In the past, I have talked a lot about my debilitating anxiety. Now that I am a mom, it doesn’t mean my anxiety has magically disappeared. (Actually, in some ways, it has intensified since becoming a mom.) When I started therapy about a year ago, I had high hopes that I would somehow be “cured” and with enough hard work and practice, I might get over this condition that has plagued me for years.
I am a person living with generalized anxiety disorder. It has been very difficult for me admit that to myself. Anxiety is something that will always be a part of my life, but I am now much better equipped to manage it. I can even talk myself out of most panic attacks. Therapy and more specifically cognitive behavioral therapy has helped me in so many ways! I have a better understanding of my triggers and what gets my anxious juices flowing.
I am still learning and trying to shift my perspective to better handle my reactions to anxiety-provoking situations. I am constantly looking for ways to combat the fatigue and exhaustion that results from high anxiety.
Here are some strategies I have discussed with my therapist that I use for coping with exhaustion brought on by anxiety.
Get things done when you are motivated.
With anxiety, I experience periods of energized busyness and periods of mental and physical burn out. Instead of looking at my to-do list during the exhausted moments and freaking out more, I put the list away for a day/time when I have energy. Then, when I am feeling good, I try and get things done then. I don’t go crazy trying to complete everything at once, but it feels good when I check a few things off my list. This strategy helps me avoid the utter exhaustion I was feeling by trying to push through my fatigue.
Space out anxiety-provoking events/exposures.
I recently learned this lesson the hard way. Do not try and do ALL the things at once. When I’m feeling confident and upbeat, I tend to think I can do everything, including taking on my biggest fears. Not surprisingly, this mentality has caused major anxiety burn out. It results in needing a great deal of down time to feel back to normal. I feel guilty for feeling so tired around my daughter. Parenting is a 24/7 job, and when I’m just phoning it in, I feel even worse. I try and give myself a few days or even a week between high anxiety situations whenever possible. I realize that this type of scheduling is not always within my control. But, when possible, I work on balancing my schedule as best as I can.
Schedule time for self-care and/or doing something that fuels you.
Believe it or not, blogging has re-ignited a passion in me that I thought I had lost or become too busy as a new mom to entertain. It is something I do for myself. I wrote about self-care recently in this post. I talk about self-care all the time, but I truly believe there is something to be said about being kind to yourself. It isn’t just about physical upkeep, but also mental upkeep. Check in with yourself constantly and remind yourself of what an amazing job you are doing.
Take small breaks from social media.
I’m not talking about days on end, so don’t panic. A few hours or a morning/afternoon/evening away from social media can do wonders. Social media can suck the life right out of me. I can spend hours scanning my Instagram popular feed before bed as my evening guilty pleasure. Stepping back and resting my eyes helps reduce that drained feeling.
open communication with your partner and let them know when you need
I’m not sure if I’ve talked about it here, but grocery shopping is the bane of my existence. It stresses me out. When I had a lot of anxiety, it was pretty much impossible for me to even enter a grocery store without feeling panicky. I’m better now, but it is still one of those things that haunts me. L and I have tried to be very open and honest when dividing up household tasks. So he does the grocery shopping. While it might be a traditional task for a stay-at-home mom, this is what works for us, and grocery shopping is one less thing for me to worry about. Talk to your partner if you are feeling overloaded. Make sure they know your triggers.
I hope this helps my fellow anxiety sufferers!
To read about how this all started see: My Truth: I Have Anxiety.