As a mom, you have more things to worry about than the average bear. Your concern for your precious little ones never leaves your mind and drives many of your decisions. It can also keep you awake at night.
There’s no denying that mom anxiety is real. However, you need to tame it if you want to be an effective parent. Here are five ways to manage the tension.
1. Go on an Electronics Detox
If you listen to the news, it’s understandable to think that the world is falling apart. The old saying, “if it bleeds, it leads,” holds here. The headlines that garner the most attention often center around tragedy.
One study by Dutch researchers indicates that watching the news has a negative effect on mood, even if you are typically an optimistic extrovert. While it’s important to remain informed, you probably won’t miss anything vital by turning off your broadcast. Instead, you’ll spare your mental health.
The same goes for social media. Comparing yourself to other people’s seemingly perfect onscreen lives can dishearten you, especially if you’re struggling. If you can’t bring yourself to delete the apps off your phones altogether, apply a time limit or consider investing specifically in apps that are meant to improve your mental health.
2. Get Your Body Moving
Exercise is one of the best stress relievers on earth. Best of all, it’s free. All you need to do is lace up your tennis shoes and go for a walk.
The trick to sticking to a program is finding something that you love. Are you perpetually short on time as a single mom? Why not get in on the mini-HIIT trend, which features high-intensity exercise bursts lasting anywhere from three to 20 minutes. Power yoga and Pilates are again trendy, as people seek non-impact ways to elevate their heart rates and get their muscles working.
Dance might be one of your best bets if Alzheimer’s disease or dementia runs in your family. The combination of following complex steps with physical movement might decrease your chances of a future diagnosis. Plus, it’s a blast, and all you need to do is crank up the tunes to boogie down for free.
3. Practice Yoga and Meditation
Even if you don’t fancy holding a warrior pose while sweat drips all over your mat, you can benefit from the meditative qualities of yoga. Gentler styles, such as yin and restorative yoga, don’t burn tons of calories. However, they do put you in touch with your body, forcing you to pay attention to each achy spot as you stretch the muscle fibers and release adhesions trapped in your connective tissue.
The meditative quality of this practice can help to put you in the perfect mindset for meditation. You don’t need any external props to get started — just a quiet place to sit for 15 minutes or so.
To practice mindfulness, try focusing all your attention on your breath. As thoughts intrude — as they will — observe these without passing judgment and then let them go. It sometimes helps visualize a little scientist taking notes on each idea and turning to a blank page as you return your concentration to your inhales and exhales.
If you find mindful meditation not to your liking, why not try a guided version? You can find scores of free channels on YouTube to get you started.
4. Reframe Your Negative Thoughts
This skill takes a bit of practice to master. After all, you can’t control every idea that pops into your brain. However, what you can do is raise your awareness of the negative messages your subconscious produces and counter those ideas with more positive input.
For example, you might ruminate over an error you made on a budget report at work. Your brain can spiral out of control. You might worry that your boss now thinks less of you and fear they’ll look at any future mistake as an excuse to fire you. From there, you descend into the anxiety of never finding another position that pays as well and ending up homeless on the street.
While such a scenario might occur, it’s hardly realistic. What’s more likely is that your anxiety will cause you to make future sloppy errors that further shatter your confidence and lead to poor decision-making. You can create a self-fulfilling prophecy, not because you are incompetent but due to your fear.
Instead, when you recognize your thoughts going down such a path, learn to interrupt yourself with a reality check. For example, a productive response would be to hone up on your Excel skills and use a formula to prevent a future occurrence — then sharing your insight with your team to help them avoid this misstep. Just like that, you turned a negative scenario into a way you can help your colleagues and possibly advance.
5. Find the Right Help
One of your biggest mom challenges might entail separation from your kids. The right babysitter can help.
When making your selection, have a formal interview the way you would for any other position. Don’t shy away from asking tough questions like, “How confident are you with enforcing household rules,” and “how much experience do you have with children?” You should likewise seek certifications. The American Red Cross offers a babysitting certification course that includes first aid and how to handle other emergencies.
Manage Your Mom Anxiety WIth These 5 Tips
Mom anxiety is real, and letting it run wild can lead to poor decision-making and negative health effects. Learn how to take back your sense of control and calm your anziety with the five above tips.