Dealing with anxiety as a mum? Trust me so many mothers are in the same boat and it can make life so difficult!
Today we are going to give you 10 great life-changing tips that you can use right away.
Motherhood is full of so much good and so many challenges without adding anxiety into the mix so let’s get into how we can make it more manageable.
We have actionable tips that you can use to understand your anxiety, and then hopefully you can learn to manage it.
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Is It Normal To Have Anxiety As A Mum
The short answer is, YES! It is totally normal to find yourself with anxiety or worse anxiety post becoming a mum. Dealing with anxiety in motherhood is a really common occurrence. From the moment you fall pregnant, your body goes through so many changes.
It is normal to find yourself hyper-aware of all the bad things in the world, after you fall pregnant and as you enter motherhood.
Women especially are biologically designed to be hyper-aware of threats. So even though this can show false positives sometimes. It serves a purpose and that is something you have to understand. We are just built differently haha.
By fighting your body you are only going to make things tougher. If you work alongside your anxiety, you can make it more manageable.
Never hesitate to get professional help if you feel you or others around you could be unsafe or your life compromised due to your anxiety.
How To Deal With Mother’s Anxiety
Dealing with anxiety as a mum can be totally doable. The thing to understand is that anything you are going to work on mentally takes time, and practice to get good at.
Knowledge is power and we can always choose to find more knowledge in our lives. Knowledge is what is going to give us the ability to work with our anxiety instead of against it.
Dealing with anxiety begins with understanding you can’t ‘get rid’ of it. Anxiety has a real purpose in our lives.
Our flight or fight kicking in helps us to decide that maybe driving our car into that certain place isn’t going to end well. It also prepares us to run if we find ourselves in a situation where we need to get away quickly. Without it, our survival rates would be worse for us and our babies.
Sometimes that flight or fight can overwork and thus we can end up firing on all cylinders all the time when maybe that isn’t necessary. Finding ways to work with this and around this means we can make our lives a bit easier.
Understanding Anxiety In Motherhood Helps With Dealing With Anxiety As A Mum
So to deep delve into understanding dealing with anxiety as a mum, we first need to understand what the purpose of anxiety is.
Anxiety on a deeper level can be a very debilitating condition, our bodies will perceive threats that may not be there and run on high alert constantly which is exhausting and unsustainable.
As females we are already far more aware of threats as biologically we are designed this way. So remember to go easy on yourself as some of what you are feeling isn’t necessarily your fault.
By understanding that our body’s survival techniques are for us to look out for threats we can realise it isn’t our fault. Now we can take steps to rationalise and work with our brains to make life easier.
How Burnout Can Affect Anxiety In Motherhood
Dealing with anxiety in motherhood can be made a whole lot harder, or even trigger anxiety when we are burning out or already burnt out.
Being burnt out can look like:
- Low mood
- Struggling to manage emotions / having a temper
- Feeling unexplainably down
- Struggling with everyday tasks
- Feeling overwhelmed by simple things
- Lack of appetite or stress eating
- Being continuously unwell or struggling to get better
Burnout comes when we don’t listen to our bodies and what we need.
Sometimes as a mother with what feels like 10,000 appointments, things to get done, and routines to follow.
We forget that we need to come first to actually get all those things done anyway.
What Is Depleted Mother Syndrome
Depleted mother syndrome runs along the same tracks as burnout. Parenting is tough work, it is consistent and doesn’t offer breaks. Without managing it properly it can be really easy to head down a path to burnout.
Burning out means you are not going to be able to show up for your kids. So it is really important you understand burnout, how you get there, and how you stay away from there.
Burning out is only going to exaggerate your anxiety symptoms/troubles and make everything feel a whole lot less manageable.
Burnout happens when we don’t listen to our bodies and what we need. When we are tired, we tend to carry on. When we are hungry or feeling low we wait till later. Which hey later never comes!
