Dealing with anxiety during times of uncertainty is one of my BIGGEST struggles. I feel like there is no secret formula to navigate this new way of life. And I also feel like as soon as we get the hang of it, something new pops up.
In retrospect and after a lot of therapy I believe I have had anxiety since I was a child. I did not know what I was feeling but I knew it was something. No real names for what I was feeling, I was just “too sensitive” and “too emotional”. So I grew up internalizing that and trying to stay tough and not let my “sensitive and emotional feelings” get in my way.
I don’t fault my parents because this spotlight on mental health is NEW. But now that it’s here, I am here for it. So how does a person dealing with anxiety deal with a pandemic? With the ups and downs of what is safe and what is not? With having kids too young to vaccinate? With making the decision to vaccinate or not? With LIFE?
Left and right we hear about self-care. We constantly talk about taking time for yourself, baths, vacations, face masks…but what about the deeper part of self-care? The part dealing with HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT YOURSELF? THAT is where I have been putting most of my energy towards.
My therapist, whom I am immensely thankful for, once told me “Self-care is not just about breaks and treating yourself. It’s also about how you FEEL and THINK about YOURSELF”. I never saw myself as having low self-worth until I was in therapy. I thought I was confident but had just shoved those negative voices under the bed until they crept out.
So what does self-care look like when you want to address all the areas that take part in it? For starters, journaling. In the month of December, I subscribed to Silk & Sonder planners. Their planners are a perfect mix of journaling and planner in one. They are truly aimed at making you more mindful and after a month and a half, I feel in a much better place.
I make sure to allow myself 5-10 minutes a day to myself to fill out a journal prompt, my habit trackers, etc. This gives me both a break and time to myself along with a time to reflect.
One of my FAVORITE changes has been incorporating daily affirmations for myself. I always made sure to have my daughters repeat affirmations with me daily but never made it a priority to do this to myself. I am app will send affirmations throughout the day to your phone for $19.99/year. You can select which areas of life you want to be addressed (love, self-love, spirituality, for parents, couples, money, etc.), how many times you want to receive them, AND from what time you want them to start and finish.
For those of you with smartwatches linked to your phones, they will come through your watch. The way I feel my mood shift after reading something like “I am unstoppable” well it’s worth doing.
Time to Unplug
Working on social media seemed like my greatest challenge. This idea of being always available was one I had to shake. AND IT WAS NOT EASY. I recommend filtering through what you are subscribed to and what you respond to.
Scan your body before you log on and if anything is going on that is triggering, it’s more than okay that you stay offline. I limit the amount of media information I consume and the time I spend on current events. There are certain websites and topics too triggering that I am NEVER on.
Be Forgiving To Yourself
There are days my friends and I are sending virtual high-fives for product days, coffee for sleepless nights, encouraging words when having a tough day, and being each other’s ears when we need to vent.
There will be challenging days, ones where it feels like you can’t breathe. Days, where it feels like the weight of the world, is on you, and you alone. And to be honest as a mom, sometimes it really feels like the weight on my shoulders is too much to carry. The decisions we have to make right now are unlike anything we have experienced in a while.
You are doing your absolute best. And you are not alone. I’m here