

What solution makes you feel good and that you’ve solved the issue that was triggering your anxiety and your emotions.

This technique has that beautiful combination of allowing your emotions to be heard in a safe and controlled manner because you’re giving them a section of time to scream out and rage, but then you’re also figuring out a solution to the main issue that’s causing your anxiety in the first place. You’re figuring out the answer to stop that anxiety trigger from triggering your again in the future.

This will take a huge weight off your shoulders, because a huge chunk of anxiety is a fear of the unknown, a fear of the what if and basically catastrophizing about the future – whether you can control it or not.

And a big way to reduce anxiety is to find the solution. Create a contingency plan so you have something in your back pocket if that what if or that unknown ever does happen.

You are the one in control of your life, so create solutions to fix or heal what’s upsetting you and making you anxious. It’s way more powerful and effective to feel anxiety-free for the long term, rather than letting anxiety control and suffocate you with worries and fears.

The next time you’re feeling anxious and you feel like you can’t get out of out that anxious spiral, use this method.

  • Allow yourself 10% of the time to wallow and do what you need to express your emotions in all their glory.
  • Then transition and allow yourself 90% of the time to figure out a solution to what’s making you feel anxious.

Spend 6 minutes wallowing. Then 54 minutes in solution mode asking yourself these three questions:

  1. What do I need to feel better right now?
  2. What was the issue that made me feel this way?
  3. What needs to happen to stop this happening again?

And I promise you a massive weight off your shoulders will be lifted and your anxiety will massively reduce.

4 Ways To Reduce Your Anxiety This Holiday Season

4 Ways To Reduce Your Anxiety This Holiday Season

4 Ways To Reduce Your Anxiety This Holiday Season

Feeling anxious these holidays?

You’re not alone.

The holidays are filled with joy and happiness, but they can also be filled with worry, overwhelm and anxiety.

Maybe you’re overwhelmed with social events and people wanting to see you that you haven’t seen in 12 months?

Maybe you’re experiencing financial strain that can come with buying presents for everyone or feeling anxious about choosing the perfect present for someone who has everything?

Or maybe you’re dreading seeing that family member who always criticises you and makes you feel lousy about your life?

The holidays are a joyous time, but they can also be filled with anxiety.

If you’re looking to reduce your anxiety these holidays and enjoy the happiness that Christmas can offer, this episode is for you.

Download the podcast episode from your fav podcast platform or hit play below.

1. Say “No”

No to that social event.

No to seeing someone.

No to adding more to your humungous list of to-dos.

No even when you’ve got nothing else to do.

You do not need to feel guilty if you’re not attending an event you’ve been invited to. You don’t need to feel obligated to do anything.

This is your life and you have the free will to spend it however you like.

So put yourself first.

If an event coming up is going to eat at your energy, eat at your self care, eat at your happiness, or eat at your mental capacity, then the best word to use is ‘no’.

‘No’ if you don’t want to go to an event. ‘No’ if you don’t want to see someone. ‘No’ if all you want to do is chill on your couch and watch Netflix.

It is okay to say no, you don’t need to give an excuse. You don’t need to give anything else. You can say no to an event, to an invitation and to a person – no excuse required.

Now, don’t get me wrong, you don’t need to be an a-hole when you do it, you can say “no thank you” or “sorry, I have other commitments”. ‘Other commitments’ can literally be a date with Netflix on the couch. Don’t feel guilty – because choosing what you do with your time is your choice alone and you’re allowed to choose whatever you like. Especially if going to an event or seeing someone you don’t want to see is actually going to be a burden on your life. You’re not hurting anyone but yourself by going.

Now you may be inundated this holiday season with invitations and events and you’re not dreading them, you’re actually excited.

But you know that going to them all is going to leave you a total zombie who’s fed up of Christmas and turns you into a snappy grumpy pants when you see people.

What I generally recommend in this situation is know how many social events per week would drain you and leave you frazzled and fatigued by the time Monday rolls around. From here, figure out how many social events you can and want to attend per week. And stick to it.