Sometimes stopping to rest for five minutes, or taking the time to go for a walk or grab a coffee and take a breath can have a huge positive impact on our longevity.
By keeping your cup topped up, with little doses of good things you can avoid having to fill it completely when it is bone dry. Remember
10 Useable Tips
So here are 10 useful tips that are going to get you on track to being able to better manage your anxiety. Especially within motherhood. Make sure you reach out if you are struggling badly and things are starting to feel like they may never get better.
Write Down What It Is Your Actually ‘Anxious’ About
A great technique you can use within anxiety or general worries is to get clear about what is actually bothering you. If you get a piece of paper, sit down and figure out the things that are bothering you. You might be impressed by what you can achieve after this.
Once you have your list, you can then rationalise.
What is the chance of this thing actually happening?
If it has a good chance of happening, what can you do to decrease the risks?
Create a plan for the things worrying your brain. So that way your brain can take a break knowing you have a plan for what it is and what to do about it.
It is such a simple exercise but for some people, it can be very effective.
Look Into Counselling To Get A Better Awareness Of Your Self
Counselling or therapy is an extremely useful tool in motherhood. It actually isn’t talked about enough…
You get the chance to talk to an adult without your kids around, whom you can talk to about absolutely anything.
They are going to be able to help you get an understanding of what is going on in your brain and why.
For younger mothers counselling can actually be funded so you need to check out what is available.
The other thing to know is if you have been through traumatic events previously, it is very possible to get funded counselling as well.
I can tell you hand on heart, counselling is a really great way to get to know yourself better and step into being an amazing individual and mother.
Plus who doesn’t love having someone who just listens to ya ramble? Especially when you’re missing out on all those conversations arguing about silly things with toddlers!
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Get The Best Possible Understanding Of Anxiety And Why It Is Useful
Who would think anxiety could actually be useful hey?
Well, it can be it just takes a deeper understanding and some management to actually get anxiety on your side.
I was going to reference Frozen here when Elsa says “Conceal don’t feel.”
It doesn’t work does it! Then when she openly uses it and practices she can use her powers for good. Surprisingly you can use anxiety and worries very similarly.
Worry which can turn into anxiety is a very, very complex topic. This is why we are only gently covering it so you can understand how to make a change.
If we strip it right down to a biological survival technique, women were left at home to care for and protect the babies. So it was good for us to be worried and on edge to threat when we were left to protect them.
Sometimes our bodies may perceive a false positive (something that isn’t actually harmful) and this is where anxiety can kick in.
It creates something in our heads and makes it far bigger and more realistic than maybe it actually is. Not always and this is why by writing your concerns down and rationalising them you can teach your brain it is ok.
Get The Best Possible Understanding Of How To Manage Anxiety
The best way to manage anxiety is to educate yourself, this may mean heading to your GP or talking to a counsellor.
Plus do research in your own time, but make sure that you are looking into positive things. Possible things you could search for:
- Positive ways to deal with anxiety
- How to manage my anxiety
- How to manage anxiety in motherhood
What you don’t want to do is end up down a negative rabbit hole and make your feelings worse!
The ultimate goal is to rationalise and manage the anxiety as best you can. If you can’t then your doctor will be able to help with an action plan.
Practice And Master Breathing Techniques
Breathing techniques are hugely helpful and underrated.
Slow breathing overrides the system and tells your body that you are ok. In situations where you’re body is maybe perceiving a threat that you can manage or are safe from, this is super useful.
3 super useful Breathing techniques;
- 3, 4, 5 – Breathe in for 3, hold for 4, breathe out for 5. Great for grounding yourself if you are feeling overstimulated, wound up, or panicky.
- Taking a deep breath and holding it. This is grounding.
- Breathing while running your fingers down your nose. You could also rub your thumb against your forefinger.
Learn About Dropping Anchor
Dropping anchor is a grounding technique that you can use to find yourself again in moments of chaos. It is subtle so you can carry it out at dinner
You can even head to the bathroom, and take a moment to have a breather. Use one of the breathing techniques and then use one of the below as well.
