Taking care of my mental health is a priority that I no longer take lightly. It’s something that I’ve been practicing for the last seven months. I hit a low earlier this year when I started experiencing episodes of anxiety and constant panic attacks. Even though the experience was one of the worst in my life, I’m thankful for it. I’m thankful because I now have the tools that I can use on a daily basis but more importantly, it’s something I can pass down to my daughters. So how did I do it? How did I get to a place where I feel healthy both mentally and physically? My list is long and it’s not a magic list. It won’t eliminate all the stress in your life but in my experience, it has enhanced the quality of our lives. This list initially included twenty items but I’m going to share it with you in four different parts. I didn’t start putting everything into practice in one day and that’s what I recommend for anyone. Take baby steps.
Below are Five Self-Care tips that allowed me to become a better, calmer version of myself.
Five Self-Care Tips for moms with anxiety.
1. Remove toxic people from your life
If being around a person or situation causes you to become anxious and having done everything in your power to remedy that situation has not worked, it’s ok to cut ties. I quit a job that I loved doing because the levels of stress were making physically ill. My body ached from head to toe. There were mornings when I physically couldn’t get out of bed. Doctors could not find anything in my blood test results but yet I had all the symptoms of auto-immune disease and this terrified me. Not having a job didn’t leave us a choice but to move in with my in-laws in San Diego. We no longer have our own home or space but that’s ok. My kids need a happy and healthy mother wherever that might be.
I used to hold it in. I never cried, as silly as it sounds, I didn’t have time to cry. Whenever I had the urge, I would postpone it or talked myself out of it. It was only until recently that I learned that crying is the body’s way of getting rid of toxic stress hormones. Can you imagine all those years or toxic stress building up!
You don’t need to have a particular topic in mind. Just start writing. Let it all out. Once you get it off your chest, rip the pages or burn them. You don’t need to revisit those thoughts again.
4. Practice Gratitude
Whether it’s the first thing you do in the morning or the last thing you do at night. Make a list of 10 things you are grateful for. For me, it’s things we often take for granted like having a blanket to keep me warm, or a pen to write with are often on my list.
5. Ask for help/Go to therapy
This a big-time off off-limits topic in my Mexican family. All I could hear in mind were stories of women in Mexico having 10+kids and doing it all on their own. If they could handle life without ever complaining what gave me the right to do so? The next segments will have tips that will require you to ask for help. I never saw my mom ask for help. She raised us in her beauty salon. That mind-set was passed down to me. I frowned at social media messages praising terms like “it takes tribe to raise a child” I saw it as parents being lazy. Thankfully when I reached my low, I had heard that enough times that I was ok with giving it a try. I asked my mom to help me cook once a week. I reached out to a friend and asked for her help in finding a therapist. A therapist is not for broken people. It’s for everyone. We all have our own traumas even if you don’t see them. A therapist might not be accessible to everyone. In this case, I recommend talking to your friends. Asking if it’s ok if you take a little of their time. Before I found a therapist, I called a different friend once a week and that helped tremendously. I found a great therapist and I can say that my sessions were shorter and shorter each time I went in. I no longer see her but if needed to, I would definitely go back.
Most of us have busy, hectic lives and it’s so difficult to find the time to slow down. This, in turn, makes us more prone to stress and anxiety. Slowing down and eliminating triggers has made a huge impact on my mental health. It’s not easy and things don’t change from one day to another but with a little practice, persistence, and will-power, I promise you, practicing self-care can help ease anxiety. These days mine is almost non-existent and I’m able to enjoy life’s simple treasures.
I hope you enjoyed this list and that you can put even one tip into practice. Next week I will dive into five more self-care tips for moms with anxiety.