It might be one event a week. It could be two events a week.

When you know how many social events are happening that week, you know how many you can attend and you can choose the ones that you want to go to the most. You don’t have to make yourself free to attend them all or fill every nook and cranny of your diary with events.

Spend your time wisely because, remember, this is your life. You’re the one who has to be happy with it at the end of the day, so don’t live it pleasing other people.

Action Task 

How many social events would you want to attend per week that will leave you feeling fresh and energetic all week long?

Then when the invites pile up these holidays, choose the ones you really want to go to and don’t go over your weekly social event quota.

 

2. Change the conversation

This one is all about dealing with the anxiety and nervousness you feel when you have to see certain people. You know the person – the family member, in-law, relative or friend who makes comments about your life, makes you feel uncomfortable, makes you feel crap about yourself and makes you feel less than.

It’s the person you try to avoid or make an excuse under the sun to cut the conversation short.

You can’t change this person, what they’re like and what they say, but you can change your interaction with them. You can do this by changing your half of the conversation.

I’d bet my bottom dollar that your anxiety around seeing this person is because of the things they say to you. For days and weeks you worry about talking to this person, and you think of how best to respond to the usual criticisms or comments they make.

Well the beauty of a conversation is that it goes two ways. They say something crappy, you respond in a certain way (usually a defensive, excuse-filled way). And while you can’t change that person and what they say, you can change your half of the conversation.

For example: you might have a relative or a friend who makes comments and makes you feel guilty about the fact you never see them. They may say things like “Hey stranger” or “I haven’t seen you in a while”, which prompts you to feel bad, feel guilty, and come up with some excuse as to why you haven’t seen them.

Instead of falling into that spiral and feeling nervous and anxious about seeing them and being made to feel guilty for not seeing them – just change your half of the conversation.

Instead of scrambling for some excuse as to why you haven’t seen them and blurting out that you’ve “been so busy” and “life’s been chaotic”, just say “It’s good to see you, too”.

Because you don’t have to engage in their conversation. You don’t have to feel bad or owe anyone anything. You don’t have to have an excuse for living your life. Simply change your half of the conversation.

Action Task 

Think about the person you’re dreading seeing these holidays, and why you’re feeling anxious about seeing them. If it’s something they say, think up a phrase to use that’s platonic and doesn’t engage in their negative conversation but instead shuts it down and makes you feel good.

 

 

3. Create a contingency plan

If you’re someone who worries about the worst case scenario…

  • you fear what may happen
  • you worry about the what ifs
  • you create stories in your head about all the possible things that could happen and all the ways the day could end in disaster

…then a contingency plan is for you.

What you do is:

1. Firstly, catch yourself having the thought. Catch yourself thinking that the worst is going to happen. Notice that you’re creating a scenario in your head where something crappy happens or you end up hating the day.

Because first things first, you may not even realise you’re having these thoughts. If you’re the type of person who says “but what if…” or “I can’t do that because…” and you’ve filled in those …’s with things that haven’t happened yet, then you’re imagining and planning for the worst. You’re catastrophizing. You’re imagining all the ways it could go wrong, and getting sucked into the vortex of thinking those things will happen that you dread the event or the day before it’s even arrived.

And chances are, that crappy situation that you imagined doesn’t even happen. But you spend all day and all week worrying about it.

2. Once you’ve caught yourself thinking about the worst case scenario, create a contingency plan for it.

  • What would you do if the worst case scenario happened?
  • How would you turn it around and still enjoy the day?
  • How would you deal with it so it doesn’t end up being a big deal and doesn’t bring your mood down?

And that right there, is your contingency plan. Now instead of obsessing and worrying about what could go wrong, you have a plan of action in that noggin of yours that would get you out of that pickle and allow the day to still be great.

Most of the time you worry about the unknowns and what ifs…so make those unknowns and what ifs invalid by having a solution to them. By having a contingency plan in place if everything were to go wrong.

