Being a mom is tough, to say the least. However, being a mom can take on another level of difficulty if you are a mom that battles anxiety and depression. I have dealt with anxiety and depression all my life, but I kept a lot of it to myself. My mental health was something that I didn’t feel was anyone’s business. However, as I have gotten older I have learned that the longer we stay silent the more lives we are going to lose to mental health. It’s important to shout out “me too” so that other moms and survivors of mental health can be reminded that they aren’t alone. Here are my tips for moms dealing with anxiety and depression.
Tips For Moms Dealing With Anxiety and Depression
The first step for me was acceptance. I had to accept the fact that anxiety and depression is something I am going to battle my whole life. It will always be there. You also have to realize that it will affect everyone in the house and your children’s behavior. You might have a shorter fuse or get behind on daily chores. Children, especially younger children, won’t understand the fatigue or irritability so they might act out.
For this very reason, it is extremely important to be clear and honest about what is going on with your mental health. If you are having a rough day you need to be honest about it. Let your family know what you need from them. Remember to use age-appropriate words with children.
Be honest with yourself. Set limits and boundaries. Learn what you can handle and don’t force yourself into situations that you know will trigger your anxiety and/or depression. Pay attention to your emotional and physical cues.
Find Your Place of Peace
When the world around you feels like it is falling apart you need to have a place of peace you can run away to, whether it is a physical place or activity is your choice. Kids are loud and that can be taxing with anxiety. Try to find something you can work into the daily schedule that helps you re-center and find some peace. It could be crafts, reading, running, etc…whatever makes you breathe a sigh of relief. For me, I love my writing or a hot shower.
Include Your Partner
Give your spouse the chance to support you. If you aren’t honest with your spouse on what you need and how your mental state is, then you aren’t giving them the opportunity to stand with you and take over some of the burdens of the day to day life. This also lessens the chance of you lashing out at them when you are in the midst of panic and they take it personally, which is never good for a relationship.
Let your spouse in on your triggers and they can help you avoid them. This way they can help you avoid situations that are not good for your mental health. Knowledge is power.
I know this can be a touchy subject for some people. However, I can only speak on what has worked for me, personally. Medication has made my anxiety and depression more manageable. I haven’t always had to be on medication, but there are periods of time that medication is what I needed. Speak to your doctor and make an educated decision on what you need.
Exercise and Meditation
This tip is probably one you hear all the time, but it really does help. Exercise and meditation are great for improving your mood in a short period of time. It isn’t a magic fix. Honestly, it works better when paired with other tips and tricks. However, don’t underestimate the power of exercise and meditation. Meditation helps me refocus when I start to unravel. Moms rarely focus solely on themselves so meditation is a great tool to force them to love on themselves a bit.
Ask and Accept Help
I’ve learned that when it comes to my mental health I have to be willing to reach out and ask for help. You can’t always do it on your own. Sometimes you need help. Be specific about what you need. Do you need someone to help you with dinner? Maybe watch your kids for an hour? Also, remember that you need to accept the help that is offered to you. I had a friend make me dinner one night when both my children were sick. I felt so guilty about taking it. However, it was so helpful.
Depression is isolating, making you feel like all you want is to be left alone when you really need to be reaching out. This is the time we need to be around others the most. The ability to bounce back and keep going comes from the support you have with social connections. There are days where I don’t want to leave my house, but if I make myself go to lunch with my mom-friends I always feel better. Sometimes you really do have to force yourself to socialize, but I have found that getting out of the house on a regular basis helps me keep my depression in check.
This might be easier said than done because I know how limited moms are on time. However, having hobbies and passions are essential to your mental health. I love to write so I try to make time in my day for writing, and I try to not just focus on writing that is for “work.” Whatever you love to do try to find a way to work it into your schedule. If nothing else, it gives you something to look forward to.
Grace and A Healthy Mindset
You aren’t always going to meet your own expectations, especially if you set them high. The important thing is to forgive yourself, move on, and promise to fight another day. Allow yourself some grace. Your children aren’t going to remember if your house wasn’t always cleaned to perfection. They are going to remember spending time with mom at the dinner table after a long day.
Anxiety and depression can cause you to feel like total garbage at the end of the day. They want to steal your joy and make you feel hopeless. Sometimes you have to try to shift your thinking patterns. Instead of thinking and living in the past, try to think about the present and the positive moments where life actually worked out for you. This isn’t easy and I am not trying to say you can “will” your way out of depression because it is so much more than that. I have just found that sometimes I have to try to stop the loop that depression and anxiety can create in your brain.
Few More Inspirational Tips
- Sometimes “good enough” really is good enough.
- Beware of postpartum depression.
- Forgive yourself and your children.
- You ARE NOT your condition.
- Live fearlessly.
Hopefully, these tips for moms dealing with anxiety and depression can inspire you to evaluate your mental health. Love yourself enough to take the time to find ways that can ease the burden when it comes to your mental health. Above all else, remember you are not alone.
Love yourself, Mamas.
“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31