I always love to write personal posts but they are often the hardest to write. I think because it requires vulnerability to share these types of things. Anxiety is something I have battled with for years. I remember I had my first panic attack at a NKOTB concert. I felt panicked and sweaty and nauseous and wanted to leave immediately. Crowds and spaces with lots of people still give me anxiety. Hospitals give me anxiety, planes and flying give me extreme anxiety, bridges, people I love dying, my kids getting sick, the list goes on- so many things make me anxious. It is something I battle with and deal with sometimes on a day to day basis.
Throughout high school I continued to have panic attacks. They would sometimes just come on out of the blue and I would literally feel like I was going to die. Heart racing, sweating and a sense of impending doom. Literally the worst feeling ever. Then they got better and I didn’t have them as much. I don’t remember really ever having them in college. However after I had Sterling and Frances Moon I started having bad anxiety again. Not so much panic attacks but just feeling anxious and worried about every little thing. I think the enormity of being a mom and being responsible for two kids brought back my anxiety. I worried constantly about them. If they had a cough I always automatically thought the worst, like it’s pneumonia or RSV. My mind would go crazy playing out horrible scenarios. That is what an anxious mind does it always thinks the worst.
Then my divorce propelled my anxiety to another level. Divorce is such a difficult thing to go through especially when children are involved. I had so much anxiety and worry about what I was putting my kids through. I would wake up in the middle of the night with my heart racing and feeling panicked. It is such a horrible feeling. I find for me personally my anxiety is always worse at night. I think because I am busy during the day at night when I try and chill it creeps in. My minds races and stresses about everything.
I recently started seeing a therapist not just to talk about anxiety but about living my best life and bettering myself. She said something that really resonated with me and that is the anxious mind hates uncertainty. It explains so much about me. I like to keep a full calendar always having plans and things to look forward- that way my mind is always busy and it keeps it from worrying. Some people say I have zero chill because I am always on the go wanting to do something. I know that is why my divorce worsened the anxiety because my future was unknown. It terrified me thinking about starting over again and not knowing what my future would look like. It would send my mind into a tail spin trying to grasp for anything solid. I know through all struggles come self growth and happiness but sometimes in the midst and darkness of it all it seems impossible. But you just have to keep going day by day.
Anxiety also makes you second guess everything. I am always questioning my decisions, it can be be exhausting. It is almost like you never trust yourself.
The key to taming anxiety is controlling your mind and thoughts which is sometimes really hard to do. Taking a step back and realizing a panic attack is just that helps. When I start to feel panicked I remind myself you didn’t die before you won’t die now, this too shall pass. Taking deep breaths also really helps to slow down your heart. If you feel totally overwhelmed talk to you doctor while I have never taken medicine for my anxiety I know some people truly need it so don’t be afraid to ask for help.
I wanted to share a few things that help me, in hopes if you battle with anxiety it will help you too.
ONE | EXERCISE
This is huge and has helped me so much. I have always done some sort of exercise just sometimes not that regularly. At the beginning of the Summer I decided to start back running and it has helped me so much mentally. I decided to run for 21 days straight because they say after 21 days that creates a habit. It worked, I used to make excuses to skip workouts before and now I do everything in my power to make sure I get that workout in. I know I am a better mom and in a better headspace the days I can run. Before I used to do barre class, the treadmill or a workout video but none of that gives me the same high and endorphins I get from running. Being outside in nature helps too. I listen to music, look at my surroundings and clear my mind. I sometimes have my clearest thoughts while running. It just clears my mind and helps me focus on what is important. Plus I feel so good after I run, my mood is elevated. Today I got to see this gorgeous sunrise a reminder that God is good is alwasy there for us.
TWO | MEDITATION
This is a hard one for me. I have a really hard time sitting still doing nothing but my therapist has encouraged me to do this even if it is only for 5 minutes a day. I try and do this right after I run as I cool down. I find my mind is clearer after I run. I usually only do 5 minutes that is where I am at now, but I am hoping to add on more time eventually. Headspace is a great app for those wanting to try and meditate.
THREE | GRATITUDE
This is so important not just for anxiety but overall happiness as well. I think everyday you should write down 3-5 you are thankful for that happened that day. I actually do this with the kid’s every night after we say our prayers we each say three things we are grateful for that day. It is so sweet to hear your kid’s answers. Frances usually says God and unicorns- haha. Last night one of Sterling’s was the fact that when I picked him up from school I had a big smile on my face:) Gratitude makes you see the world in a different way. There is so much good if you focus on it.
FOUR | READING
I am so into reading any kind of self help books I can. I think they help empower you, inspire you and train you to think more positively. Plus reading is always good for your mind. I read a lot before bed it helps me to quiet my mind and slow down. I also have been really into podcasts. I mentioned the Oprah Super Soul Conversations last week, they have some really inspiring ones. I also love Goop, The Rise, and Joel Osteen.
These are a few self help books I have loved.
FIVE | WINE + TIME WITH FRIENDS
I am kind of kidding about the wine, I mean of course don’t self medicate with alcohol you need to know your boundaries but if a glass or two of wine helps you relax go for it. Time with friends is crucial too. Laughing and just getting out of the house is always good for helping me perk up.