If you are like one million adults with anxiety, you may be looking for ways to manage it so that you can be the best mom/wife/co-worker/friend you can be. Not necessarily for them but for YOU. I personally know how debilitating is can be and I am on a mission to help as many women as I can. That’s why I am here to share with you these key 5 ways to cope with anxiety.
It took far too long to seek help. Entirely longer than it should have. It began with OCD that later manifested into full blown anxiety attacks. I would stare off into space. I would hide behind the kitchen counter sobbing so that my toddler wouldn’t see me fall apart.
Does that sound familiar? Perhaps it’s not that severe or perhaps it’s worse. You aren’t alone and there’s nothing wrong with you. But you absolutely need help and ways to cope with anxiety. I promise you will feel better.
I resisted this one for far too long. I am not really sure why either since I am not really a shy person and quite the contrary, pretty vocal. Did you ever see the Sex and the City episode where Carrie talks over and over and over again to her friends about Mr. Big until they finally have an intervention with her to get professional help? Ha that was me also. Great episode by the way.
Ironically my best friends are in case management or were however no matter how well versed they are in this field, they will always be biased because they love you. They have a personal attachment and opinions that makes it really challenging to help you objectively. Not to mention they don’t want to affect their friendship with you by telling you something you don’t want to hear.
Most importantly though a therapist is going to help you work through the anxiety and not just listen to you vent or cry. Yes they will support you by listening but their support goes far beyond that. They will ask you questions to lead you through a road of self discovery. My best improvement often comes after coming full circle on the things that make me anxious during therapy sessions.
How to find a therapist
I personally found a great psychologist through my work. They have a Healthy Minds program and they provided me with 5 referrals in my area to either provide therapy over the phone or in person. I then chose one after doing a little bit if research online and their location.
If your work doesn’t have a similar program then call your insurance to see if you have mental health coverage. You’ll be surprised most do. If so, they can also provide you referrals of therapists in network with them.
Back to your friends not being therapists it doesn’t mean you should isolate from them even if they can’t relate to your struggle. My biggest anxiety struggle surrounds with not being a stay at home mom any longer. My friends cannot relate because they don’t have children but that doesn’t mean they support me any less.
I see my therapist to work through the hard underlying debilitation and I go to my friends for support, ENCOURAGEMENT, empathy. My wife is another really important piece of my support network. She’s in tune with me the most and makes decisions together with me on the direction of our family.
Lastly my mom and sister are my support. Perhaps our conversations aren’t as deep or frequent but they love me just the same and are there if I need an ear when I feel like I am drowning. They all provide different layers and degrees of support at different times but what’s important is that they’re there for me.
If you don’t have one or any of these, search for support in other avenues. Perhaps if you’re religious find a church group. It may not be deep at first but they can certainly support with company and prayer. Seek online support groups. I belong to several groups on FB for different things. There are also many dedicated to mental health support and ways to cope with anxiety.
Do something you’re passionate about
This one may take time. My two passions were going on a journey to have our second son and traveling. Immersing myself into trying to have a baby while sure it gave me plenty of anxiety at times, it allowed me to put my energy constructively. I had a purpose during that time. And a great one at that.
Traveling is a passion of mine as you can see in this blog. It heals and nurtures my soul I say. I love everything about it. It makes me feel GOOD. I honest to God believe our Italy trip is what made me finally get pregnant. So find the passions that feed your soul that you need.
Now, sure passions and hobbies can overlap but the differentiator is that hobbies are a bit more light hearted. Think book clubs, knitting, writing, cooking. Then I want you to take it to the next level.
If you love cooking, make a recipe book! Be as creative or as fancy as you want. Design a cover, turn it into an e-book. If you love writing, start a blog! If you love crafting, start a FB page sell it to your friends and family.
Maybe not. Maybe you just want a no pressure time to read good books and drink wine and that’s perfectly okay too. Everyone is unique in their ways to cope with anxiety.
Change the Narrative
My therapist says this to me ALL the time. Yes once you see a therapist you may be one of those people that says my therapist says, lol. Okay I partially kid about that.
But what change the narrative means to change your thought process. Instead of saying omg I’m a terrible mom, I yelled way too much today. I should have been more patient. Say okay today was a really hard day but my children are healthy, happy and I am doing the best I can. Tomorrow will be a new day to work on less yelling.
It’s not easy. I work on this every single day. I promise you it has turned my thought process around and allowed me to manage my anxiety before it spirals out of control again.
The combination of these five ways to cope with anxiety proactively will I promise help you manage it. Remember you are not alone. And lastly remember to ALWAYS give yourself grace.