Are you a mom who struggles with anxiety?
When you’re feeling overwhelmed and at your wit’s end, do you yell at your kids? Maybe when you’ve had a particularly long and exhausting day, you snap at your partner. Do you find yourself repeating a cycle of rage, apologize, repeat, especially with the people closest to you? If you’re like me, you end up beating yourself up and punishing yourself after you lose your sh*t, vowing to keep it together, remain calmer, respond differently the next time, only to lose it again the next day (or let’s be real, sometimes by bath time that same stinking day). I’m a therapist who provides anxiety counseling for moms and I still struggle with this.
This time of year is full of articles, posts and conversations about New Year’s Resolutions. I cringe when I read things like “New Year, New You”- in my opinion you and I are just fine the way we are. I’m all about personal growth and making positive changes to become the best versions of ourselves, but I reject the societal pressure to believe we’re not thin enough, youthful enough, zen enough or organized enough and therefore need to completely change who we are just to fit in. Instead, this year, I’m going to focus on intentionally shifting my mindset and attitude as a mom who struggles with anxiety. I don’t want to throw out all the work I’ve done on myself thus far. I want to learn from it, honor it and keep growing into an even better, healthier, more self aware version of myself. Will you join me?
Intentions to manage my anxiety in the New Year
I will stop constantly comparing myself to others.
- Filter my social media feeds. Unfollow, block accounts that make me feel agitated, unworthy or less than.
- Genuinely share in and celebrate the accomplishments of others. Resist the temptation to compare myself or my family’s circumstances to theirs.
- Name something I’m proud of each day. Even if it’s just not losing my temper trying to get my kids out the door in the morning.
I’m going to pay attention to what I’m thinking about myself, and make an effort to be kinder and gentler when my inner critic gets loud.
- Think about the judgement I’m having towards myself. I will then consider how I might respond to or encourage one of my children, or a friend, under similar circumstances.
- Come up with a counter statement or a positive reframe to the negative thought or feeling I’m having about myself.
- Refocus my attention on something I am proud of or satisfied with about myself.
In an effort to reduce my cycle of reactivity and regret, I will notice when I’m feeling anxious or overwhelmed and will try to identify what I need and how to get it.
- Take a breath and remember being late is not the end of the world. We will get where we need to be eventually.
- When my messy house overwhelms me, I will pick one task to start with and remember every little bit helps.
- Remember that my kids are still learning how to cope with big feelings. Raising my voice in response to them is not going to help them (or me) feel better.
When I mess up, I will acknowledge it, apologize if necessary and move forward with increased awareness and intention to handle things differently in the future.
- Notice when I’m beating myself, blaming myself or judging myself for something I said or didn’t say. Either try to fix it, or give myself a break and move on.
- Take people at their word when they say they forgive me, and try to forgive myself too.
I will try to offer others (even and especially my partner and children) the same compassion and kindness I’m trying to offer myself.
- Communicate my hopes, expectations and needs clearly and often.
- Be curious, rational and ask open ended questions rather than lodging complaints or accusations.
- Assume, in most circumstances, others are not acting in ways to cause me stress or pain on purpose.
Those are the commitments I’m making to myself. I hope they’ll help me regain control over how my anxiety affects my ability to parent my kids in ways that align with my values. Your intentions for this year may look different than mine and that’s okay too. Whatever goals or intentions you set for yourself, I wish you insight, awareness and growth.
Are you a mom in need of anxiety counseling?
If the idea of getting your reactivity and anxiety under control by yourself feels overwhelming, counseling for anxiety can help. Anne Russey Counseling offers anxiety treatment in Katy, Texas, and throughout the state of Texas via telehealth. In addition to anxiety counseling, I provide counseling for moms, postpartum anxiety treatment, postpartum depression treatment and LGBT affirming counseling. Getting help does not have to be hard.
- Schedule a free consultation or initial appointment by phone, e-mail or online.
- Start counseling, learn skills to manage your anxiety and feel more in control over how anxiety affects your life.