Everyone has a home remedy for just about everything you can think of. For example, when I was just a teeny tiny baby coming from the hospital after my exit into the world, I experienced the hiccups. On the way home, I couldn’t stop hiccupping and my late grandmother had a funny home remedy that worked very well: sugar-water. I know it sounds incredibly gross, but drinking a few gulps of it actually cured my hiccups. Who knew?
I have remedies for various things (just to name a few):
- Add honey to your water or beverage to help alleviate allergies. (I didn’t think of this until I started living in Houston and someone told me about this and it works!)
- Add peppermint to your water to help alleviate stomach issues. (Whenever I’m stressed, and my stomach gets upset very quickly and I drink straight peppermint tea or add peppermint flavoring to my water and it helps soothe my stomach and anxiety levels.) FYI, my favorite go to drink for allergies & anxiety at Starbucks is the Honey Citrus tea or Citrus Defender tea and water with pumps of peppermint syrup.
- Using the BRAT diet when you have stomach ailments such as an upset stomach, stomach flu, or a virus. Last year before Hurricane Harvey (more on that later!), I got food poisoning from a fast food place and spent 72 hours sick as a dog. I googled the BRAT (bananas, rice, unsweetened applesauce and whole wheat toast) diet and it really helped me get over that food poisoning.
When it comes to remedies for anxiety and depression, you’d be surprised as what you can find that can help you feel better. Remember, it’s not the official cure to the illness, but it does help treat the symptoms.
I will discuss some of your options of remedies and techniques that are available and ones that I swear by.
- Tea! Drink more tea. Since I work for Starbucks for three years, I have experience with teas. It’s best to drink teas that herbal and non-caffeinated such as Passionfruit teas, Mint teas (Careful! Some green teas are caffeinated!), the Honey Citrus tea and the Citrus Defender tea and also the Comfort tea. The Comfort tea is virtually chamomile tea and that calms your nerves and relaxes your body and your mind. I strictly drink non-caffeinated teas over coffee while working because being employed at Starbucks is stressful enough and caffeine adds too much fuel to the fire already brewing.
- Water! Drink your water! It’s important to stay hydrated because our bodies are made up of what? Water! H20! If you don’t like water by itself, then try infusing some fruits such as blueberries or cherries or whatever floats your boat. I drink water with peppermint syrup during my shifts and especially during the hot summer days in Texas heat to stay cool. Water and tea are healthy beverage options that really help me stay calm and less antsy.
- Essential oils and herbs such as hops, kava, lemon balm are ones that are available to help alleviate symptoms. I personally, have never tried herbs; but I know people who use them and it works for them. Again, whatever works!
- Supplements such as GABA, Serotonin, Zen life, L-lysine, and Omega 3 daily vitamins and more are shown to help people with depression and anxiety. GABA is the most common. However, when it comes to supplements, it is best to consult with your local physician in taking supplements or vitamins because it can cause interactions with medications. For example, my mother bought supplements to help her with certain medical conditions and they caused a negative reaction with her other medications. She got very sick and almost hospitalized because of it. Communicate with your doctor and do your research on supplements and vitamins before taking them and remember, some of them can be habit-forming.
- Lavender and roses. Certain scents are shown to help keep you calm and release calming scents into your body to keep you relaxed. You can go to just about any drugstore or grocery store to find lavender. Some have it in bottles where you can spray it on like an air freshener or you can inhale it. No joke! Inhaling or breathing lavender scents and rose scents keep you calm. Since I’m an allergy sufferer (Darn!), breathing in scents get me sick very easily.
- Meditation. Bring on the yoga! Namaste. I was surprised by yoga because from the outside, yoga looks painful. I can’t imagine squishing my body into the shape of a pretzel, but yoga is very popular and has been around for a long time. Yoga helps you on some many levels such as your mental state of mind, your body and your soul. It’s a great form of exercise and releases a lot of calming sensors throughout your body. So don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it!
- Exercise. It’s no surprise that exercising is so helpful and beneficial in helping you living a healthy and fulfilling life. Exercise is so crucial for me because I gained a lot of weight because of anti-depressants and my binge eating. I gained close to 50+ pounds over the course of 13 years because I didn’t take careful of my body. I would eat unhealthy meals, binge eat out of boredom and out of stress and quickly ballooned in size. Exercising is one of the major resolutions that I make myself do everyday to stay healthy both physically and mentally.
- Exercises such as yoga, running, walking (get those 10,000 steps in!), strength training, Pilates, dancing (I do this at work and at home!) and more are great at helping with anxiety and depression. I usually take a trip to the malls and spend a few hours just walking around the mall and getting exercise. Sometimes, I walk around the neighborhood with headphones and listen to music and enjoy the weather, too.
