Do you constantly worry about irrational and unlikely things happening to your family? Do stay up at night Googling every symptom your kid starts to show? Do you lose your cool easily when things start to get stressful? Do you assume someone is mad at you when they don’t text you back right away? Do you often feel overwhelmed by your normal day-to-day tasks?
You may be an anxious mom.
Guess what? I am too.
I was sick of feeling stressed out and anxious ALL. THE. TIME. More importantly, I hated the kind of mother I was becoming because of it.
I do all of these anxious behaviors and more. I have anxiety and it’s something that I struggle with on the daily.
I don’t suffer from crippling anxiety, the kind that causes panic attacks. Heck, I didn’t even recognize that I had anxiety until it was pointed out by the marriage therapist that my husband and I began seeing to fix our marriage after the birth of our first baby. Still, I knew my anxiety was a problem.
They are the reason I try so hard to reign in the crazy thoughts, unnecessary stress, and anxious energy.
When I’m anxious and overwhelmed, it doesn’t take much for me to lose my cool. If I’m stressed about something (even something completely unrelated to my kids), a simple cup of spilled milk could be enough for me to raise my voice. I’m not proud of it. In fact, I’m ashamed and feel terrible that my kids have to experience that mom sometimes.
Of course, I need to get my anxiety in check for my own wellbeing, but it breaks my heart that I’m not always a nice mom and that causes even more anxious energy and thoughts.
If this sounds familiar, I may be able to offer you some help. Below are a few ways in which I’ve been able to curb my anxiety and keep it in check.
***Disclaimer – I am not a medical professional and this information should not be used in lieu of actual medical advice. If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression, it’s important to seek help from a medical professional.
10 Ways Moms can Mitigate Anxiety
1. Seek professional help.
I think this needs to be said first and foremost. It’s SO important to seek professional help if you need it. Hear this – THERE IS NO REASON TO FEEL ASHAMED OR EMBARRASSED. Therapy is healthy and for many, necessary. If you are having a hard time managing your anxiety or you’re feeling depressed, talk to a professional. If you’re not comfortable talking to someone face-to-face, there are even online services and apps that you can use to get some real help. If you think you may have postpartum depression, don’t wait to seek treatment.
2. Take a break from social media.
It’s no secret that social media can lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Removing social media from your life or at least significantly cutting back could help mitigate anxiety and depression. In a study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, participants who limited their social media use to just 30 minutes a day for a 3 week period experienced a decrease in depression and feelings of loneliness.
I’ll admit that I used to mindlessly scroll through Facebook and Instagram, despite the fact that it left me feeling envious, made me question my own worth, made me very anxious (all that doom and gloom), and seriously affected my productivity. I knew it was a problem so I started to make some changes.
First, I started unfollowing pages and profiles that made feel sad, anxious, jealous, etc. This included parenting media sites that often post articles about rare and uncommon ways that kids and babies have died. Then, I started dramatically cutting down the amount of time I spent on social and limited to necessary use only (for work). This required a conscious effort on my part, as I had been somewhat addicted to scrolling and checking likes, but now that I’ve significantly cut back, I’ve noticed the positive impact it’s had on my mental health. I wish I could cut it out completely, but because of my current business, I can’t. One day, though!
(Find out how you can have a healthier relationship with social media.)
3. Get some fresh air.
It’s easy to start feeling stressed and anxious when you’re cooped up inside all day, every day. Spending time outside is proven to boost your mood and combat anxiety and depression. This is absolutely true for kids, too. Kill two birds with one stone and take your kids on a nice long walk or to the park. A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Health Research found that spending as little as 20 minutes in a park is enough to improve well-being, according to the research.
4. Start journaling.
I know this sounds cliché, but hear me out. When done with intention, journaling can work wonders to alleviate anxiety. Take just 10 or 15 minutes a day to sit down, reflect, and journal. A gratitude journal is a great way to relieve stress and focus on the positive. Gratitude journal includes jotting down the good things that happened that day, what you’re thankful for, and even your accomplishments.
