Prayer Breathing, keeping a Gratitude Journal, taking Time Outs Alone and spending Time In Together, Talking it Out and Taking Care of our Body are all excellent Ways to Deal with Anxiety in Motherhood. The last and but most often dismissed way to get help with anxiety is to –
Help Others and Ask for Help
So far, I’ve shared ways for how you can help you deal with anxiety in motherhood. All those are great and are very effective but here’s really no better way of escaping from our own problems than getting out of our own heads to help the people around us who are struggling also.
When we stop and notice that other people exist around us, we can begin focusing on them instead of getting stuck in our own misery. Sometimes, I believe we are allowed to suffer so that we can understand others’ suffering and be moved to do something to ease their pain since we can truly empathize. Suffering with others brings Peace and Grace.
Helping others gives us a sense of purpose. When I can do something for another, it steers me away from being pulled in and controlled by my anxiety and instead gives me something sturdier to hold onto. Here are a few simple ways to help others that shouldn’t add too much stress – if done with a grateful heart.
- Sit down and write a kind note or send a quick message to a friend. Tell them how grateful you are for their friendship or ask how her day is going.
- Buy or make some special after-school snacks or double your dinner and bring the extra to a mom who is having a rough time lately.
- Call a friend and invite her over for lunch or tea and open your ears and your heart to her.
Help Others and Let Others Help YOU
Carry another’s cross with them and let them help carry yours. It helps us to help others and it helps others to let them help us.
Moms are excellent actors – we know how to put on a good face in public, volunteer for everything under the sun and make it look like we are fine even when we are suffering a terrible interior darkness of anxiety or depression.
Asking for help is one of the hardest things for us to do but it’s an essential way to get ourselves out of the pits of despair. Sure, others are suffering a lot too but that doesn’t mean our own problems vanish or even that they are insignificant compared to others’ – and we have to be careful not to use “helping others” as a way to avoid or hide from our own problems. (speaking to myself here!) It’s a temptation to compare our own struggles with others.
Another person’s struggles – as real and difficult as they may be – do not diminish or negate our own difficult situation.
We moms have so much to do, our plates and our hands are always full. All the time. Even when we sleep – if we sleep – we’re still thinking about everything we have to do. For me, when I think of everything I need to get done I feel panicked easily because I think I have to get it all done all by myself.
We’ve all heard the time-old phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child”. Well, it takes a village to raise a mother also! We need each other. We need our spouses. We need our parents and family members, our parish and communities, we need our neighbors, and yes – we might even need the people at the daycare or gym’s nursery once in a while too.
Ask others to help you! Ask for help carpooling, meals, babysitting so you can catch-up at home or get some much-needed sleep or whatever it is you need help with – ask for help!
Yesterday, we had a few different activities going on at the same time and I wasn’t sure how I was going to get everyone dropped off or picked up where they needed to be without losing my brains in the whirlwind. I decided to do what my mom says and “Just Trust God!”. Not even a few minutes after I sent up a quick prayer to entrust the situation to Him, my brother called and offered to take and bring home one child so I’d only have one activity to drop off/pick for. He really saved me and my sanity!
Seek Outside Help from a Professional
Finally, we may also need help from someone outside of our home and community life – someone who is passionate and cares about helping others with their mental health, someone who spent many, many years and time and hard work to learn about mental health so that they could spend their days listening to and helping others navigate the dark and muddy waters of anxiety or depression or other mental health issues. Someone who can give us an unbiased, professional, and rational opinion from the outside looking in.
There is NOTHING wrong in seeking out the help of a professional Psychiatrists, Psychologists, or Licensed Mental Health Counselor. NOTHING. In fact, it might even be wrong if you don’t seek out this help. When we are physically sick or when we break a bone or have a sprain what do we do? Go to the medical doctor. When our minds are fuzzy, we live in a perpetual state of panic and anxiety, and we have a hard time getting out bed to do the smallest things – why don’t we go to the doctor then? Going to a doctor or counselor for your mental health is just as important as going to the doctor for your physical health.
There was a time in our family life when I hit rock bottom and was having an incredibly difficult time with one child in particular. By the end of an awful, awful summer time together, I said – I need help! So we made an appointment with a family therapist. I was incredibly anxious when we first went but after the first few sessions I knew I had waited too long, I should have gone years before. I had told myself I could “fix myself” and my child on my own by reading books and figuring it out. But I couldn’t. I needed someone who could look at our specific and unique situation and talk to me and my husband and child face-to-face and give us concrete and practical tips for dealing with each situation. It was a life saver and a relationship saver.
I’ll share more of what I learned from our experience another time but know that if you have thought to yourself, “Hmm, I wonder if I should go to a therapist?” the answer is Yes. From my experience, by the time you’re willing to admit you need to go you’ve already needed to go way before that.
Well, that concludes the expanded list of of the Seven Ways to Deal with Anxiety in Motherhood. I hope this has helped you as much as it has helped me to write it all out. Now I just need to remember my own tips and somehow stay accountable to them. I’ll pray for you and I ask that you please pray for me also!
If you have other tips you’ve found helpful, I’d love to hear them!