I never struggled with anxiety before having kids, even in a high stress profession like being a News Reporter or working nearly 24 hours a day in College. However, there’s nothing like the overwhelming responsibility of another human’s life, coupled with the enormous physical and emotional transformation of becoming a mother to pull anxiety out. My anxiety has vastly improved from my postpartum periods, but it does pop up from time to time. The list below includes some of the ways I have learned to cope with that anxiety when it does make an appearance.
Multiple studies have shown the strong connection between social media use and anxiety and it is no wonder why. Scrolling through hundreds of reaction-causing interactions in the span of a few minutes is not healthy, nor does it allow time to process what you are experiencing. Whenever I start to experience anxiety, I put my phone away and only use it for the bare basics. Almost immediately I start to feel better.
When you don’t feel well, it’s tempting to reach for whatever will comfort you in the moment: junk food, junk TV, etc. For me, I know that anxiety is a red flag to stick to my standards or else the anxiety will only grow. This means drinking plenty of water, exercising, eating well, getting plenty of sleep and making sure to get outside for fresh air and sunshine.
Clear the Cobwebs
If there is anything weighing on my mental load, I need to either take care of it immediately or create a plan to take care of it, or my anxiety will only continue to build. This could be clearing out the piles of mail that are accumulating or rounding up the donations that are causing clutter and taking them to Goodwill. Anything that can clear some room in my mind helps me to be more mentally healthy.
Turn off the noise
Just like kids need time and space to process their emotions before they cause a temper tantrum, adults need quiet time and space to process the countless ideas that are flying at them every day. For me, turning off the podcasts or audiobooks and giving room for my thoughts to breathe is a lifesaver. It allows me to process all of the emotions and feelings that have been building all day, which helps me to have inner peace.
As moms we can become isolated in the day to day load of motherhood. Taking time to connect with another adult not only brings my own worries into perspective but it also takes my thoughts off of myself and puts them onto someone else. It’s also fun! This could be a coffee date with another mom or a phone call with a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Connection is so important - and without it, we can get lost down the spiral of our own negative thoughts.
I hope some of my tips and tricks help you navigate your own mental health journey. Please reach out if you need a friend, I am always here for you.