Anxiety in motherhood


Being a Mum and coping with the overwhelm and anxiety is hard enough but what happens if you just can’t get rid of the anxious feelings? How do you deal with them?

It’s normal to feel anxiety and worry, you might feel it before a job interview or before your children start school, however for some people the worries and anxiety are constant and you experience a constant sense of dread and feel constantly on edge. Anxiety can become more severe and can take over and start to affect everyday life. The mind goes into worst case scenario and anxiety levels soar. A side effect of anxiety can include panic attacks.
It’s very common to develop anxiety at some point in your life and for many mums it can start when their children are born, the overwhelm of a new baby and the worry about keeping them safe from harm can lead to anxiety that you can’t just shake off. Anxiety as a parent can also take the form of worrying that you are not being a good enough parent and feeling anxious that everyone else is doing it better than you.

“Smile, breathe, and go slowly.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

10 Signs of Anxiety

The symptoms of anxiety start as if you were anxious or worried but get more intense and last longer than normal these can include:

  1. Feeling worried, nervous and frightened
  2. Lack of concentration
  3. Lack of appetite
  4. Palpitations – a strong or fast or irregular heartbeat
  5. Shortness of breath
  6. Dizziness or feeling faint
  7. Headaches
  8. Difficulty sleeping
  9. You begin to sweat your mouth becomes dry
  10. Feeling detached from reality

What can you do to manage your anxiety?

Try and figure out what triggers your anxiety, this can help you prepare for a future attack. Is it when your children go to school or when you check in with social media?
Have a think if it could be related to your monthly cycle. Tracking your feelings via an app is a great way to monitor and track your levels of anxiety and also your monthly cycle.

There are a lot of apps that can help with anxiety believe it or not! One of which is headspace which helps get you into a routine of meditation. Here’s a list of some other apps that will help too.

Get everything written down and out of your brain. Anxiety likes to lurk in your brain so the more you can talk about it and get it out in the open or write about it the more you release the worries from your mind.

Don’t brush it under the carpet, recognise that you are suffering from anxiety. Just saying it out loud and putting a name to it will help. Tell people around you are feeling anxious, kind words will come and help with the overwhelm. Read just your mindset to what is good enough. The strive for perfection can affect anxiety so remember done is better than perfect.

Research has shown that Mindfulness can reduce anxiety and depression. Mindfulness helps to focus on the present moment and stops your brain from wondering. More here.

Mediation calms the mind during meditation the body has ‘the relaxation response’, which gives the body deep rest, rest that is deeper than the rest from sleep. Exercise releases endorphins that make you feel good and can really help anxiety. Regular aerobic
exercise can help reduce tension and just five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects. Yoga and Pilates help you to focus on your breathing which is a great anxiety buster.

“Just five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects.”

Try some CBT – Cognitive Behaviour Therapy which works by redefining negative thinking and thought patterns into more positive ones. It examines the things you think and how they relate to the things that you do. Speak to your GP – medication can help for some and can be the bridge you need to help you make positive changes.

Finally, avoid any type of comparison with other Mums everyone is on a different journey and you can’t see how frantically everyone else is paddling under water to keep afloat.
Remember above all you else you are a great Mum.

“Everyone is on a different journey, you can’t see how frantically everyone else is paddling under water.”

It’s World Mental Health Day is on 10 October 2018. Speak out and seek help.