So whatever time you set the alarm during the week, set it at the same time on the weekend.
I’ve been doing this for a few months now, and the more time passes, the less desire I have to ever sleep in. I get sleepy exactly 15 minutes before my bedtime and I sleep soundly until a few minutes before my alarm goes off in the morning when I wake up feeling well-rested and energized.
And please know that there was a time when I thought the words “well-rested” and “energized” would never-ever-ever be uttered by someone like me.
3. Exercise Every. Single. Day.
Ok, you may have heard before that exercise can help with anxiety. I myself have repeated this in pretty much every article on this website and then some. But what I want to focus on here is the Every. Single. Day. part.
I’ve been exercising every single day for a few years now and it has been the BEST thing I’ve done for my mental health. Hands down. But I always had this nagging doubt in the back of my mind wondering if I was being excessive. I knew that daily exercise drastically reduced all of my anxiety symptoms, but what about “just 30 minutes 3 days per week” and “you must take rest days in order to avoid overtraining”.
Well, I don’t have those doubts anymore. Did you know that human beings actually evolved to be on the move? What differentiated humans from other mammals and gave us a competitive edge was not only our big brains but also the fact that we are endurance runners. We can literally outrun our prey, who may be faster than we are, but just can’t keep it up for as long as we can.
So there’s that.
And the fact that whenever I take a day or two off, I can immediately feel the nervous energy starting to build up.
And the fact that a whole bunch of science now shows the benefits of exercise on your brain and neurotransmitters and what not.
So I wanna keep that system going. Every. Single. Day.
And my advice to you my friend is to join me.
If you can’t run, then walk.
If you can’t walk, then crawl.
4. Put a mini-elliptical under your desk.
As a matter of fact, exercising once a day may not even be enough. If you have a desk job, as I do, an hour-long exercise session may just not make up for all the sitting you do on a daily basis.
Studies have already linked prolonged sitting to diabetes, cancer, and heart disease – even in people who exercise regularly. And while this link may not be documented for depression and anxiety yet, I predict that’s coming. They always study the more deadly diseases first, before someone’s light bulb goes off and they decide to look for mental health associations.
Anyways, do you need to quit your desk job? No. Do you need to find ways to sit less? Yes.
Consider a standing desk. Consider setting an alarm for regular walking breaks throughout the day.
You could even consider a treadmill desk if you wanted to go all out.
Personally, I’m going with a standing desk + a mini-elliptical machine you can put under your desk. Yes, that’s a thing and it exists!
5. Baby your gut microbiome.
Your WHAT?!? That’s what I said when I first heard about this one.
Well, it turns out the microbiome is the term used to refer to the trillions of bacterial cells that lead a merry life of their own inside your gut. These bacterial dudes are VIP for those of us with anxiety because they produce neurotransmitters that keep your brain working right. For example, bacteria named lactobacillus and bifidobacterium make GABA – the neurotransmitter that helps keep you calm.
Not enough GABA → anxiety.
So the microbiome deserves some TLC. Sugar and processed foods tend to produce bad bacteria, and those should be avoided, but you can show the good bacteria love by giving them lots of fiber, veggies, and fermented foods.