15 February 2017
5 Simple Self-Care Tips for Stressed and Anxious Moms
I work on managing my stress and anxiety as much as humanly possible, but like anyone, I still experience periods where it feels like it is all getting away from me. Due to my history of panic and anxiety, I am much more self-aware these days. I attribute this largely to the year and a half I spent in cognitive behavioral therapy where I learned a lot about myself, my reactions, my triggers, and my thought processes.
I am currently dealing with a bout of high anxiety, and wanted to share some ways I handle it.
1) MEDITATE - I know what you're thinking. Sounds great, but who has time for it? I was on a streak where I was meditating every morning for about 10-15 minutes and then I got busy and stopped for a month or so. I noticed a HUGE difference. Whether it means waking up a little earlier, listening to my guided meditations while getting ready in the morning, or squeezing it in before I go to bed at night - I find the time during times of high stress. I am partial to Headspace. I did the initial 30 day free trial and then bought the app. It's $12.99 a month, and it comes with guided meditations that span so many different topics. I did the 30 day Anxiety pack, and I've moved onto the Self-Esteem pack. It has helped me a lot! Even though $12.99/month feels like a lot, I consider it a small investment with big benefits for my mental health. I'm not currently in therapy, and this has helped me maintain and stay grounded.
2) EAT - A very simple reminder, but I often skip meals when I have high anxiety. As a stay-at-home mom, I am constantly feeding my daughter and feeling guilty if/when I sit down to feed myself. Lack of food leads to low blood sugar and heightened levels of bodily stress. My favorite snack right now is a banana with peanut butter. It is high in protein, healthy, and gives me energy. In the same vein, drink your water as well. Duh.
3) GO THE F TO SLEEP - We want our kids to stay on a routine and go to bed, but then as parents, we are up late cleaning up, worrying about the next day, and trying to get some time to ourselves. I totally get it. But, when I have high anxiety, I notice myself going to bed later and later. It's not unusual for me to be up until 1-3AM just staring at my phone like a zombie. My mind is churning with useless thoughts and internal dialogue. When I start noticing the late nights, I immediately force myself into self-care mode. Late night worrying is usually a big sign that I need to chill out.
4) SELF-MASSAGE - No, not that type of self-massage. But, whatever floats your boat. ;) I learned this tip from my family doctor. I went to see him when I first started getting panic attacks. He felt my shoulders and neck and said "Whoa, you need a massage!" He taught me a few simple self-massages for my shoulders and stretches for my neck to loosen up all the tension. You can google this to find some techniques. I have been giving myself little shoulder rubs for years, and it helps SO much! My favorite place for giving myself a shoulder massage? The car!
5) FRESH AIR - Nothing helps my stress and anxiety more than getting outside and going for a walk. I focus on breathing in the fresh air, looking at the trees, and being grateful. It's so important for stay-at-home moms to get outside! I can't stress that enough. But, working moms, you need to do this, too. I urge my husband to get outside and take a short walk when he's stressed out at work. He said, without fail, it always brings his anxiety down! If you're feeling motivated, you can try getting some cardio while you're outside.
Lastly, check out my IG stories. I'm going to talk more about these tips, show you my techniques for self-massage, and answer any questions you might have about this post. My Instagram handle is @lessthandomesticgoddess and I'm on there constantly these days!