Dealing with anxiety
I have dealt with anxiety of varying degrees in the past few years. I am sure it is mostly the result of hormones because it tends to show up and get worse during certain times of the month. I have found ways to really help keep in check and thought I would share them in case anyone else is dealing with anxiety. Just a quick disclaimer: These are just ways that have been helpful in my life, so please talk to your doctor if you are dealing with severe anxiety. I have spoken to my doctor during my anxiety counselling, so don’t think I am at all against getting medical help.
I think sleep is one of the biggest factors in my anxiety. I definitely felt its effects on nights I slept 4–5 hours.
Sleep has been the very hardest thing to change in my life. I love staying up late! Until recently, it was extremely rare for me to sleep before midnight and often much later. It has taken a lot of discipline for me to make sleep a priority. I now shut off the TV and computer at 10 p.m. and try to be in bed by 11 p.m. It typically takes me ages to fall asleep, but this new routine has really helped cut down on that time.
I have also noticed it is more difficult to fall asleep when I stay up too late; and then I struggle with major anxiety while trying to fall asleep. It is like a baby’s sleeping cycle — when they hit the point of being way overtired, it is much harder for them to fall asleep.
For moms of babies and kids who are waking up throughout the night, sleep is definitely much harder to control. Trying to get to bed as early as possible, and taking naps while you can, helps. When I was in that season, my husband would let me sleep in every Saturday morning. Oh, how I loved Saturdays! If you are bottle-feeding, ask your spouse to take one of the feedings. While it seems never-ending, it is just a season. So be graceful with yourself and try to incorporate some of the other things that can help lessen anxiety.
I have found that taking fish oil and magnesium helps keep my anxiety on track.
This one is hard! When I am dealing with anxiety, any caffeine at all really makes it much worse. I don’t drink coffee but I do love Coke now and then, so I keep a case of caffeine-free Coke in the pantry for when I am craving soda.
Limit your media
Make your world smaller. I try to limit my exposure to news sources because most news are never happy and only makes my anxiety worse. This concept also applies to my Facebook feed and other social media. I hide or unfollow people who are constantly talking politics or sharing negative news that I don’t want to see. When my world is smaller, it feels a lot more manageable.
Exercise is so helpful in keeping my anxiety in check. It doesn’t need to be a hardcore workout either; just take a 20-minute walk. I have an exercise bike that I ride before the kids get up in the morning. I love having an option in my house that I can use any time I need to.
OK, I haven’t really embraced meditation yet, but I have heard great things about it. I fully intend to start meditating on a regular basis, I just need some time to work up to it! I have embraced silence a lot more often though and it has been surprisingly beneficial. In the past, I would always have either the TV or a podcast on during the kids’ naptime or before bed. I have learned to be OK with silence and I have to say: I really recommend it.
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