Updated: Feb 27
Time to be real and honest...three years ago I found myself starting the process of Perimenopause. This is a time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years. The level of estrogen — the main female hormone — in your body rises and falls unevenly.
Some of the common symptoms of this stage are sleep problems, hot flashes, and mood changes. Mood swings, irritability or increased risk of depression are common during this time. However, I found myself suffering from an extreme case of anxiety. Anxiety is felt as an overwhelming sense of apprehension, fear and dread often marked by physical signs, like tension, sweating, increased pulse rate, and difficulty breathing calmly. It will often build up and intensify over time, and can result in irritability, muscle tension, and difficulty sleeping. For some, it’s a consistent feeling of being anxious about things, and at times, that can escalate into anxiety or panic attacks; episodes of intense anxiety and panic that can cause heart palpitations and hyperventilation.
Some of my common daily symptoms were:
Feeling nervous restless or tense
Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
Having an increased heart rate
Couldn't catch my breath, hard time breathing
Feeling weak or tired
Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
Having trouble sleeping
Having difficulty controlling worry
Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety
Anxiety is a serious issue and it’s important to know what you’re dealing with, possible solutions, and preventative actions you can take. Here is some information on what worked for me. Hopefully it will help you navigate the muddy waters of anxiety.
While there’s numerous treatment and methods for managing daily anxiety as well as anxiety attacks, one you may not have considered is Massage Therapy. I started to get a weekly massage at Proactive Massage & Bodywork. I chose a day and time that worked best for me with my busy schedule. I booked my appointments out for six months to cement the commitment to myself. I informed my therapist that my goals for the session were to relax and calm my nervous system. I tried add-on therapies that promoted relaxation like; hot stones, dry brushing and CBD cream. I noticed a huge difference after the first session. I left feeling calmer and more in control. I noticed the results were even better after each following massage. After only two sessions, the benefits started to last several days and then throughout the week.
It’s not going to eradicate all forms of anxiety, so you never feel anxious again, but it has been shown time and again in studies to have a major impact and greatly improve the symptoms of those who regularly experience anxiety. Getting regular massages can help to lower your heart rate, decrease blood pressure, improve concentration, release muscle tension, improve your quality of sleep, and regulate the release of certain ‘feel-good’ hormones to calm the body and mind.
There are also several ways you can manage your anxiety on a daily basis:
Be more active
When you increase your heart rate and work your muscles, your body releases the same feel good hormone you receive when getting a massage, helping you to feel better emotionally and physically.
Cut back on your CATS
If you know me, and how much I love my kitties, you will know how worried I was when my doctor suggested I avoid CATS. However, CATS is an acronym for Caffeine, Alcohol, Tobacco, and Sugar. All of which can increase anxiety. Did you know that caffeine can increase anxiousness in those who struggle with anxiety and sometimes even cause anxiety in those who don’t? High levels of caffeine can even increase your chances of having a panic attack. So try to avoid those triggers.
Find your trigger
Try keeping a journal. When dealing with anxiety, you’ll see that some days you struggle more than others. Not only is journaling therapeutic in itself, but you may be able to look at what could have caused your anxiety to increase from day to day. Maybe foods, people, situations; find patterns and adjust to see if you can avoid those triggers.
Get more sleep
When you haven’t gotten enough sleep, your brain sends signals to your body that something is wrong, resulting in higher levels of anxiety and feelings of stress. Prioritizing your sleep will help make sure your body doesn’t feel like it’s under attack.
Seek professional help
Having someone to talk to about what you’re going through and being able to express your thoughts with out restrictions, can make a world of difference.
Anxiety can interrupt so many parts of your life. Here at Proactive, we want to help you control it as much as possible. Pair massage with these tips and let’s work together to get your anxiety under control.