Motherhood and Anxiety
By Amanda Cavallaro – The Anxiety Wellness Queen
‘ She understood that the hardest times in life to go through were when you were transitioning from one version of yourself to another ‘ – Sarah Addison Allen
The transition into motherhood can be bitter sweet for many new mums. So much love and excitement for your new bundle of joy whilst also dealing with the confusion of this new identity you have acquired. You begin to question your role as a mother, the Do’s and Don’ts whilst adjusting to your new routines and responsibilities. Anxiety is commonly experienced during this transition and can ultimately come and go throughout motherhood and during major life events. For some it is very mildly experienced and only appears during extreme times of stress and for others it can become debilitating and interferes with their day to day tasks.
Today I will be sharing with you some Tools, Tips and Exercises that you can apply in your life to tackle that dreaded motherhood Anxiety!!
When you are feeling anxious your body often goes into a fight or flight mode. The physical symptoms heighten your heart starts racing and you begin to notice changes in your breathing. Learning how to BREATHE correctly is so underrated, it is an essential skill to learn and makes the world of difference when sending information to your body saying that you are in fact NOT in the danger it thinks you are in. When you are feeling anxious your breath either increases rapidly OR you tend to hold your breath (without even realising) as a result sending you in a state of panic! By learning some basic breathing exercises you discover how to transition from a state of panic and fear, to a state of calm. Below I have shared with you 1 Breathing exercise paired with a positive mantra to get you started each morning!
The image above is a great visual aid demonstrating the focus and mantras you can use when practicing a breathing exercise. Start by slowly exhaling and imagine the anxiety leaving your body. Then slowly inhale to the count of 3. Imagine you are breathing in the positive vibrations paired with a mantra that resonates with you, such as ‘I am Enough/love/worthy’ or ‘I breathe in my courage/confidence/strength ’. Then slowly exhale again breathing out any anxiety present in your body in that moment. Then repeat.
INVEST IN A GOOD DIARY/PLANNER/JOURNAL
I know you may be thinking ‘What does this have to do with anxiety????’ well I will tell you now. Getting organised and writing things down is a priceless habit to slowly get in to. Removing the chaos from your mind and placing it on to paper is not only therapeutic in itself but allows you to get organised and put things into perspective. I know what it’s like as a busy mum (because I am one myself!) plenty of appointments, To Do’s, phone calls to make and things to pick up/drop off. You have ENOUGH to think about day to day so start by practicing to write all the extras down.
Writing is also extremely beneficial as a To Do List for your household chores, packing, shopping list etc. but one of the most important forms of writing is getting in the habit of writing out your thoughts and feelings during times of stress, overwhelm and anxiety. I know I know it sounds corny but it really isn’t about a Dear Diary entry.. its about learning to identify your THOUGHTS, FEELINGS and EMOTIONS. Becoming familiar with when they come up and once again getting them out of your head and onto paper will help you eliminate a lot of the ‘heaviness’ and ‘chaos’ that many like to refer to it as.
SELF – CARE
Self Care plays a huge role in your Physical, Emotional and Psychological well being. As a mum you spend so much of your day (and night for that matter) caring for others, that sometimes you may leave yourself behind. Implementing some regular self-care practices allows YOU to re-energise which then allows you to give 100% throughout your day. Self-Care practices don’t have to be anything expensive $$$, time consuming or that require a lot of effort they are simply there to help you rejuvenate, re-energise and re-charge. A Self-care practice can consist of a bath, eating well, playing your favourite music, keeping a gratitude journal or a face mask and a warm hot chocolate in the evening. As they say you cant pour from a empty cup!
As a busy mum it is easy to let your regular healthy eating habits slip! Skipping meals, snacking on unhealthy treats and amping up the caffeine not only drains your energy source but also increases your anxiety levels. After having my son I learnt many ways that I could implement a healthy eating plan whilst living a busy lifestyle.
1) Planning ahead is a life saver! Prepare meals and snacks in advance takes away a lot of the stress and saves a huge amount of time. Freezing meals is also handy, then all you need to do is pop it in your oven and your DONE!
2) The reality is that SOMETIMES you really don’t have time for breakfast in the mornings, things like Breakfast muffins or Smoothies were and still are my go to when I need a quick, nutritious and delicious breakfast. Some of the ingredients that i include in my smoothies are, fresh seasonal fruit, nuts, chia seeds, ice, almond milk (or milk of choice) Oats are another good one to include (this keeps me full for longer).
3) Online grocery shopping has been such a great time saver for me! I must admit I like to go out and purchase some fresh items myself, although for things like laundry items, nappies, stocking up the pantry etc.. its fantastic! Both Coles and Woolies offer a great online service, enabling you to pick your delivery window on the days that suit you and there are always lots of online specials!
When dealing with anxiety you often spend so much of your time focusing on the negatives in your day that you often forget to take note of the positive that are happening around you. Anxiety has a funny way of alarming you and your thoughts to fixate on that terrible meal you had at the restaurant and all that traffic you experienced on the way to work yet in the meantime the great service and the and the amazing weather didn’t get a second glance. Getting in the habit of writing 3 things you are grateful for at the end of each day not only shifts your perception but trains the brain into paying more attention to the positive elements in your life as well. It takes practice and I know it is so hard to do when you are feeling down and when you feel like nothing is going right for you. It’s at those times that you need to remind yourself the most that there is always ALWAYS something to be grateful for… you might just have to look that little bit harder.
I can keep talking about dealing with anxiety throughout motherhood forever because there is SO much to say.. but at the end of the day I will leave you with this message. Mumma don’t be so hard on yourself you are doing the BEST you can with the tools you have, keep listening to your gut and powering through, never look back and know that the right help and support is out there for you.
Much Love Amanda – The Anxiety Wellness Queen xx
To check out More of My Tips to help you change your relationship with anxiety please visit my website link below!
The Anxiety Wellness Queen