Even in the happiest of seasons, anxieties and emotions can be off, right? Can we all agree that even during Christmas season, the hap-hap-happiest time of the year, we all may be feeling some stress, worry, and over all not awesome feelings? Or in the bottom of summer, when it’s smooth sailing and quiet days. Really, if you struggle with anxiety, any time of the year you can be overcome with that feeling in the pit of your stomach.
I know I am. I have opened up a few times before now about my struggle with mental health before kids and the postpartum anxiety and OCD I struggled with after Bug. While it’s no where near as bad this time around, I’m at that awesome point where my hormones are beginning to rearrange and (I’m sorry if this is TMI) my favorite friend is probably going to start coming back in the next month or so.
With Christmas around the corner, I figure quite a few other parents out there might be feeling the nagging of their old frienemy, anxiety, despair, overwhelming need to give up doing anything because if feels like you will never accomplish everything. I wanted to share with you guys some of the practical, simple, and non medicinal ways I help curb my anxiety-even when it feels like I have no time to sit still for a few minutes.
(I am not a doctor, nor do I ever discourage the use of medication for mental health. I am a huge advocate for the proper use of medicines. Please always contact your doctor if you feel your mental health is beginning to get out of your control or taking over your life. You are valued, you are loved, you are worthy of treatment.)
Get Moving! A few studies have shown that regular exercise, even as little as ten minutes a day, can help relieve stress, anxiety, and reduce depression. Exercise releases “feel-good” chemicals in your body that help to reduce symptoms. For me, I simply try to make sure I get up and walk to kids to school or home from school every day. I’ve also been known to walk or jog in place while watching late night television. There are so many options on the internet these days between Zumba and yoga channels to HIIT; you don’t even have to leave your house to get in a few minutes of physical activity.
Lay off the coffee. (or caffeine in general) I am figuring that all kinds of people are looking at me right now like I’m insane. For some odd reason, my generation has this need to drink the most coffee, sleep the least number of hours, and never stop going. We also have a generation filled with anxiety. Caffeine is a stimulant. It can increase your anxiety levels-and for quite a few people, it does. Instead of reaching for your third cup in the morning, have a glass of water with a lemon in it. Exercising regularly can also help your fatigue.
Get some sleep. Like I mentioned in my above point, it’s like a race these days to see who can function best on the least amount of sleep. Don’t do it. The average adult needs somewhere between 7-9hours of sleep. I know this isn’t always possible…if you follow me on Snapchat, you know how well I know this isn’t always a reality. But choose sleep over binge watching that new show, going out, whatever else you may be able to avoid.
Have some self care time. Self care looks different for everyone. For me, it means getting out with a few friends, having a drink or eating delicious food, spending time around people. I love people. For other people it might mean some kind of introverted activity like taking a long bath alone or curling up with a good book. I know it’s so hard to find time for these things, but you have to. Self care is health care; it should be a priority in your life. Even if you do something as simple as taking ten minutes to throw some make up on and feel a little bit better about yourself…do it!
Take advantage of natural remedies. Y’all if you follow me on anything or are friends with me in real life, you know how much I ADORE Natural Calm Magnesium supplement. I’ve been using it for a little over two years now and it is the best investment I have ever made. I also am a pretty big fan of using essential oils or aromatherapy for anxiety. I have the Boo Boo Stick from Pure haven and I put a little on my temple every night before bed. Sleepytime teas are also a favorite of mine.
Make to do lists, journal, keep a good planner. If you’re like me, anxiety often presents as being overwhelmed- all the time, by everything and anything. If I’m having a bad week, I can barely handle writing a sentence or making a phone call. Cooking dinner suddenly feels like a huge investment of time, resources, and energy. One thing that helps me is to create a to do list and have each thing need to be done by a specific time. Break your to do list into small increments-for example instead of having “do the laundry”, try to put things like “wash one load of laundry” and “fold one load of laundry.” It will take a little pressure off each activity because they are less intense. Another cool tip is to give yourself small rewards after finishing an item on your to do list.
If you’re struggling with negative feelings this time of year, don’t feel alone! There are so many others out there dealing the the most wonderful time of the year and not feeling like it’s actually joy-filled. Reach out to others in love and stand together.
What do you do to help your anxiety and stress?