Overwhelmed. Not enough of you to go around. Stressed. Anxious. Irritated. Frustrated. In over your head. Whatever you want to call it, the truth is that most of us have befriended stress more often than we’d like.
Sometimes it’s our own doing. Yes, YOU can stress yourself out. You can overwhelm yourself. You can be the bearer of your own unhappiness. And we don’t realize we’re doing it until its too late and our sanity is hanging by a thread. (Think busy schedules and overcommitting yourself.)
Sometimes, stress just runs in our blood. For me, anxiety has unwelcomely plagued several generations in my family.
No matter how stress, anxiety, or overwhelm have made their way into your life, the commonality of them is how you you feel… STUCK.
Sorry to say, but we tend to stress ourselves out even more about how to be un-stressed. It’s a vicious cycle that makes you question everything. And the longer you’re in the stress cycle, the harder it is to get out. Heck, you may even find yourself doing things to involuntarily bring on your anxiety symptoms.
So how do you change the negative feelings? How can you learn to cope?
These 10 tips can help you to change your anxiety forever, giving you healthy ways to cope and get through it.
1. Practice Deep Breathing
It may sound super cliché to “just breathe”, but truth be told, deep breathing helps slow the mind and body when stress or anxiety strikes and is the best way to bring you back to a calm state.
And it’s easy to do!
Simply sit with your eyes closed and pay attention to the way you are breathing. Without trying to control your breath, breath in through your nose, being very aware of the sensation of your breath. Place a hand on your stomach and another on your chest, counting to four as you inhale. Hold the breath for a four count and then count to four as you exhale through your mouth. Repeat this practice as many times as you need to feel relaxed.
Meditation is a great way to calm yourself from the inside out. When taking a meditation break, surround yourself with positive energy. Think calm, calculated thoughts and take a moment to calm yourself. Meditating each morning is a fantastic way to start the day anxiety free.
3. Take Care of Yourself
Stressed or unstressed, self-care is incredibly important. Whenever possible, take the time to do something just for you that you enjoy. Whether that means a hot bath, a manicure and pedicure or simply just settling in with a good book, taking care of yourself is important to not only taming your stress and anxiety, but also preventing it.
Even on go-go-go days where time for you is unattainable, remember that self-care doesn’t just have to be something you add to the calendar. Do something as simple as drinking 10 glasses of water. Listen to a podcast or audiobook while cleaning.
Anything that fills your cup mentally, physically, emotionally, or spiritually counts. Remember that taking care of you helps you take care of others better. And you have a family that is counting on you!
4. Get Enough Sleep
It seems completely bizarre that this tip is coming straight out of the mouth of a night owl. I will admit that I greatly enjoy late night pj parties in solitude, watching a RomCom or just vegging out doing whatever I want (housework not an option) long after the kids are in bed.
You know if a night owl is saying it, there’s definitely validity to it… GET ENOUGH SLEEP.
Here’s the scoop… I realized that when I don’t get enough sleep, I am cranky as a mother with the kids the next day. Maybe not the first couple days, but then the tiredness sneaks up on me and somehow I find myself going into full blown mom rage. And in case you didn’t get the memo… we’re supposed to be nice to our kids. So you can see this doesn’t usually turn out well for me.
When it comes to anxiety, not having adequate sleep can actually aggravate anxiety symptoms. So whenever possible, aim for 8 solid hours of shut eye.
So stop binge watching your fav series, take some melatonin (if necessary) and get a good night’s sleep. It will help to change your anxiety forever.
5. Reduce Caffeine and Sugar Intake
While stress eating an entire box of cookies may make you feel better in the moment, your waistline and overall stress level will look so much healthier if you put the cookies down!
Believe it or not, caffeine and sugar can have a huge impact on your anxiety. When you reduce your intake of these things, your stress and anxiety levels will reduce drastically.
If you really want to go all out… I could suggest avoiding that morning cup of coffee and opt for a green juice. (FYI, Green juice can help increase your energy levels without stimulating your nervous system in a negative way.) But I know how vital that morning cuppa joe can be so I’m going to tiptoe carefully around that one or at least suggest that you make your own Copycat Starbucks treat and healthy it up a bit.
6. Exercise Often
Exercise is a fantastic and natural way to remedy and change your anxiety. Aside from simply clearing your mind, exercise is perfect for helping you sleep, firing up your endorphins and reducing anxiety symptoms.
Exercising can be as simple as going for a walk. Take up a Zumba class or play pickleball. If the gym is your thing… go! (And if you need a little motivation to get your butt into the gym, check out these 11 Reasons to Go to the Gym!)
Whatever makes you happy, do it! Exercising regularly will help keep you in the “happy zone!”
7. Declutter Your Home
Clutter can have a huge effect on your mental state. You may look around your house and think “my house isn’t cluttered. I’m good.” But are you?
Clutter doesn’t just have to come in the stereotypical thought of “junk” or having a messy house. Clutter can be anything that overstimulates your brain causing anxiety and/or overthinking.
So take another look around your house. What hasn’t been put away? What is laying around unnecessarily? Look at your walls. Are they filled with pictures or is there some much needed white space?
If your space doesn’t feel soothing to you, decluttering may be exactly what you need.
8. Know the Facts
Stress, overwhelm, and anxiety has a way of convincing us of things that are just not true. Negative thoughts produce negative feelings. But it is critical that you know that any negative feelings of guilt, low self esteem and more are not facts. They do not identify you. It is not who you are. These are feelings. Feelings come and feelings go. Let any negativity that tries to take root in your mind go! Get rid of them immediately.
That may mean you need a plan for when negativity tries to set in. Have affirmations ready to go. Read the Bible and let God’s truth of who you are flood your soul. Have a mantra like “Not today, Satan!” or “I am calm. I am capable. I am loved.” that you can repeat over and over to yourself.
9. Be Grateful
Practicing gratitude is an amazing practice that won’t just change your anxiety forever, but also your mindset. When we are grateful for the things we have, negative thoughts fall by the wayside.
Practice gratitude as often as possible. In fact, creating a daily gratitude journal is a fantastic way to record what you are grateful for. And speak your gratefulness out loud! Let the world hear all the reasons you have to be grateful and it may just do the hearts around you lots of good too!
10. Seek Help
If you find yourself being succumbed by stress or deeply struggling with symptoms of anxiety, it may be a good time to seek help. Visit a qualified mental health professional in your area to help you work through your anxiety.
Mama, your mental health is crucial. Changing your anxiety forever is not an easy road but it is an important one.
Remember the saying, “if mama ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy”? It couldn’t be more true. Your mood sets the attitude for the home.
Your kiddos can feel your stress. They can sense your anxiety. And they are watching you to understand their own emotions and work through them. So role model to them how to work through negative emotions like a champ!
Yes, it means you are going to have to commit to working through your stress, overwhelm, and anxiety. It will take intentionality on your part.
How are you going to work deep breathing, meditation, self-care, and exercise into your day?
What area of your home would be the most beneficial for you to start decluttering?
Are you going to opt for caffeine and sugar to soothe you or are you going to drink more H20?
When you start getting overwhelmed and feel frenzied, are you going to let your emotions take control of you or are you gonna tell ‘em who’s boss and start naming out loud all the things you’re grateful for?
You don’t have to try tackling all 10 of these items at once. Start small. Choose 2-3 items to focus on and rock them… consistently! You can do this!