Action Task 

What is something you’re currently thinking “what if” or imagining the worst case scenario?

Create a contingency plan for it so you have a plan of action in place if it were to come true by answering these 3 questions:

  • What would you do if the worst case scenario happened?
  • How would you turn it around and still enjoy the day?
  • How would you deal with it so it doesn’t end up being a big deal and doesn’t bring your mood down?

 

 

4. 5-4-3-2-1 technique

The 5-4-3-2-1 technique is a brilliant tip I use to reduce my anxiety when I’m out and about. It helps distract my mind and gives my brain and heart a chance to calm down and stop feeling so panicked.

Firstly, you take a deep, comfortable breath in through you nose and out through your mouth. Do that twice more.

Then, you look around and note 5 things you can see.

Then 4 things you can feel, making note of their texture, temperature and shape.

3 things you can hear.

Then 2 things you can smell.

And finally, 1 thing you can taste.

Then tune into your heart and mind, and noticed if they’re calm or still fluttering around like hummingbirds.

Repeat if you’re still feeling on edge and anxious. Find new things to note down for what you can see, feel, hear, smell and taste.

Action Task 

Practice this 5-4-3-2-1 technique now to get the hang of it.

Then jot down the instructions in your phone so if you start to feel anxious when out and about, you can open your phone and follow the instructions to feel calm again.

 

Remember that it’s ok to feel anxiety this holiday season. You don’t have to put on a happy face, especially when you’re not feeling it inside. Know your boundaries, ask your heart what’s making you feel unsettled these holidays, and use these techniques to help you feel calm and in control again.

Your In-Built Anxiety Alarm System

Your In-Built Anxiety Alarm System

Your In-Built Anxiety Alarm System:

The Symptoms That Tell You When Your Anxiety Is About To Flare

What if you could have alarm bells that tell you when your anxiety is about to appear? So the instant you hear them, you can quickly stop your anxiety before it even has the chance to show up.

Lucky for you – you do.

You have an inbuilt alarm system of symptoms that show up before your anxiety will – days and months in advance.

Unfortunately, these in built alarm bells don’t help you out with the anxiety you experience before going on a first date, asking your boss for a raise or before sitting an exam.

But these inbuilt alarm bells do help you to know when that random anxiety might show up. Or when you might experience anxiety with your usual every day life.

Your body will give you a bunch of symptoms to scream out at you “SOMETHING’S NOT RIGHT”. If you ignore those symptoms, then anxiety will eventually manifest.

If you’re wanting to know what those inbuilt alarm bells are – the symptoms that tell you anxiety might be on the way – then this episode is for you.

Download the podast episode from your fav podcast platform or hit play below.

Want the weekly check-in I use to monitor how my health is going to know if anxiety is lurking in the shadows?

Pop your details in below and it’ll be in your inbox in a jiffy.

Anxiety Weekly Check in

Today’s episode we are talking about your:

In-built anxiety alarm system

Today I want to talk to you about how to listen to your body. How to listen to your symptoms and know which symptoms are an in-built alarm system that tell you when your anxiety is about to flare. And it might not just be anxiety that’s going to flare, it could bring depression along for the ride and that makes for a really crappy party of the 3 of you.

The thing is, your body and all your body systems don’t work in isolation.

  • Your gut influences your brain and mood and your brain and mood influence your gut.
  • Your hormones influence your mood and your mood can influence your hormones.

All your body systems are interconnected, and they all influence one another. There are just certain body systems that will manifest symptoms earlier than others.

When it comes to anxiety,  there are certain symptoms that you should be watchful of.

When these symptoms start to pop up, it’s a big red flag that you’re heading in the wrong direction and if you don’t do something about it, anxiety is gonna pop up in all it’s anger and glory.

I don’t mean just knowing “I’m stressed” or knowing that you’re feeling antsy, on edge, uneasy or any of those anxiety symptoms.

