Motherhood

Reduce Your Anxiety With This Simple Strategy

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Before you do anything else, try this!

Have you ever paid attention to the correlation between your anxiety, and your appetite?

Fact: Hunger INCREASES anxiety. And so does caffeine!

If you want to get a head start on managing your anxiety for the day, considering trying to eat something before that first cup of coffee, and definitely don’t skip breakfast altogether.

So many people I know, particularly mothers, don’t eat breakfast; and the reason is: “I’m too busy!” Well I’m here to tell you that YOU are worth prioritizing. When you don’t make time for yourself and your basic needs, you’re not the only one who suffers - your family does too. Your basic needs need to be met (ie. hunger), in order to set yourself up for tackling symptoms of anxiety, anger, rage, and anything else that comes your way.

When you take the time for yourself, you are better equipped to handle the stressors of motherhood, it really is that simple. Once your basic needs have been met, you open up the ability for managing the residual symptoms of your anxiety, and maybe even further exploration of what is at the root of it, to lead you towards long-term healing.

Alongside from starting your day with ensuring that your basic need of satisfying hunger has been met, the other times that you notice your anxiety amping up please check in with yourself and consider when the last time you ate was. A simple tool for decreasing symptoms of anxiety is making sure you are getting enough to eat.

Blood Sugar Levels

Blood Sugar Levels

Guest Contribution from Laurel Berube, Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant:

The age old "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" is very true, particularly for those that experience any symptoms of peri-natal mood or anxiety disorders.

Blood sugar is one of the aspects that affects our brain and moods. It has the ability to keep us level headed clear thinking and happiness. Or it can swing your moods, make you angry, irritable and physically lightheaded or ill feeling.

Stable blood sugar means it does not swing from high to low throughout the day. You won't get bursts of energy and then a crash. Cravings are less so you won't be reaching for those unhealthy foods.

This image shows you what happens to your blood sugar throughout the day. We eat, we get a surge, it drops, we eat, repeat.
What would that look like if you took one of those meals out? The drop would be far greater leaving you exhausted and irritable. Skipping breakfast starts the day off really low!

Our brain needs carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats to function properly. Eating a healthy breakfast can seem like a huge task, but without it, your brain is starving for the nutrients it needs.

Whatever you eat in the morning, make it healthy and make it fast. Those mornings can zip by so fast and all we make time for is a coffee or tea and by the time we wonder why we are so cranky it's 2 hours later and haven't eaten anything. It's also likely that you haven't even had a drink of water. Before you even drink that coffee, drink a large glass of water and have something to eat.

- Laurel Berube, CHNC

www.laurelberube.ca

What more information on how to eat to help your moods? Sign up for Laurel Berube, CHNC newsletter & Get a FREE 3 Day Energy Boosting Meal Plan for Moms.

Disclosure: This is ONE strategy to help you decrease your anxiety, and you will likely need to use other tools and support to be able to manage your anxiety completely. To read more about exploring the root of anxiety, read: Dear Anxiety, I Want to Break Up With You.

Is This a topic you want to explore further? Join us for our Mini-Retreat for Mothers all about Managing Anxiety!

JEN REDDISH IS A REGISTERED MASTER THERAPEUTIC COUNSELLOR IN CALGARY, ALBERTA. JEN HOLDS WORKSHOPS, RETREATS, GROUPS & INDIVIDUAL THERAPY SESSIONS ON TOPICS PERTAINING TO MOTHERHOOD, BODY IMAGE, & THE PERI-NATAL PERIOD.

Dear Anxiety: I Want to Break Up With You.

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“Dear Anxiety,  

I want to break up with you. 

Our relationship feels toxic, because of everything you do.

I don’t want to live with you anymore. Why won’t you go away?

I don’t want to feel you anymore, and I really don’t want you to stay.

You make things way too hard for me, you always bring me down.

Sometimes I feel paralyzed by the overwhelm that you cause me, it feels like I’m going to drown.

Sometimes you creep in slowly and I don’t even notice that you’re there,

Until you are ruling over every move I make and I start feeling like your puppeteer.

Other times you storm in so fast, I feel instantly afraid,

Afraid of you and the damage that will cascade.