You can also try a worry journal. This practice includes writing down your worries, fears, and what makes you anxious. Dumping all your worries out of your head and into a journal has been shown to help alleviate anxiety and stress. I like to do a little bit of gratitude and a little bit of worry. The combination of reflecting on all the good and facing all my worries is really therapeutic for me.
5. Lean on your family and friends.
The more I hold my crazy thoughts in, the more they fester and fuel my anxiety. Confiding in a trusted family member or friend helps to ease my worries. And if I don’t feel like talking about what’s bothering me, a good conversation with someone I love does wonders to distract me and lift my mood. Find someone you can confide in, pick up the phone or have a chat over a cup of coffee.
6. Sweat it out.
Exercise releases endorphins and has long been proven to boost your physical AND mental wellbeing. If you’re like me, getting off your butt to exercise might take some willpower at first. Once you get in the habit of regularly exercising, it will become easier to get moving and get it done. Plus, you’ll likely start to really enjoy doing it and how it makes you feel.
There are plenty of excuses to avoid working out; trust me, I’ve used all of them at some point. It’s too expensive, group classes can be intimidating, I have no time, etc. There are plenty of FREE fitness resources these days. Browse Pinterest and YouTube and you’ll find plenty of new routines to try in the comfort of your own home, at your own convenience. If you prioritize it, you should be able to fit 30 minutes of exercise in a few times a week.
7. Practice mindfulness.
Have you given meditation a try yet? If not, you really should. There are so many benefits to even just 5 or 10 minutes of meditation a day. Meditation can help you control your anxiety and alleviate stress. According to Healthline, an eight-week study of mindfulness meditation helped participants reduce their anxiety and symptoms of anxiety disorders, such as phobias, social anxiety, paranoid thoughts, obsessive-compulsive behaviors and panic attacks.
If you’re new to meditation, there are lots of free resources that can help you get started. Apps like Calm and Headspace can guide you through short meditations, aimed at addressing your needs (like anxiety, insomnia, pain, and depression). If you want to combine your meditative practice and fitness, yoga has also been proven to reduce anxiety.
8. Limit your news intake.
Of course you need to stay informed, but you don’t need to be constantly consuming news. In fact, too much news can lead to increased stress and anxiety. Let’s face it, the news is full of things that you simply can’t control and too much “bad” news just fuels unnecessary anxiety. I’m not advocating to live with your head in the sand, I’m simply suggesting that you limit your intake.
To control my news consumption, I limit myself to listening to the news on the radio when I’m in the car – after I drop my daughter off at school, on my way to the grocery store, etc. On average, I usually consume 15-20 minutes of news a day and for me, that feels like enough. If there is something that really interests or concerns me, I will do some research on that particular topic. We don’t have access to cable news (cut the cable cord a long time ago) and I try to limit how much news I read online because it’s easy for me to get sucked in and lost in all the doom and gloom.
9. Find an outlet.
Hobbies are crucial for your mental health. Having an outlet, something to do that you truly enjoy, can alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression. Hobbies can also help you learn new skills, give you a confidence boost, stretch your creative muscles, and so much more. I try to make time for activities that light me up, such as painting, reading, and writing, as often as I can.
Don’t have a hobby? The good news is that there are so many different hobbies you can try, including these 75 hobbies that are perfect for moms.
10. Practice self-care.
Self-care is important for so many reasons, but it can also help you manage your anxiety. Realizing how crucial self-care is for managing my anxiety, especially postpartum self-care, was one of the reasons why I started More for Mama. You need practice and prioritize self-care to mitigate your anxiety and prevent yourself from burning out. Self-care is simply any action taken to improve your own health, wellbeing, and happiness. This can be something as simple as enjoying a bubble bath (try this DIY lavender coconut milk bath recipe) or splurging on a massage. [ More self-care splurges. ]
Even if you’re busy, which I know you are, you can still practice self-care. Here are 55 ways to practice self-care in 15 minutes or less.
Anxiety is becoming more and more common among moms, but that doesn’t mean we should just accept and live with it. These tips may help you mitigate your anxiety so that you can be a healthier and happier mom. If you think that you may need professional help, please don’t hesitate to get it!
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