I’m talking about the symptoms before the anxiety symptoms show up.

If I listened to my body and identified these symptoms when they first popped up, I wouldn’t have disregarded them and brushed them off like they’re nothing. I wouldn’t have ignored them, because the anxiety that came out the other side was bad. Like really really bad.

Lying in bed in foetal position just wanting my anxiety to go the hell away. Wishing I could press a button and just feel at peace. It was the first time I ever wanted something that would make me feel numb. And that was a scary thought in itself.

So the biggest lesson I learnt was: Don’t. Ignore. The. Symptoms.

The symptoms that are the signs that something nasty is coming. Right now you’re at an advantage because you can recognise these symptoms and do something about them before the anxiety shows up.

 

alarm bell #1: Energiser-bunny energy

About 3 months before my anxiety arrived I was mildly stressed. I had a lot on my plate and I thought I could handle it all.

It was that motivating kind of stress, the one where I was flooded with adrenaline and turned into the energiser bunny getting everything done.

That was symptom number 1, where small moments of stress turn into ongoing stress. And that ongoing stress, turns into feeling like you’re running on adrenaline. It may seem great in the moment and you’re thankful for all the extra motivating energy, but that adrenaline is not healthy when it’s constantly being released.

The fact you’re relying on adrenaline for energy is bad because that means your own energy stores have run out and you’re using your adrenals to fuel your everyday life. This isn’t good or healthy for your body.

That feeling of running on adrenaline and buzzing around on what feels like ‘feel good stress‘ – is not a feel good stress response and is the first sign I want you to watch out for.

It’s a sign that you need to dial it back and prioritise self care time to recharge your batteries and get rid of your adrenaline. That adrenaline needs to be reigned back in and you need to give your body a chance to slow down. It will feel like you’re going against the grain, but the quicker you reign it in, the easier it is to prevent your anxiety from showing up.

alarm bell #2: headaches 

Symptom number 2 came in the form of headaches.

You may be someone who gets stress headaches and this is a fantastic sign that your body is struggling with your current life load.

Or you may be someone who hasn’t connected those dots before.

Headaches pop up for a number of reasons and a lot of them are the precursor to anxiety.

  • One: stress can cause tightness around your neck and shoulders which causes headaches. That uncontrolled stress will morph into anxiety if it isn’t reigned in.
  • Two: inflammation in the body and dehydration also cause headaches, and both inflammation and dehydration trigger your stress response which leads to anxiety. Inflammation also has the nasty effect that it stops your brain from making your feel good and calming neurotransmitter serotonin (the brain chemical which makes you feel calm and happy).
  • Three: high histamine can trigger your headaches. To me, this ones the worst because histamine can directly cause anxiety. Histamine isn’t just part of an allergic or hayfever reaction making your eyes and nose itchy and runny. Histamine is also an excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain and when lots of histamine is made, it can cause anxiety and depression.

Headaches are a big sign that you need to slow down and give yourself some rest before it gets any worse and anxiety appears.

     

     

    alarm bell #3: changes to your period

    Symptom number 3 is changes to your period.

    This can be:

    • Your period coming late or totally skipping your period
    • Period cramps
    • Breast tenderness
    • Feeling extra tired at your period

    If your period suddenly changes, your hormones have changed and become out of balance. Your hormones are supposed to fluctuate throughout your cycle, but if you didn’t ovulate you won’t have enough progesterone and your oestrogen can become too high.

    This change to your hormones causes all those symptoms: late period, skipped period, period cramps, breast tenderness, or fatigue around your period.

    Why is this an important symptom for anxiety?

    Well your hormones influence your mood.

    If you aren’t ovulating, then you’re not making any beautiful progesterone which is your anti-anxiety hormone. Progesterone boosts the GABA effect in your brain to make you feel calm.

    When your body is stressed or out of whack, it messes with your hormones and stops you from ovulating which alters your period and the symptoms you get around your period. This change to your hormones messes with your mood and increases your risk of experiencing anxiety and having a super emotional and irritable period.

