Categories: Mental Health

How I Learned To Tame The Anxiety Beast

Get up, get dressed, wake the kids up, get the lunches packed, wake the kids again, tidy up, get ready for work, wake the kids up for the third time, manage the whining, feed them breakfast, listen to the complaints, get them dressed to head out the door, remind them to bring their backpacks, get them in the car, run back to grab forgotten backpacks, get in the car, drop the kids at school, head to work—something’s missing.

You know what it is? Breathing.

Life’s busy as a mom, and the one thing I know for sure is that every time I mention being completely overwhelmed, stressed out, and anxious, I hear a chorus of, “Me, too”. A little stress is normal, of course, but sometimes we hit max capacity and need to practice some self-care if we hope to give our best to the ones we love.

I knew I was at the end of my rope when I started snapping at my family over silly things, and having anxiety attacks for no good reason. I was distracted, unproductive, and frustrated. Something had to change, and fast.

From personal experience, here are my top five tips for easing anxiety when you’re overwhelmed:

I used to say yes to everything—volunteering at the school, doing all the housework, managing the kids’ schedules, getting together with friends, and helping out wherever I could. At the end of the day, I had no energy left for myself. My hobbies took a backseat to what I thought were more worthy priorities, but in the end, I found myself burnt out. Think carefully about how you spend your precious time, it’s not a renewable resource.

I could probably pack 48 solid hours with tasks I “should” be doing. There’s always something to be cleaned or completed, but if I don’t take time out to just chill, it’ll be bad emotional news in no time. Take time to do something just for yourself, by yourself. Read a good book, go for a walk, workout, take a hot, quiet bath. Do whatever it takes to recharge your batteries.

I spent ten years as a work-at-home mom, and I found it very isolating. Making friends was pretty difficult, and even though I had (and still have) a great online community of friends to lean on, there’s nothing that can replace a night out with girlfriends. Take the time to meet moms in your ‘hood’ (find some tips here for how to make that happen) and get out for time together. It’s so great to get together and commiserate, let loose, and just be yourself for a few hours with friends.

Seriously. Slooooow down. Every morning, I wake up and meditate. It’s a new thing for me, so I don’t actually find it easy to shut my brain off and just relax, but I’m learning. I downloaded an app called Headspace and I am absolutely loving it. There’s no better way to start the day than with a fresh palate. Try it, you’ll see how it changes your life.

I don’t know why, but it took a lot of courage for me to speak to my doctor about my anxiety. I kept brushing it off as “normal”, waiting for the next corner to turn, when things would miraculously be better. But they never got better. So, off I went, with a list of the symptoms I’d been having, and home I went with a prescription for therapy and Clonazepam. If you are overwhelmed, please, please reach out for help. It’ll be the best thing you’ll ever do to share your burden with a professional who can help walk you through it.

Alexandria Durrell :