You may find it odd that people are having anxiety attack during what is supposed to be a timeout from this crazy, busy world; but it turns out that they do. From buying gifts for people we don’t really know to having to travel just to see some people we don’t really know, the reality is, there are things we are pressured to do during a holiday that might hit some people harder than the others.
Now, Bali is not really a place where your bitter uncle or foul-mouthed great-aunt might live in, but in case it is, then this article would be perfect for you. Below are 5 best things to do and places to go to get rid of that nasty anxiety and claim your perfect holiday:
- What could be more relaxing than a pair of warm hands massaging your worry away? Massage is widely used in all cultures to evoke feelings of deep relaxation and reduced anxiety. The anxiety-reducing and mood enhancing benefits of massage are probably related to changes in EEG activity, decreased levels of cortisol and increased activity of the parasympathetic nervous system, which acts automatically to calm the body and brain during stress.
Numerous studies show that moderate pressure massage is effective to reduce pain associated with different medical problems including fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. Moderate pressure massage also improves attention and enhances the body’s immune response by increasing the activity of natural killer cells. Functional brain imaging studies show that changes take place in many areas of the brain involved in regulating emotions and stress response including the amygdala and the hypothalamus.
We admit, having an anxiety attack, more often than not, keeps us home-bound as we don’t feel good enough to go outside. If you are staying in a decent hotel, chance is they provide a spa or massage service with a decent price for the hotel guests. When you stay in a villa, however, it is not always a service provided for the guests. Worry not, finding a masseuse is now as easy as ABC. Just by installing an app on your phone, you can pamper yourself and get a full body massage or a foot reflexology, or even a beauty massage focusing on your face. What we love about this kind of service is how you can get your masseuse’s ID so you won’t have to worry about safety, and how you can be sure of getting someone with a great technique since they are all required to get a training from the company first.
- Still in alignment with mental indulgence, this next one is also great to do when you have a not-so-bad attack that you can still go outside of your hotel, villa, or whatever it is you are staying at. Especially if you are in Ubud area, a Bali Healer and Holy Bathing Tour is just the type of tour you and your body desperately need. Spare a minimum of 8 hours for an authentic Balinese experience and wash your demons away with a healing dip in local holy spring waters.
Every day, people from all around Bali come to these crystal clear pools to purify themselves from bad and evil. Your lunch will be served at a local restaurant overlooking lush green paddy fields, and you can even see farmers harvesting the fields if you come at the right time. When your tummy is full and happy, you will then visit an authentic traditional Balinese healer at his exotic home and have a unique Balinese healing experience plus fun session of palm reading if you want one.
Have a reading and ask what your heart desire; from love matters to career advices, ease your mind from worldly wonders and embrace the peace you’ve been searching for all this time. End the trip with a visit to a local plantation and indulge your palate with a range of herbal teas you can choose from.
- After a massage and a cleansing bath, add another plan to your anxiety-free mission to-do list and do a guided meditation with a traditional Balinese shaman. Also in Ubud area, this one experience hosted by a yoga teacher, spiritual guide, and a retreat leader will get your mental health back to its finest shape. This 8-hour long wellness recharge activity begins in the early morning at 6 am from which you will be taken to Mengening water temple to do a powerful cleansing ritual that strips you from everything you no longer need. What’s important to notice is that you are not allowed to go in the temple area if you are a woman on period.
Pay attention to this particular thing as it is a very strict rule in Hindu teachings and the failure to follow this one rule will get you banned from the area (plus a pretty harsh scolding from the locals, for sure). When you’re done with the cleanse and meditation, you will then be driven back to Ubud and have a yummy breakfast, and later visit a local shaman to (again) do a palm reading in which the shaman will look into your birth date and tap into your energy to give you guidance and advice on how you should move forward in your life.
- Despite the fact of being a mental threat, anxiety can also be treated from the outside. A healthy body is an important part of having a healthy mind, and vice-versa. Eating well (i.e. a well-balanced diet rich in vegetables and nutrients) may be associated with feelings of wellbeing. One 2014 study found high levels of wellbeing were reported by individuals who ate more fruit and vegetables.
A poor diet (with high levels of saturated fat, refined carbohydrates and processed food products) is linked to poorer mental health in children and adolescents. Results from a 2010 systematic review found two-way associations between depression and obesity, finding that people who were obese had a 55% increased risk of developing depression over time, whereas people experiencing depression had a 58% increased risk of becoming obese. While a healthy diet can help recovery, it should sit alongside other treatments recommended by your doctor.
Another way to get rid of your holiday anxiety that is also good for your tummy is learning how to make vegan cheese and cheesecake. Located in the wellness capital of the island, this healthy and unique experience might just be the start of the new, healthier, and happier version of yourself. Within the estimated 3 hours, you will experience not only how to make the best vegan cheese cheesecake in town, but also an inspiring talk about fermentation, dairy alternatives, and why raw vegan food is very beneficial for our body.
This wonderful experience will send you home with a new cooking skill that will definitely impress anyone you know when you practice it at home. Some other cheesy delicacy that you will learn to make is a herbal spring onion cream cheese and a super healthy veggie crackers. Visit Raw Food Bali for more information about the course.
- Talking about cheese is never complete without mentioning its dark and sweet counterpart, chocolate. Many researches have conclude the fact of chocolate being a perfect comfort food for people with anxiety problems.
Chocolate does contain a number of compounds associated with mood-lifting chemicals in the brain. Often mentioned is phenylethylamine, a natural antidepressant and one of the chemicals your brain produces as you fall in love. Tryptophan, an amino acid present in small quantities in chocolate, is linked to the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that produces feelings of happiness. A handful of other substances also add to chocolate’s purported effects – for example theobromine can increase heart rate, and caffeine is well known as a ‘wake-up’ drug.
But most of these compounds are present only in small quantities in chocolate, and now some scientists say that they are probably almost entirely digested before they reach the brain. It may instead be the experience of eating chocolate, and satisfying a food craving, that releases endorphins and ‘happy feelings’ more than the content of the chocolate itself. Eating dark chocolate could boost mood and relieve symptoms of depression, scientists have said.
Adults who tucked into the treat had 70% lower odds of reporting depressive symptoms than those who ate no chocolate at all, the research showed. The team also pointed out dark chocolate has a higher concentration of flavonoids, antioxidant chemicals shown to improve inflammatory profiles which could play a role in the onset of depression.
A really fun experience you can try for a better mental health is learning how to make your own chocolate. This hour-long activity includes a brief history of chocolate and the process of chocolate making, which will be followed by a practice of making it (plus some tips for making it even more special). Some place will even give you a nice and warm chocolate for a welcome drink, and you get to leave with a handmade chocolate bar. If that doesn’t make you happy, then we don’t know what will.
Still anxious after you experience those 5 activities? Then you might need further help taming down your demons. If you find yourself without anyone to share the load with, don’t hesitate to get yourself a medical help. Unicare Clinic Ubud is the perfect place to visit with our certified therapists ready to treat you when you need it most. Now that you have all those options, we hope you know what to do when that holiday anxiety kicks in.
See you in Bali!