    A period that’s out of whack is always a big sign for me that something is out of balance in the body.

    The most common reason is stress. Stress tells your body it’s not safe to have a baby right now, so it changes the signal from your brain to your ovaries telling you to ovulate and have a healthy cycle. No ovulation = no progesterone. No progesterone = anxiety.

    So, that buzzing feel-good energy you were experiencing initially is starting to take a toll on your hormones, and that high histamine that caused your headaches is increasing your oestrogen levels throwing your hormones out of whack and your period out of whack.

    The end result? You lose your beautiful progesterone and get one step closer to feeling anxious.

       

      alarm bell #4: problems sleeping

      After the buzzing energy, the headaches and your out of whack period comes the changes to your sleep.

      When your hormones and neurotransmitters change, they lose track of when they’re supposed to be high to give you energy and low to allow you to sleep. The end result = your excitatory, stimulating neurotransmitters and hormones are high at night time when they should be low to let you sleep.

      • This ends up making it really hard to fall asleep, resulting in you being awake for hours.
      • Or it could also mean you wake during the night around 2-3am and you may be up for hours if your mind starts going.

      A big reason for this is a lack of GABA.

      Your neurotransmitter GABA is what keeps you asleep at night. GABA is also your calm, anti-anxiety neurotransmitter.

      Your lack of GABA is impacting your sleep. But that lack of GABA will also start to make you feel anxious, too.

      If you’re struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep, it’s time to look into why and get it sorted, as sleep is soooooo important to heal your body and mind to prevent anxiety from appearing.

       

       

      alarm bell #5: fatigue

      If you ignore the adrenaline buzzing feel-good energy, the headaches, struggling to sleep and your odd period, you might not ignore this next one.

      Fatigue.

      And I’m not talking about feeling sooo tired you could fall asleep on the spot. I’m talking about more subtle fatigue.

      • It’s where you’ve slept great but you still feel exhausted the next day.
      • It’s the feeling where your eyes are heavy to open in the morning but you might feel fine during the day.
      • Or it could be where you make it through all morning just dandy, but after lunch it’s a physical effort to finish your work.
      • It could even be that your physical energy is totally fine, like you could go run 5km and have energy to spare, but you’re head is so heavy. Like there is this grey thick, foggy wall in your mind and it takes physical energy to try to get through it to find your thoughts on the other side. Aka. brain fog.

      You just want to sit there and close your eyes because your mind is so tired that it just doesn’t want to think anymore. Like your brain is a blank canvas, and you have to use energy to go searching for words. Fatigue can show up in various ways, it may be just one or it could be a combo of both mental and physical fatigue.

      But this fatigue is incredibly important to pay attention to.

      This fatigue has set in because your adrenaline supplies are running really low. By this point, your body can’t make any natural energy anymore so you’ve been running on adrenaline alone with some histamine thrown in to try to keep you awake.

      This combo of only running off adrenaline and histamine causes symptoms such as:

      • A racing heart despite how exhausted you feel.
      • You may struggle to get a really deep and nourishing breath of air
      • Your chest may start to feel really tight
      • Your thoughts may begin to swirl around in chaos in your head.

      This is especially the case if you have oodles of energy to burn in your physical body, but your mind is too exhausted to think with any kind of clarity.

      I implore you with all my heart: pay attention to this.

      Although you’re feeling tired, this is where anxiety so, so, so easily sneaks up. You’re right at the edge of the cliff here, and one wrong step can push you over the edge where anxiety shows up in full force.

      If your body is relying on adrenaline and histamine to keep you functioning each day, anxiety will be an unfortunate side effect of these hormones and neurotransmitters. Because adrenaline puts you into that fight or flight response and kick-starts your brain into chaos. They’re allowing you to have energy, but they’re also causing you to feel anxious, have a racing heart and a tightness in your chest.

      if you ignore all alarm bells…

      you’ll eventually run out of adrenaline.