I’m sick of this and I want to say goodbye.

But I can’t seem to get rid of you no matter how hard I try.

Even when I catch my breath and start to calm myself down,

I know it won’t be long until I start to feel rundown.

Even the times when I’m feeling great, I know that you are still there,

And then before I know it, I feel like I am running out of air.

You seem to always be waiting for me, do you think I’m just a pushover?

There you are waiting to catch me off-guard, waiting to take over.

Anxiety, can’t you see it’s no wonder I don’t want you.

But if you’re not going anywhere, what am I going to do? “

ANXIETY:

“Don’t you know I’m trying to help? I’m here to give you guidance.

I need you to consider what it would be like if you were to give me a chance.

You keep trying to get rid of me and figure out if you can be stronger.

But each time that you push me away I have no choice but to push back harder.

Our relationship feels toxic because you won’t acknowledge why I’m here.

As long as you keep doing this, I’m going to stay near.

I really wish you’d start to see - I’m not going anywhere…

If only you would lean in towards me, listen to what I have to share.

You need to start to realize that I’m here because I care.

I think that you would learn a lot and I could help you to get stronger.

I really wish you knew that when you acknowledge me, I actually get smaller!

Of course I’m always here for you, waiting to step in,

I do this when I see you need me, when your resources are running thin.

Don’t you know I’m here to warn you? To remind you to slow down?

I think that if you could learn from me, you might not feel so rundown.

To get what you are really seeking, you don’t have to look very far.

All you really need to do is look within, to the essence of who you are.

In the meantime while all you’re doing is trying to run,

I won’t be going anywhere unless one day my job is done.

So please stop trying to break up with me, you’re really just wasting your time.

I won’t be going anywhere until you’re no longer mine.“

- Sincerely, Anxiety.

This letter to & response from Anxiety  was written to demonstrate how paralyzing the fight with anxiety can be, and how important it is to understand what purpose your anxiety is serving in order for you to find healing.

All of our emotions are wise messengers and powerful things can happen when we LEAN IN to our emotions rather than pushing them away.

Understanding our emotions is so important to be able to manage our emotions effectively and not get overwhelmed by them. Although…. sometimes our emotions are so powerful that the idea of this can feel overwhelming itself! Exploring your emotions more deeply needs to be done cautiously so that it feels manageable and doesn’t make your anxiety worse!

The first step towards managing anxiety is to learn tools to prevent the intensity from becoming debilitating. You can find my three favourite strategies here. Once you become skilled at decreasing the intensity of your anxiety is when you can begin the journey towards exploring the root of it more deeply to expand your awareness and allow opportunity for long term healing.

Getting support from a counsellor experienced in anxiety can be an extremely useful support for anyone struggling with this. There are also many other approaches to managing anxiety that can be useful either alongside counselling. Each individual experiences anxiety (and all emotions!) differently and it is important that you choose a treatment path that feels right for you.

-Jen Reddish, RTC, MTC, The Essence of You Counselling

Is This a topic you want to explore further? Join us for our Mini-Retreat for Mothers all about Managing Anxiety!

JEN REDDISH IS A REGISTERED MASTER THERAPEUTIC COUNSELLOR IN CALGARY, ALBERTA. JEN HOLDS WORKSHOPS, RETREATS, GROUPS & INDIVIDUAL THERAPY SESSIONS ON TOPICS PERTAINING TO MOTHERHOOD, BODY IMAGE, & THE PERI-NATAL PERIOD.

Mom-Guilt: Where does it come from and what can you do about it?

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Something that comes up often with my clients in my Counselling Practice is "mom guilt" - a term and a feeling that I'm sure you are familiar with! Have you thought about where this comes from? The cause of this guilt is usually mixed - sometimes it's a lack of perfection, other times it's a result of being triggered and parenting in a way that doesn't align with your values.

A lot of women struggle with self-esteem and identity issues when they become mothers and for years afterwards. If we are continually acting in ways that don't align with our values, we will continue feeling guilt and shame and we will continue having self-esteem and identity issues.

So what's the answer here?!

