Worrying comes with the territory of being a mom. We are all too familiar with those anxious voices within our heads questioning if we are doing everything right.
“Are my kids OK?”
“Could I be doing more?”
“Am I doing enough?!”
I refer to this as the “Anxious Mom Mind.''
Most of the time our Anxious Mom Minds are manageable, controllable and even helpful. Anxiety is a natural occurrence and motivates us to take care of business. It’s that anxiety that might have kicked you into high gear during this pandemic. Maybe you made homemade masks, or stocked your fridge or gave up on your West Elm dining room to create in instant homeschool. Globally, anxiety is more prevalent than ever. These unique circumstances create a perfect storm for the Anxious Mom Mind to be more vulnerable, activate more intensely and create more misleading negative thoughts. Heightened anxiety brought on by stress or constant worry can lead to feelings of sadness, self loathing and even anger.
Here are a few mindfulness exercises to tame and calm your “Anxious Mom Mind” when the world gets too heavy and your anxiety peaks.
- Use your 5 senses Take a second and look around. Literally look in the space where you are at this moment. Check out your physical surroundings. What do you see, smell, feel, hear and taste? Can you hear anything like your kids playing, is there music, can you hear the birds outside? Take this moment and go through all of your 5 senses like a checklist. This is a simple and quick technique that will quiet the Anxious Mom Mind and bring you to the present space and ground you.
- Unplug from the News Cycle It's responsible and appropriate during this global crisis to be up to date on the news. Stay informed but limit your exposure by only checking your news feeds 1-2 times a day. Scrolling obsessively, reading the countless heartbreaking stories and exposing yourself to too much, is too much for the Anxious Mom Mind. Continue to be compassionate to others, keeping your finger on the pulse of the current COVID climate but also know your limits to protect yourself.
- Practice Self Acceptance and Self Compassion You are not your thoughts. Positive self talk and self acceptance can act as a “Mr. Clean Magic Eraser” to the Anxious Mom Mind’s mess. Reminding yourself that you are doing the best you in these trying times helps wipe away the unwanted marks and negative words. Accept yourself for who you are, in this moment fades out the Anxious Mom Mind. Show yourself compassion and understanding. These times are bonkers, there is no denying that, and during this time you’ve probably given your kids a decent home education, hot meals and love. Accept that you are and have done your best under these circumstances.
- Indulge in your own unique self care & self soothing activities What makes YOU feel good? Cooking a great meal? Yoga? Watching reality TV? There is no judgement here. Pick a positive coping mechanism to soothe yourself when the Anxious Mom Mind fogs up your brain. Use that essential oil or take that nap when you need it. Do something each day just for you. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. It could be as simple as a few extra minutes in the warm shower or sharing a funny meme with your friends.
- Hug your babies, even if they’re no longer babies Science has proved that hugs can have a measurable impact on mood and stress. Hugging your children is the easiest way to instantly improve your and their well being. During these times of social distancing, let’s embrace the loved ones that are within our arms reach.
Mandatory shutdowns, school closures and COVID-19 fears can elevate and activate your Anxious Mom Mind’s negative thoughts. I hope by referring to these 5 steps, you can help manage these thoughts and improve your mood and well being. Professional help and support is always available.
Mandy S. Chuey is a local Licensed Clinical Social Worker and psychotherapist. She is currently offering teletherapy services. Mandy is also a local mom, Girl Scout Leader and previous Macaroni Kid Carlsbad assistant publisher.
Contact Mandy at email@example.com