      • You’re motivation will plummet
      • You’ll feel so fatigued and exhausted
      • And you’ll begin to feel numb, apathetic, and like a total shell of yourself
      • You may struggle to feel or express emotions,

      This is where secondary depression shows up. It’s depression that’s appeared because your anxiety has drained your body and mind dry and you’re exhausted.

      Any of these symptoms from the buzzing energy, to getting headaches, skipping your period or feeling fatigued could come on slowly or hit you in the blink of an eye.

      My biggest challenge to you is watch out for these symptoms and signs, because they are your inbuilt anxiety alarm system to tell you that you’re heading down the wrong tunnel and the light at the end of that tunnel isn’t peace, it’s anxiety.

       

       

      weekly anxiety report card 

      I have a handy trick of the trade for you.

      My absolute favourite way to keep track of these symptoms is a rating system I created after I plummeted into the depths of anxiety back in early 2019.

      Our lives are busy, and it’s easy to forget to take note of your health to know how you’re doing.

      We subconsciously brush symptoms aside all the time – I know I sure do. Especially when we have so much going on in our lives and a late period or extra energy don’t seem like a big deal.

      I have a checklist I go through and rate my health at the end of every week to see what areas I’ve been slipping on so I can quickly get myself back on track and avoid feeling anxious.

      Download this weekly check list, grab your diary and write a reminder or set an alarm that goes off at the same time every week. It could be 9am or 6pm every Sunday – whatever time is best for you to pause and reflect and not be disturbed.

      Pop in your diary and phone to go through this weekly check in and rate how you’ve been feeling for that week:

      • How your energy is
      • How your sleep has been going
      • If you’ve had any headaches
      • How tight your muscles are
      • When your period came or any period related symptoms that popped up

      Rate each week to see where your health is dropping and quickly get on top of it before it has the chance to morph and manifest into anxiety.

       

      3 Techniques To Stop Your Panic Attack In Its Tracks

      3 Techniques To Stop Your Panic Attack In Its Tracks

      3 Techniques To Stop Your Panic Attack In Its Tracks

      Want to know how to quickly stop your panic attack and feel calm again?

      Well today’s your lucky day because in today’s episode I’m diving in deep into my 3 absolute favourite techniques that stops my panic attacks quick sticks!

      No more lying in a foetal position in bed or standing there paralysed as your heart is pounding, your chest is being squeezed, your mind is racing between a million and one different thoughts and your heart is trying to claw its way up your throat.

      Oh no, after today’s episode you’ll have 3 awesome techniques to reel your anxiety back in, and you’ll be on your way to feeling as calm as a cucumber.

      Download the podcast episode from your fav podcast platform or hit play below.

      My last anxiety attack happened in February 2019.

      I remember walking into my bedroom and feeling that low level anxiety I’d been experiencing all day just come over me like a tidal wave and completely drown me. In one second it felt like my heart started galloping, it felt like my heart was trying to claw it’s way up my throat and my head….oh my gosh…my head was just filled to the brim with thoughts. But I couldn’t focus on a single one. It felt like there were hundreds of sharp little thoughts constantly stabbing at the front of my brain.

      I just wanted to press the pause button. Just give myself one second to breathe, to let myself just pause and get some clarity.

      But that didn’t happen.

      Anxiety just raged and raged within me.

      I got to the point where I crawled into bed, got into foetal position and just tried to focus on my heart that was pounding like crazy, because my head felt like it was about to explode from all the millions of thoughts.

       

      • I tried breathing through it but every in breath made it feel like my heart was going to explode and made my chest hurt.
      • I couldn’t meditate with my thoughts stabbing me like little needles so I tried guided meditation but that just added extreme chaos to my head and it made it feel like my brain was going to explode from the pressure inside.
      • I laid on my shatki mat but that was way too much stimulation and my heart started pounding even harder and faster that I felt like it would pop and I started to struggle to get enough air in.

