This post is sponsored by Walgreens but all thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.
(Zip up hoodie from Mother Bee Maternity)
For years I have struggled with anxiety, long before becoming a mother. My first experience with it was my senior year of college. I woke up in the middle of the night and felt like I was being strangled. My body was paralyzed and I couldn’t move. I was absolutely terrified and didn’t realize then that it was in fact anxiety. Once I became a mom, I was a constant bundle of nerves – Is he breathing? Is he eating enough? Am I spending enough quality time with him? What I thought were normal worries and concern snowballed into a giant panic attack when I was 10 months postpartum.
The thing about anxiety is that it’s a constant battle that ebbs and flows – some days are good, others are more challenging. For the past two years I have been able to keep my anxiety in check with some helpful changes.
Here are my top 4 tips for tackling anxiety:
1.) Create a routine – Coming up with a daily routine helps diminish any feelings of anxiety. It’s something that is the same each day and you can come to depend on. Eating wholesome foods, getting some exercise, daily medication and a good night’s sleep are the four major components of my routine. I make it a point and my self care to ensure that I don’t stray from my routine because if I do, it throws me out of whack.
I first went on anxiety medication when I was in nursing school. I remember at my appointment asking my doctor to prescribe me something, I felt alot of shame. I wasn’t the best at remembering to take it, some days I would, others I would go 3-4 days without. Shortly after finishing school, and becoming acclimated with my new job, I felt better and took myself off of my medication. Those feelings of panic and dread slowly started to creep in again. After I had my son, I went back on anxiety medication. This time, I made it a priority to take my medication daily so that I could be my best self for him and my family. And now Walgreens is making it easier to stay up to date on your medication adherence. Be sure to download the app to make filling your re-fills a whole lot easier http://bit.ly/redphone-wakeup.
2.) Don’t procrastinate -Whenever we have a lot to do, it’s normal to want to put things off. The thing is, procrastination makes you feel even more overwhelmed. I like to use lists and write down all of the things I need to do that day. I try to tackle the more challenging things early in the morning when I’m at my best, crossing things off as I go. Not only does this help keep me organized, but I also feel like I’ve accomplished something.
3.) Breathe – mindful breathing or meditation is one of my favorite tips I learned in cognitive behavioral therapy. It’s easy to do and you can do it anywhere. Mindful breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, shutting off our “fight or flight response” when we’re stressed and telling our mind to “rest”. To practice mindful breathing:
- Close your eyes and inhale through your nose for 4 seconds.
- Hold that breath for 7 seconds.
- Then slowly exhale for 8 seconds.
After a few cycles, I feel more relaxed and centered.
4.) Talk to someone – Whether you talk to a trusted family member or friend, or enlist the help of a counselor or therapist, talking to someone is very helpful. Not only do you feel like someone is listening, but it can also help you identify your triggers so that you know what things make you feel more anxious or stressed.