- Find 5 things that you can see, 5 things you can hear, and 5 things you can feel.
- Touch your thumb and fingers together whilst using 3,4,5.
- Touch the walls or floor with your feet or hands and take big breaths.
- Press your hands into a countertop and just feel the sensations combined with breathing.
Start Journalling Practice
Another fantastic way that you can increase your self-awareness is journalling. Getting everything bothering you into journal entries gets rid of those worries out of your brain.
You also will find self-awareness by writing down the things bothering you why you think they are hanging around and how you can manage them.
Journalling gets rid of judgment (trust me I tell my journal EVERYTHING). You can write anything and no one ever has to read it. On top of that it can be super cathartic to look back on just how far you have come.
I journal on Notion, which means I can have a fantastic database that is easy to get into and write whenever I need to. As well as categorising all the tags and different entries.
Notion is a fantastic place to get your life as a mum sorted, and have a place just for you on the internet. I love it because it syncs across my laptop, phone, and iPad straight away. So I can start a journal entry when waiting for an appointment and then finish it when I arrive home.
Notion is free and easy to use and a great place to get your entire life into so you don’t lose a thing…
When dealing with anxiety as a mum, using journalling as a form of self-expression is a healthy way to deal with your feelings.
Find Something You Can Do For Yourself
Sometimes our brains simply need downtime. Being overstimulated constantly is extremely tiring.
By finding something you can do alone that fills your cup, you can calm your mind and give your brain a rest.
Ideas you can use to take time for yourself:
- Walking – Local beach or tracks or just your street works.
- Have a bath and listen to some music.
- Go for a coffee alone.
- Read a book when your babies are napping.
- Organise to go away for a weekend or day trip alone or with your girlfriends.
- Planning our journalling time on paper or digitally.
You can find all sorts of things that will fill your cup that aren’t extravagant. Dealing with anxiety as a mum can be something that you can make little changes to consistently.
Dealing With Anxiety As A Mum, Figuring Out What Fills Your Cup Can Help
Sometimes being able to curb your anxiety, and manage it also involves figuring out the things you can do to help yourself rest and reset.
As humans, we aren’t designed to run on empty. We can have a huge hustle culture in today’s age and sometimes that can be detrimental.
The key seems to be in between getting enough work done to not just survive but thrive and then being able to balance your health and wellness with this.
So sitting down with your phone and notes app or maybe a pencil and paper or your planner! Depends on what you do your planning in.
You can sit down and write down the things you enjoy.
Splitting this list into small things, and big things can be a great way to make the effort to do both as needed.
Things you can incorporate into your everyday or almost everyday life. These are the simple things.
- A morning coffee in a see-through mug.
- Going for a walk with your kiddos in the pram.
- Maybe reading a book on self-improvement while your kids nap.
- Getting to cook dinner alone.
- Have an ice cream for dessert on your porch after your babies are asleep.
Small things you enjoy should be things you can do every day, and they just become a part of your routine.
So for that small piece of time, maybe it brings you a little peace of enjoyment. Small things that keep our cup full are the goal.
Big things should be your hobbies and maybe a trip to do them. Some actual downtime. It could be one big thing once a week or even once a month. These are a little more complex things.
- Going for a hike or walk in the bush somewhere.
- Getting your hair or nails done… or both…
- Going on a shopping trip out of your area.
- Maybe going to hot pools and a weekend away.
Dealing With Anxiety As A Mum
So dealing with anxiety as a mum can be so tough! It can feel like a really lonely journey some days, and it can make motherhood feel even more isolated.
Dealing with anxiety as a mum doesn’t have to be tough. By using the practical tips we have talked about today you can start your journey to becoming a more settled mother.
Self-awareness is a really good thing to be working on that will help you become a better mother in all aspects.
Motherhood has a way of inducing awareness in us. It kicks into protecting our babies and is useful, but useful when we can manage it.