      It was in that moment that I realised I needed a cheat sheet, like a go-to guide of all the possible things I could try to get rid of my anxiety. Because that moment was a harsh reminder that my usual solutions weren’t working. I had started to panic because I felt like these feelings and sensations were never going to end.

      I didn’t have a solution to try to make it stop and that terrified me the most.

      It was through complete luck that I searched on my laptop for my anxiety notes, and this list I’d created months back popped up of all the ways to reduce anxiety. This list was a collection 15 of all my favourites I’d ever come across.

      And today, I want to share with you my favourite 3 that quickly put out my anxiety fire. As though a fireproof blanket was thrown over me, extinguished my raging anxiety flare-up and I felt the best feeling of calm I’d felt in a really long time.

       

      #1. 5-4-3-2-1 Technique

      This one is super easy and recommended by a lot of psychologists.

      This particular technique helps me when I feel my anxiety rising. (It’s the strategy I use when I’m at funerals because I turn into this super emotional – like gasping for air – person when I’m at funerals. So I love this technique.

      WHAT YOU DO:

      • 1. Either sit or stand – whatever position is right for you in that moment of panic and pause and breathe in deeply for 3 breaths. Going to whatever depth is comfortable for you and at whatever speed is comfortable for you. It doesn’t have to be the deep or stretched out breaths if you feel like your body is starved of oxygen and its going to make you worse.
      • 2. Look around you and acknowledge 5 things you can see around you. Say the items name in your head or out loud.
      • 3. Then 4 things you can touch around you – touch them, note their texture, their temperature, their shape – really pay attention to how they feel against your fingertips.
      • 4. Then close your eyes and notice 3 things you can hear. 3 distinct, different sounds and say their name out loud or in your head.
      • 5. Then keep your eyes closed and notice 2 things you can smell. Inhale deeply and note all the aromas and scents of the smell. This works really great if there’s no strong smells floating around as you really have to try hard to pick up two scents.
      • 6. Then, finally, 1 thing you can taste. What your tongue and mouth still tastes like from the last thing you ate, drank or brushed your teeth. Really describe the taste.
      • 7. Then notice where your heart and breathing is at.

      This method distracts your mind, it takes that strong fight or flight response and dulls it by distracting you with something else that’s happening around you. It gives your mind and body a moment to pause and calm down.

      It makes your anxiety and panic more manageable so you can rationalise everything easier.

       

       

      #2. Feel Good Playlist

      How you do this is have a playlist of songs you love.

      Songs that make you feel really good, lift up your heart and just infuse your body with happiness.

      It’s songs you love, or songs that hold a fond memory for you that you can’t help but smile at.

      WHAT YOU DO:

      • Step 1. Blast these happy songs and dance it out. Go to a private room, close your eyes and just let your body move in whatever way it likes to the music. Let go of that control. Feel your heart soar with the music that moves you.

      This is the first step – again to distract your mind and infuse your body with a happy feeling.

      The next step, if you’re comfortable with what triggered your anxiety, is to allow yourself to feel those emotions.

      This takes prior preparation, but it’s a technique I absolutely love. What you do this is have songs that fill your heart with rage, or with sadness, or with loneliness, or with overwhelm, or with being afraid or worried. Songs that really make you feel. It’s having songs saved to a special playlist that represent those deeper core emotions. Songs that speak to you. Songs that make your heart feel and bleed with emotion.

      • Step 2. After you’ve moved to the songs you love, you take a breath and ask yourself “I am feeling” and catch whatever emotions first pop up in your brain. These are the emotions to move to. It might be “I feel nervous, afraid, and frustrated.”
      • Step 3. Start with the darker emotions – feeling frustrated, feeling afraid, whatever emotions pop up for you. And play their song.
        • Emotion 1 – Frustration: Play the song that fills your heart with that feeling of being frustrated which might be a screamo song that makes your heart feel like it’s being ripped out of your chest in rage. Close your eyes and allow your body to move in whatever way it wants and as dramatically as it wants. This is you tuning into your emotions, giving that emotion a voice and a safe place to express itself. You may only play the frustrated song for 30 seconds and feel better, or it could be 3 minutes, or longer. Whatever your heart needs to truly feel that emotion in its glory.
        • Emotion 2 – Afraid: Repeat the above step with the song that helps you to feel afraid.

