We get it: parenting is HARD! But, Struggling with both parenting and anxiety can feel like an uphill battle. ParenthoodIQ spoke with licensed mental health counselor and wellness coach Jill Sylvester who inisits yes, you can win! Here are her tips for coping.
Try these six game-changers:
Be an early bird and get all the worms
Get up early? Easier said than done, right? Waking up early can feel like a punishment until you make a conscious choice to set that alarm and just do it. Starting the morning with intention allows you to set your day off on the right foot and focus on what you want. What are your priorities? You are the captain of your day, rather than someone “just getting by.” Give yourself the gift of time early in the morning to do something inspiring. Whether it’s yoga, meditation, a walk outside, or reading time, what matters most is that the activity awakens your soul and speaks to your life.
Good things come in 3's
Starting your day with a grateful heart puts you on a positive frequency. List three reasons you’re grateful. Start now. State what you’re grateful for and cancel out the negative chatter in your mind. Train yourself to focus instead on what feels good. What’s great about your life? Focus your thoughts there and see where your energy flows. Make tomorrow morning the start of your own positive science experiment and watch how your day unfolds.
Take a breather in the afternoon
Taking an afternoon break helps manage your emotions. Go for a coffee and reflect on the first part of your day. What went well? What could you do better? Think about the rest of the day and how much time you have to make things happen. Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Stretch, walk, or workout to recharge your body and mind. Try it today and see.
Make regular mental health days a thing
Penciling in regular mental health days is just good business. Proactively scheduling days off to focus on yourself helps avoid burnout. If you ignore the signs of exhaustion, you’ll hit the proverbial wall. Listen to yourself. Are you dizzy? Are you tired all the time? Take a day for you. Read a book. Take a hot bath. Just make it happen on a regular basis to avoid that pesky wall. Plan your mental health time. That will be your day to look forward to.
That’s right. Eat those mashed potatoes. Sometimes we need to indulge in comfort food to feel nurtured and cared for. Food is a universal connector, a way of bringing back memories of those who loved and nurtured us. Comfort food is different for everyone. What’s yours? What memories rush back when you eat your comfort foods? Whatever the food, don’t ever feel bad about it. Eat and enjoy without shame or calorie worries. Savor every bite.
Trust your gut
Your intuition is your body’s GPS. Respect those feelings when it’s time to make a decision. These are signs pointing you in the right direction. It’s that internal feeling of yes, do that, ask for that raise, say hello to that person, or no, this doesn’t feel right. Now, keep in mind you’ll have subsequent thoughts and feelings telling you that you’ll fail, that things won’t work, or you’re not right for that job. Those anxious feelings, or “gremlins,” will try to hold you back from greatness. Will you let them?
You can do it. You can beat anxiety and transform your life with these six simple strategies. It’s just a matter of deciding you are worth it. And you are!
Jill Sylvester is a licensed mental health counselor who has worked with adults and children in private practice for nearly ten years. She has been quoted in Oprah Magazine and She Knows. Her first book, the novel The Land of Blue, is the recipient of a Mom’s Choice Award.