I have suffered from anxiety most of my life.
I have worried about anything and everything you can think of. I have seen different therapists as well as tried different antidepressants.
I have had panic attacks that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
I have had to work HARD on managing my anxiety.
After years of hard work, I truly thought I had the hang of it. I felt that I could tackle anything that came my way.
That was until I had postpartum anxiety.
If I thought my anxiety was bad before, I was clearly mistaken.
My labor with my daughter went well – there weren’t any complications and we both recovered well.
I really didn’t have anything major to be worried about.
My mind was like one of those hamsters on the spinning wheel all the time. I would try to sleep when my daughter slept but it was so hard for me to relax.
I thought about how I was going to clean the house or cook dinner with a newborn. I thought about nursing and if it would always be this painful. I thought about if she had enough wet diapers during the day.
My thoughts were endless. I felt like a mess.
I knew I needed help when I had a panic attack when my daughter was about 1 month old.
I am not even sure why I panicked. I do remember that I was so exhausted from all of my anxious thoughts. It was time to take action – I found a new therapist since we had recently moved before my daughter was born.
My doctor prescribed me a medication to help with my anxiety. I was a little hesitant because I had tried different medications before and nothing seemed to really work. I’m glad I tried it because it has helped me tremendously.
I have learned A LOT about myself and how to manage anxiety. I want to share some advice that has helped me along the way.
Find a Therapist
Just do it- you will not regret it. Think of it as a checkup for your mind.
I am still seeing one myself! 🙂
I have always loved to read but after my daughter was born I realized it was the only thing that relaxed me. I still read when I can, it’s a great escape from the everyday concerns.
Reading also helps whenever I am having a difficult time sleeping. If you are not a fan of reading, read a magazine or try crossword puzzles.
Have a Support Group
Mine includes my husband, my parents, my sister and my best friends. I can always go to them.
Anxiety isn’t easy to talk about and I’ve had to really work on being open about it (I mean here I am writing an article about it!).
In my experience, anxiety can become worse if you bottle it up. Ask your support group for help too.
My husband is a huge help whenever I am having days where the anxiety has taken its toll on me. He travels often for work so I have friends that live close by who I can count on as well.
This helps me SO much. I’ve been a runner most of my life but took a break while pregnant. After my daughter was old enough for a baby jogger, we got back out there.
She loves going with me – last year we ran a 5K together!
Well, she sat and I ran. 😉
Exercise doesn’t have to be in the form of running, it can be anything.
Yoga is also great for anxiety, it’s so relaxing and forces you to focus on your breathing. I was intimidated by yoga when I first tried it – I am so not flexible. Beginner’s yoga all the way!
As moms we don’t put ourselves first. I’ve had to force myself to schedule some “me time”.
Whenever I get my haircut, I plan to read my book afterwards at a coffee shop. I’m only gone for about 2 hours but that makes a huge difference.
Even if you can squeeze in time for a relaxing bath or to watch your favorite show.
Anything other than cleaning or cooking or paying bills.
Finding Nemo is one of my favorite kids movies. When I was in college my dad would tell me to “just keep swimming” whenever I was having a rough time.
A therapist I had a few years ago recommended having a mantra to help when your mind is going crazy. I instantly thought of this one.
Whenever I start to feel overwhelmed with anxious thoughts, I repeat this a few times and I feel myself becoming more centered and relaxed.
Smiling Mind App
There are plenty of great mediation apps but Smiling Mind is my favorite! They have different categories such as mindfulness, sleep, digital detox, and stress management.
The app is free you just have to create an account.
Oh, and the narrator on the app is Australian and his accent is awesome!
I used to go to a yoga studio a few years ago and my favorite instructor would always do the same relaxation technique at the end of our class.
She would tell us to relax our toes, legs, thighs, and go all the way up to your head. She would pause for a few seconds before continuing on to the next body part.
It forces you to focus on how your anxiety or stress is affecting your body.
Another technique for when your thoughts seem to getting out of control, is to stop for 10 seconds and just breathe.
Pick an object to look at and focus on inhaling and exhaling.
On those days where nothing seems to help and you’ve got little ones to take care of, it can seem really scary. Ask for help whether it’s your spouse, family, or a friend.
Watch movies with your children, I guarantee they won’t mind a movie day!
I tend to feel guilty whenever I have a rough day with my anxiety but I tell myself that my daughter knows I love her and everyone has bad days.
Plus, what little kid doesn’t want to watch Frozen all day?
I want you to know that you are NOT alone even though I know it feels like it at times.
Reach out to your support group. Make a list of things that help make you feel better so you always know where to turn when it feels rough.
I really hope these tips help you!