      Once you’ve gone through all the emotions you needed to move to, they’ve expressed themselves and now your heart is feeling heavy in your chest, move onto your final emotion which is happiness. Create a playlist of happy songs. Tunes that make your heart feel light.

      • Step 4. Play the happy playlist for at least 1 minute, if not longer. Letting your body move to the music and fill you with that uplifting, beautiful happiness. It’s always super super important to end on the happy song to leave your heart feeling good.
      • Step 5: Take a breath and see where your anxiety is at. If you’re still experiencing the emotions strong or if they’ve started to reduce.

      This doesn’t fix what’s making you panic, but it quickly squashes that panicked feeling so you can cope with your emotions better without feeling paralysed by them.

       

       

      #3. Wash Away The Feeling

      I’m someone who has a strong affinity for the elements – for nature. I automatically turn to the elements to ground me when I’m meditating and have always been a kid who’s fascinated with air, water, wind, fire and ether…or I like to call it magic from the universe. So immersing myself in the elements helps me to transfer the energy I feel within my body over to mother nature and effectively get rid of those emotions. This helps me to get rid of my anxious energy within my body and feel calm again.

      I either do this in two ways:

      TYPE 1: WATER

      • 1. Hop in the shower and stand under the water.

         

      • 2. Close your eyes and visualise the anxiety within you. Give it a colour or a descriptive feeling. Visualise where it is within your body – is it in your blood vessels, in your throat, in your heart, in your brain, in your pelvis, etc? Give that anxiety a shape and form you can focus on and differentiate it from the rest of your body.

         

      • 3. As the water cascades over you, visualise the water running over you, and the energy from that water going into your body and fusing with that anxiety. Latching onto it, covering it, basically becoming one with that form of anxiety you’re visualising.

         

      • 4. Then as that water is being washed off your body, visualise it taking the anxiety away with it. All the way down to your feet and into the drain.

         

      • 5. Keep repeating that visualisation: the water fusing with your anxiety and that water being cleansed off your body over and over again as that form of anxiety within you gets smaller and smaller or more diluted.

         

      • 6. At the end flick your hands, fingers and feet so all residual anxiety colour/feeling that’s holding onto your toes and finger tips is flung into the drain too. So no anxiety is still latched onto you.

      TYPE 2: GROUND

      You can do a similar method with the ground.

      • 1. Stand in a patch of grass or sand and try to place as many parts of yourself as you can touching the ground. I prefer to lie on my back and put the soles of my feet and the palms of my hands facing the ground.

         

      • 2. Then visualise that anxiety within you – giving it a colour or a shape.

         

      • 3. With each breath of air, visualise that air moving that anxiety down your body, down your arms and legs.

         

      • 4. Then with your next breath in, transfer that ball or colour or shape of anxiety energy moving from the soles of your feet into the ground and from the palms of your hands and finger tips into the ground.

      Just like nature loves the carbon dioxide you breathe out as waste, mother nature loves your energy to refuel herself. So manually transfer your heightened, negative energy into her. Basically this is grounding, but in a super mindful and purposeful way.

       

      And there you have it. When I had my last panic attack in February 2019, I used those 3 techniques and it managed to take my anxiety from 100 down to a 10. Which was a humungous relief from the intense thoughts spiking my brain, the racing heart, the tight chest and pounding heart.

      I recommend trying these techniques out when you’re calm or when your stress is really low to see which ones resonate with you the most and so you can be familiar with them before you experience another big anxiety flare up or panic attack.