In my last post, I wrote about the contents of what I lovingly refer to as my “nausea bag”, the shoulder bag I stuff with anti-emetics and throw in the car for long car rides. Not only do I tend to feel carsick naturally, even when I’m not anxious, but the tummy troubles are amplified (and, arguably, initiated) by anxiety.
I shared some of my favorite remedies for quelling anxiety-related nausea, including lemon oil, Dramamine, and anti-nausea wristbands.
In the words of the immortal-yet-late Billy Mays, but wait — there’s more.
MORE STUFF I LIKE FOR NAUSEA RELIEF
1. Ginger. Anything ginger. Ginger ale, ginger gum, candied ginger…it’s all helpful. I prefer the milder flavor of ginger gum, and the gum is also a bonus because the act of chewing helps to distract me from the nausea. (Chewing, to me, is symbolic of a properly-functioning digestive system. One that’s going forward and not in reverse.)
Be warned, though: candied ginger is quite strong. Try it before you’re feeling nauseous to see if it’s for you.
2. Cola. The brand doesn’t matter — Pepsi, Coke, or whatever generic name suits you. (I’ve also heard that cola syrup is available at some pharmacies, although I’ve never tried it.)
Pepsi in particular always helps to settle my stomach. Some people warn against the carbonation, but it seems to help me. One good belch and I usually feel somewhat better.
3. Instant ice packs. Technically speaking, I carry these around for sudden-onset migraines. You never know when one will crop up, and it can be handy to have a cold bag at the ready no matter how warm the outside temperature may be.
But I’ve discovered that a cold pack on the forehead can be very soothing for anxiety-related nausea — and I discovered this while stepping out from an airport into hot Florida air and waiting (what seemed like forever) for a van to take me to my hotel. I started to panic, and felt nauseated — presumably from the panic, the heat, or both — and that instant ice pack was, corny as it sounds, an instant relief.
4. Tiger balm. This stuff is made for sore muscles, but it smells amazing. Think menthol and camphor and cinnamon and chai tea. Something about this scent is very calming to me, and like the peppermint oil I mentioned in my last post, putting a little bit on my abdomen helps to relax any tight muscles that might be worsening the nausea.
5. Vicks Vapo-Rub. Like the Tiger Balm, this stuff also works to loosen muscles. It doesn’t hurt that the scent will perpetually remind me of childhood and lounging in bed curled up with stuffed animals and The Price is Right on a sick day home from school.
6. Immodium. Perhaps this one’s a given for traveling, especially if you’re going to be on a long and nauseating car ride with no restrooms in sight. But even if you get tummy troubles from non-travel triggers, you might be able to use Immodium to keep your gut in line. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to be sure, of course.
So, that’s about it — I’ve dumped out my nausea bag for the world.
Of course, the best treatment for anxiety-related nausea is to remove the anxiety (ideally via cognitive behavioral therapy), and therefore reduce the nausea. But in the heat of the moment, it can be difficult to put CBT techniques to use. It takes practice and time.
Until then, the nausea bag will help your gut return to normal.
Photo: Kevin Meehan (Flickr)