This journey of motherhood is incredible— there are moments of pure joy and love, but also moments where it’s just hard. From worrying about your child’s safety to juggling work, household chores, and maintaining a social life, there’s no doubt that moms carry a lot of stress on their shoulders.
As if that weren’t enough, current events like politics, the economy, and the pressure of being a mom can add to generalized anxiety. However, I like to think a bit of stress can be good because it can help us stay alert and focused. But, being constantly anxious can have adverse effects not only on a mother but also on the rest of the family. For this reason, I want to share practical tips on how to deal with and manage anxiety and find inner peace – from one mom to another.
How To Deal With Anxiety As A Mom
Recognize your anxiety.
The first step towards managing anxiety is to recognize it. As mothers, we often forget to listen to our bodies and mind. We get caught up in daily chores and routines, and before we know it, we feel anxious and we’re not exactly sure why.
Recognizing when you are more prone to anxiety can be difficult and scary. You may worry about being judged by others or feeling like a “weak” person. But, being honest with yourself is the key to dealing with your feelings. When we try to deny that we feel stressed, it doesn’t help us make progress on our mental health journey. Realistically, it only makes matters worse, because it adds more stress and pressure to yourself when trying to keep up the pretense that everything’s okay.
Accept your boundaries and limitations.
I know the importance of setting limits and being self-aware of my physical and emotional state. It wasn’t easy to accept that I couldn’t handle everything, but acknowledging my limitations was crucial in reducing my panic attacks and finding inner peace.
Through trial and error, I learned to recognize my body’s cues, such as fatigue, irritability, anger, and excessive worry, as signals that I needed to take a step back and prioritize my mental health. In addition, establishing healthy boundaries has allowed me to say no to things that push me too far outside of my comfort zone and to enjoy the present moment without feeling overwhelmed.
Find your peace.
I don’t know about you, but the constant noise and activity from my children can quickly become overwhelming. Finding peace is challenging, but it’s crucial for my mental health. That’s why I make it a point to carve out time in my daily routine for an activity that brings me peace.
It can be as simple as reading a book, doing crafts, or showering. But for me, music is my saving grace. It helps me tune out the chaos around me and find inner peace. I always carry headphones, so I can take that break and recharge whenever needed. Taking a few moments for myself each day has made a significant difference in managing my anxiety and maintaining my overall well-being.
Create a relaxing playlist.
Music is a powerful tool that can significantly impact our emotions and mood. For example, when you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress or anxiety as a mom, creating a calming playlist with soothing music can help you relax and feel more at ease. It can serve as a form of therapy, helping you disconnect from the world and transport your mind to a more peaceful place.
First, take a few minutes to select songs that speak to you, whether it’s classical, jazz, or even nature sounds. Then, when you start to feel anxious or stressed, take a break and listen to your playlist. Let the music take over, and focus on deep breaths and calming sensations. You may be surprised at how quickly your mood can shift with just a few minutes of intentional music listening.
Accept help from others.
When my kids were young and in preschool, I felt immense guilt. I was a stay-at-home mom, and school for my kids seemed like added pressure I should have been able to do myself. After all, isn’t that what I was supposed to be doing? But looking back on it now, attending preschool was a significant decision for our family.
Allowing someone else to care for my children in a structured learning environment gave me a break. Those few hours when I knew my kids were safe and spending time with other children and adults allowed me to take the opportunity to spend some quality time with myself.
Create self-care routines.
Managing anxiety can be challenging, especially for those who struggle with learning disorders like ADHD or Dyslexia. Creating routines has proven to be a practical coping strategy for many people. By knowing what’s to come, they feel more in control and less overwhelmed by the uncertainty of the future.
A pre-set routine can provide many benefits, such as a sense of structure, safety, and stability in the face of chaos. This can be particularly important for parents of young children, where the unpredictability of daily life can create stress and anxiety. While no plan is perfect, having a routine can help establish a sense of normalcy and routine, even in the face of unexpected events.
Spend time outdoors.
Going outside can also help bring clarity and perspective to your thoughts, especially during stress or overwhelm. According to a study in 2019, spending time outside for a few minutes each day can positively impact your mental health by boosting your mood and providing you with much-needed Vitamin D.
If you struggle with staying indoors or spending too much time on social media, consider adding “leave the house” to your daily to-do list. Even a brief time spent outdoors can become a healthy habit providing instant calm and refreshment. So, take a deep breath, step outside, and enjoy the world around you!
Give yourself grace.
Life is messy, and no one should be expected to be the perfect person. However, we often set high expectations and are too hard on ourselves when we can’t meet our goals. This is especially true with motherhood.
That’s why it’s important to allot yourself grace whenever you can. Forgive yourself for not meeting those high expectations, and try to move on quickly instead of wallowing in guilt or disappointment. Remember that everyone fails sometimes, and your children will likely not remember what they ate at dinner but will remember how happy (or unhappy) you were at the table. (For my tips on being a happy parent, click here.)
Get help from a mental health professional.
When I experience tearfulness, numbness, aggressiveness, or excessive irritability, I know these can be signs of a more severe issue, such as depression or anxiety. In the past, I’ve tried managing my stress and strain on my own, but it can be a difficult and overwhelming task. That’s why I’ve learned that it’s essential to seek medical advice when I need it.
Sometimes, stress management techniques aren’t enough, and admitting that I may need professional help is okay. Finding a therapist specializing in maternal mental illness has been a game-changer. They have helped me navigate my feelings, provided me with stress management tools, and offered support and guidance—more on this on my podcast HERE.
Together, we can overcome anxiety and rediscover inner peace.
Remember, managing anxiety as a mom can seem daunting, but it’s essential for your mental health and the well-being of your family. Taking care of yourself is not selfish. It’s necessary for your well-being and the well-being of your family. Recognizing your anxiety, accepting your limitations, and finding activities that bring you peace is crucial, and it’s okay to ask for help and seek professional advice if necessary.
As a mom who has struggled with anxiety, I know firsthand how overwhelming it can feel. But, I want to encourage you that it’s possible to manage different anxiety disorders and find inner peace. With patience, perseverance, and self-care, you can overcome your anxiety and live a happy and fulfilling life as a mom. Don’t let pressure hold you back from being the best version of yourself. You got this!
For more tips on motherhood and balancing day-to-day life as a busy mom, visit my blog.