As if postpartum depression wasn’t bad enough, when I went back to work, I was faced with daily anxiety attacks. These were completely new to me and I had no idea what was happening at first.
My chest would tighten, I couldn’t focus, my mind was popping around like a pinball machine, I would cry over random things, my head would hurt, and I felt like the walls were closing in.
After a week of single parenting, working full time with an hour commute on each end, and these anxiety attacks, I HAD to get a handle on this. There was no way I could keep doing this all day everyday where I literally felt like I would shatter to pieces.
After some trial and error I developed some key strategies to help minimize my anxiety or get rid of it all together on a day to day basis. Here are my top 5 tips for busting Anxiety.
1) Exercise- don’t go crazy thinking you need to join a crossfit gym with this. But sweating each and everyday, can help minimize anxiety tremendously. Something as low impact as Yoga or as high impact as HiiT workouts can make or break your anxiety on your worst days. Try and move for at least 10 minutes everyday. Go for a walk, dance around your living room, or contact me for some great in home workouts!
2) Cut the Sugar- While sugar doesn’t CAUSE anxiety, it does breed heightened symptoms experiences during anxiety. Your body has to work on overload to break down processed/added sugars, which causes you to feel tired and drained. So if you limit your processed sugar intake (so this means not natural sugar like fruits and honey- this is like cookies, cakes, read your ingredient labels)- your body will have less heightened states which means your anxiety level will be lower, and you can overcome those surges easier.
3) Limit your caffeine- caffeine is meant to give you an awake buzz- it’s meant to perk you up/wake you up- but if you’re suffering from anxiety- you need to watch your caffeine intake. I like to limit mine to 1 cup of coffee before 9am and stop all of it after that. Because if I don’t, I feel that heart pounding frantic frenzy start up again. So I’m not saying don’t drink your coke or coffee, I’m just saying- bring it down a notch.
4) Unplug- let me ask you (and answer truthfully)- how much time do you spend on your phone or computer each day? If you have a job that requires you to be on the computer- you should try and take a 5 minute screen break every hour (go to the bathroom and practice some deep breathing), don’t eat your lunch at your desk, don’t play the TV all day at home for your kids. Technology heightens anxiety. There’s too much blue lights in our technology devices, and noise to be able to appreciate calmer moments. It’s hard- I know! To not be on your phone, but designate times where you turn everything off and you unplug. For example- maybe from the time your kids wake up until after breakfast, and then maybe unplug for an hour around lunch time, and unplug 2 hours before bedtime, etc. Or just pick one time a day to unplug- if you don’t think you have a media problem- download the app “Moment” it tracks your phone usage so you can see how often you’re on your phone and what time of day.
5) A ME Day- a what day? You’re probably rolling your eyes and telling me that that isn’t going to happen. But hear me out. If you aren’t taking a few hours a week for JUST you, where the spouse takes the kids OUT of the house or YOU leave the house, you’re going to have a HARD time resetting. This isn’t to say it’s always going to be easy to do. Factors like single parenting, family not living close by, paying for a sitter- all those factor in how many “you days” you can take. But I can’t tell you how nice it is to grab a coffee, sit in a quiet place, or go window shop at a store or mall, or have lunch without having to share every other bite with my toddler is. If you’ve never left your baby before- this one might be REALLY hard, but I can’t stress it enough for your mental health. This isn’t about WANTING time away from them or feeling like you are neglecting them by leaving them- this is about giving you some real true breathing room to relax and unwind so that YOU can be a better parent and mother. A better wife. A better friend. If all you’re doing is meeting the needs of everyone else, who is supposed to meet your needs?
These are by far my top 5 Sanity Saving Tips for any woman, at any stage of life, no matter how old your kids are. But sometimes it can be hard devising a plan of action. It can be hard to see past all the chaos to think clearly- and that’s where I come in.
I help people manage the crazy and find the peace amongst the chaos. We work on a plan of action that fits within your life, I don’t pressure you to do anything you aren’t comfortable with, it’s just you and I having a conversation. Sound interesting?