It’s been a hot minute since I’ve blogged, ok maybe just a couple of weeks, but it feels like much longer! This year I’m really working on opening up on all things motherhood, and am excited to be sharing more of “me” on the blog. I know you love the recipes and tutorials but I think most of you will agree that sometimes it’s nice to read something you can relate to.
The ups and downs of real life, motherhood, the chaos, all the things no one really digs in and talks about that often.
This week I want to open the conversation on something a lot of moms I have met struggle with, anxiety. I hadn’t initially planned to make this a What I Love Wednesday post but considering it’s Wednesday and I’m going to share some of my favorite tools for managing anxiety – here we are!
Before I share, let’s back it up a little and I’ll share some of my story. If you’d rather skip this part and head for my favorites, scroll on down.
Growing up I was the oldest of four, and while my childhood was anything but ordinary, I never felt so much as a shred of anxiousness until I was in my late twenties. There were plenty of times I thought to myself that I escaped inheriting the “anxiety gene” because it seemed like everyone around me suffered with it.
HAHAHAHA, not a chance.
I don’t know that I can pinpoint when it started exactly, but regardless it’s been something I’ve been dealing with on and off for the last few years. In all honesty, the anxiousness that I deal with doesn’t come close to some of the stories I’ve heard from other moms with incredibly debilitating anxiety and panic attacks, but I tell you what… just because I can function through it, doesn’t mean it feels any less intense.
Whether you suffer from anxiety attacks that totally shut you down or anxiety that seems impossible to shake some days, the important thing to know is that you aren’t alone.
I’ve noticed recently my anxiety has began to peak. Why? Well… It’s the end of the school year and my schedule is jam packed with extra activities, I’ve got an old friend who resurfaced and is battling mental illness (among other things), I’ve just made an incredibly large brand acquisition… ahhh the list goes on, sister!
We all have our stuff.
If you think for one second there is someone in your circle of friends who isn’t dealing with “their own stuff” you’re dead wrong.
One more time for the people in the back: we all have our stuff.
Some people simply choose not to talk about it, and that’s ok, too.
Me? I’m here to talk about it.
I’ll be honest, hitting the publish button on this post was not easy.
I know for sure there are moms who may read this and roll their eyes, having not ever dealt with anxiety.
What’s more important to me is the possibility that there is a mom reading this and letting out a sigh of relief, because she’s had an incredibly difficult time managing her anxiety. I hope this is a breath of fresh air for her, and to know she isn’t alone may be comforting.
Maybe that mom is only one of you, maybe it’s 100 of you, it doesn’t really matter to me. If I can hug just one of you in and make you feel that way then sharing this has been worth it 1,000 times over and worth any judgement that may come my way.
The most important thing for me when it comes to easing anxiety starts with recognizing how I’m feeling.
When I’m having a tough time I always make sure to take time for things I know will make me feel better. Here are a few of my favorite ways to ease my anxiety. Some are tools I use in the moment, others are “preventative” measures I take:
- The Shine app. This is my newest and most favorite app, by far. It’s full of audio tracks that you can play with the push of a button. I listen to the evening vibes track every single night before bed. When I’m feeling extra anxious throughout the day I know I can pop my headphones in and listen to an affirmation track to get grounded. In addition to audio tracks it also has a daily text feature. You can check in anytime throughout the day and have access to some really great articles and inspiring words, it also encourages you to list something you’re grateful for – daily.
- Getting a move on. I’m not a fitness-lover by nature, but this year I’ve been mindful of moving my body more because it makes me feel good. I don’t stick to a rigid schedule because kids and life, but I do exercise regularly. Some weeks it’s yoga in the middle of the kids playroom, others it’s running, I just do whatever feels right at the time. I actually really do not like to run, but I find that it challenges me enough to get my mind off everything. I’m the type of person who sets a goal and has to see it through, in all areas of my life, so when I set out to run 2 or 3 miles I’m not stopping until I hit that milestone.
- Putting myself first. My husband works long hours and being home alone with a toddler (who doesn’t nap) all day and bouncing back and forth between work and school activities with the older boys leaves me with little-to-no alone time. Some days putting myself first means popping the toddler in my bed with a movie while I shower (he’s pretty chill and content with that – luckily). Other days it’s going for a run (before cleaning up dinner) once my husband gets home, or just leaving the house alone and letting him handle bedtime. I try to schedule time with friends once a month or so, and I also try to book some alone time for myself on the weekends. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, in fact just going grocery shopping and enjoying a coffee alone on Sunday morning is enough to feel refreshed.
- Breaking routine. There are weeks where I just can’t seem to shake it, and on those weeks I go out of my way to do something different. I take the little one to try a new activity, or to a different playground, or an impromptu day trip. I’ll order takeout just because, pick up the kids instead of having them take the bus, run my errands at a different time of day – literally anything to break up my routine.
So there you have it, those are my most loved tools for managing my own anxiety. With that said, those of us who do deal with anxiety all experience it on different levels. As always, you should seek medical advice from a doctor, and none of the above is or replaces professional medical advice.
Do you have something else that you use to ease anxiety? I’d love for you to share it in the comments below, your contributions may be just what another mama needs!