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I always encourage my clients to assess what is causing the guilt or shame. Have you done something imperfect and do you need to practice more self-forgiveness and compassion? Or was it more than that - have you behaved in a way that doesn't align with you values?

If the latter is so, I encourage you to STILL practice self-forgiveness and compassion, but also look a little deeper. Explore what has triggered you into behaving this way, explore what you need to do to make amends and to fill yourself up more so that you can handle your triggers in a way that feels better for you.

You matter, you are important, and if you forget this, then you can't be everything you want to be for your family!

JEN IS A COUNSELLOR AND PSYCHOTHERAPIST IN CALGARY, ALBERTA. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN BOOKING A SESSION WITH HER OR ATTENDING ONE OF HER GROUPS OR WORKSHOPS, VISIT THE ESSENCE OF YOU WEBSITE OR CONTACT JEN DIRECTLY.

 

Guest Post: Grief in the Transition into Motherhood

Guest Post by Dr Gillian Sawyer & Jen Reddish: Grief in the Transition into Motherhood

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I never even thought this was a possibility until I was sitting in a room with Jen, who you will meet below having this ah-ha moment. About 6 months after having my second baby I started to feel really anxious. I was getting frustrated easily, I was checking out often, I was becoming short with my loved ones, I was angry and overwhelmed. I really was not feeling myself. I started to wonder if postpartum anxiety was creeping in. After several weeks of feeling not good I followed my gut and sought some professional help because navigating all of these feelings seemed like a lot for me to manage on my own with 2 small kids. And I can tell you it’s one of the BEST things I’ve done. Jen and I talked about the transition into motherhood. For me transitioning into motherhood the first time coincided with losing my mom… at interestingly enough 6 months postpartum was right when I started to feel off the second time around. We talked about how some of the feelings that were coming up or that I was expressing outwardly were familiar/easy to express like anger but there was for me a whole lot of underlying grief that was bubbling up. I realized through our sessions that grief is common in transitioning into motherhood for so many women, even if you haven’t lost a loved one.

Read on mamas, Here is Jen Reddish from The Essence of You Counselling in #YYC. Jen is one of the Women’s Health Experts that is interviewed in #YourBodyAfterBaby Program.

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One significant aspect of the transition into motherhood that is often overlooked is grief. You might be wondering, what does grief have to do with becoming a mother? – This is not something commonly discussed, but there are so many things that a woman must grieve as she enters into the post-partum period.
Grief occurs whenever you experience change, because with every change comes loss. Every woman experiences a multitude of changes as she enters into motherhood, and therefore, she has a lot to grieve. Just to name a few of these changes:
Relationships, day to day activities, thoughts, plans & decisions, our bodies, hormones and emotions.  And we are also grieving what our lives used to look like, we are grieving the loss of our former selves, our independence, and often we are grieving the loss of what we wanted/planned for our birth experience & transition into the post-partum period. During pregnancy you probably had thought a lot about what your birth would look like and what it would be like once you had your baby, and the reality doesn’t always meet these expectations, so you need to grieve the loss of what you had wanted and expected.
What grief can look like in the post-partum period:
  • Noticing frustration or anger coming out more frequently in daily tasks and interactions
  • Feeling angry or resentful towards your partner for being able to live their life more freely
  • Feeling anxious or overwhelmed with how much has changed in your life
  • Trying to live life the same as it was before baby, wishing that things were different or wondering when things will change again/get easier or more manageable
  • Feeling disconnected from your sense of self and who you are
  • Feeling isolated and alone
  • Avoidance of emotions
  • Acting as if everything is okay and normal, despite struggles that you are experiencing
You might notice that the above list resembles traits of post-partum depression and post-partum anxiety. While it is possible to experience some of these without having post-partum depression or anxiety, it is also common for there to be overlap with these. If you are experiencing any of the above, it might be worthwhile exploring this further with a counsellor or other mental health professional to get support.

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Mama’s again, I can’t stress enough the importance of your Mental Health Postpartum. To have access to the video interview with Jen and myself in my upcoming program #YourBodyAfterBaby you can still join the waitlist. The program releases June 27th and will guide you through all things postpartum. I hope you’ll join us!

 

xo

 

Dr. Gillian