Let’s just get this out there…I am really struggling at managing my anxiety in motherhood.
Was it there before kids? Sure.
But now that I am a parent, my anxiety has come crawling up to the surface to rear its ugly head. Some days are better than others, but it’s a battle that I tend to face, head on, daily.
I find that particular times of the month, (ahem, I’m lookin’ at you 2 weeks before my cycle) my anxiety can tend to spiral. Over time I have learned to face the fact that my anxiety is getting in the way of living my best life. I can now see my anxiety growing exponentially over littlest things in life, but as I learn to recognize and acknowledge it, I have a platform to begin to deal with it.
I have to make a conscious effort to not let my anxiety get the best of me. Half of the time it comes out of the blue and the next thing I know I am laying in bed at 3 am wondering why I can’t sleep. My mind is racing!
Unfortunately, anxiety does not have the luxury of an off switch. I cannot rid my body of that anxious feeling when I want to. But I have learned a few simple strategies that help me manage my daily life with when anxiety comes creeping and help me cope when I start to spiral.
Managing Anxiety in Motherhood:
Exercise & Fresh Air:
I find that the more I exercise, the less anxious I am on a daily basis. I find relief through running and HIIT workouts. Sure, as a mom, there are days when I find it hard to make time for a workout. Having toddlers is already exhausting and it is easy to make excuses for myself. But when I get moving, I am a better version of me. So even during the cold winter months in Colorado, I try to find a way to jump, dance or move around simply to get my blood pumping.
When all else fails I binge a new Podcast (I am obsessed with true crime lately…Crime Junkies anyone?) while walking with my kids in a stroller, blocking out the world with my headphones. That time in the fresh air “alone” helps me come back to neutral!
Making lists keeps my day organized and helps me feel like I have a daily game plan. As a mom, said game plan oftentimes goes out the window when your kids are just being kids, throwing your day of course. When I have things written down, I can see that throughout the day things do get done, even if it’s only one thing, which calms the uneasiness I feel. If I can’t sleep and I am laying in bed, my mind will spiral down this slippery slope. I start thinking in extremes and the next thing you know I am worrying if my 3-year olds snuck out to toilet paper the house or if I wrote a thank you note for a gift from Great Aunt Helen 8 months ago.
The struggle is real, right?
Again, this is just how my mind works. Making lists, even on my phone in the middle of the night, help me get my thoughts off my chest and back to sleep faster.
Communicating My Needs:
Thank goodness for a great partner. My husband feels the brunt of my anxiety, meltdowns and all, well, because we live together. Over the past few years, I have really learned that by letting it out and communicating that I am anxious (even if I cannot define exactly why) is a powerful tool in managing my anxiety. I am fortunate in that he can usually steer me back to the root of why I might be feeling the way I do. He is great at validating my feelings and then helps me to deal with my feelings, which relieves my anxiety.
He loves to tell me “You can’t stress about something that you can’t control.” Words to live by.
More often than not, when my anxiety is heightened, I can go back through my days and can find the same common denominator…I haven’t made time for myself. Being able to take a shower alone, with no kids nearby, or put on my headphones and run a few miles, whatever it may be, makes a huge impact on my mental health. With a little time dedicated to self-care I can usually find my way back to see the good in what I am doing as a mom with my children. Even on the days when I am questioning everything I do as a mother, I need to be able to see the bigger picture, which my anxiety can hinder if I don’t have it under control.
Parenting is challenging. It is not unusual that anxiety in motherhood becomes an issue that women deal with. Through countless conversations with new parents I realize that there are many of us out there having similar feelings. I am personally talking about my experience with anxiety in motherhood and how I cope because I want you to know you are not alone. Please share your experiences and what works for you. I’d love to learn more!
Tell me, what are some ways you seem to manage your anxiety? Are there strategies that you prefer over others? I would love to hear more learn from you!