- Healthy diet plan! For a majority of my life, I’ve never had a weight problem until I was placed on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications. As I stated before, I gained over 50 pounds due to a poor diet, lack of exercise, and binge eating. I’m not perfect and I love junk food as much as the next person, but maintaining a healthy diet is crucial when taking medication. Because of this excessive weight gain of 50+ pounds, I’m surprised that I haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes yet or any other illness attributed to obesity. A person of my height 5’5, shouldn’t be more than 110-150 pounds; and I’m currently hitting the scales at 200. NOT GOOD! Another resolution that I force myself to do is maintain a clean diet.
- Eat your vegetables! Your parents always tell you to “Eat your vegetables or no dessert”. My dad was famous for telling me this. It’s true. Eating more vegetables such as kale, spinach, broccoli, carrots, corn, and etc; are good for you and help maintain your health. I try to make my salads with kale, spinach or arugula with a lot of fresh veggies on it and go very lightly on the dressing, too.
- Whole grain foods. One of my favorite whole grains are oats and quinoa. I tend to eat oatmeal with fruit and low-fat milk and sprinkle quinoa on my salads. Whole grains are so helpful for me when I feel anxious and helps keep my digestive system running smoothly.
- Fruits. Blueberries are like the Superman of the fruit group. I don’t need to go into detail on how healthy they are and how beneficial they are, but I love fresh blueberries. Since, I suffer from GERD (acid reflux), I tend to avoid citrus fruits such as most oranges, limes, and lemons. But I love bananas, red apples, mangoes, grapes (not so much green grapes), and etc.
- Meats. It’s no surprise that red meat should be limited in your diet. It’s not to say that you can’t eat it all, just don’t eat it too much. I only eat red meat on a few occasions, but I mainly stick with chicken, turkey, and salmon. My inner child would be screaming at me for eating fruits and vegetables because I don’t like the taste of them and I wished they taste like chocolate.
- Did I say chocolate? I love chocolate! I love it like there’s no tomorrow. It’s important when importing chocolate in your diet, that it’s in moderation. Dark chocolate is proven to be the best choice out of milk chocolate and white chocolate. You have no idea of how nuts I go for chocolate when I’m out grocery shopping. I’m like a kid in a candy store.
- Hot showers. I love taking showers. I’m not big on taking bubble baths because I have sensitive skin and some oils don’t react well with my skin. When I get up in the morning and take a shower, I usually will spend about 10 minutes in the shower. I find it so relaxing and soothing (also expensive when you get your water bill in the mail), but it helps clear my mind and keep my spirits up.
- Get outside and do something! Staying active and maintaining a healthy lifestyle with depression is tough! When I’m not working, I usually stay home and just relax by listening to music or sleeping. But I can’t stay in the house all day. As unhealthy as it is, getting outdoors is refreshing. You can take a drive in your car and cruise around town. You can go for a walk or run or window shopping. Whatever works for you! So take time off from social media or the television or your device and get some fresh air.
- Massage! Last year, I was diagnosed with sciatica in my lower back. My lower left lumber #4 was acting up and I started experiencing lower back pain radiating down my left leg. If you’ve experienced sciatica before then you know how I feel. It’s intense pain that can be relieved with muscle relaxers, NSAID drugs such as Aleve and massages. I was placed on muscle relaxers for a briefly moment and those puppies really do the job, but they’re very habit-forming and harmful. Aleve is a wonder drug that I use along with simple exercises and massages to help relieve my symptoms. It’s really no surprise on how amazing it feels getting a professional massage all over your body. It’s like dying and going to heaven. It’s so soothing and relaxing for me. I highly recommend massages done by professional and licensed therapists.
- Music. Again, it’s no surprise on how music is so powerful in helping people with anxiety and depression. With being said, it’s important to listen to music that’s more easy listening such as classical music or jazz. I love classic rock so much. But during a panic attack, I wouldn’t put on that kind of music to help me relax. I play classic rock when I’m exercising or cleaning house (picture Mrs. Doubtfire rocking out to Aerosmith’s “Dude looks like a lady”). That’s me! I hate house cleaning so I pump up the rock music to motivate me. I loved music since a child and used to play a lot of instruments back in the day, but don’t have the time now to pick it up again. I listen to a lot instrumental music such as the piano or orchestra and these keeps me relaxed.
- Deep breaths. Inhale oxygen, exhale carbon dioxide. Taking a deep breath is important when an attack comes on. I’ve had it where I’m in the middle of a shift filled with drama and had to sit down for a few minutes to catch my breath. It’s important to take a couple deep breaths and slowly exhale them. One of the techniques that my primary doctor and psychiatrist recommended was to practice breathing techniques. Whenever I feel an attack coming on, my heart rate and blood pressure go through the roof up to heart attack and stroke levels, so I take moment and inhale and exhale to bring down those vitals.
- RELAX as Aaron Rodgers so brilliantly says. It’s true. Find and explore which relaxation methods work for. Sleep is another important remedy for me because maintaining a healthy routine sleep schedule is important. Too much or too little sleep really takes a toll on your body and your mindset. So get your zzzz’s.
So to put it bluntly: explore all of the options that are out there and for supplements/vitamins, please speak with your doctor before deciding taking them.