Ok so I know that phrase, “It’s ok to not be ok” is trending, but what does it really mean? For me, it means that it’s ok to admit that I can’t do it alone anymore. It’s ok for me to get help with depression and anxiety. The more I talk about it, the more I realize how many other moms with depression and anxiety there are.
I’ve struggled off and on with depression and anxiety since I was a teenager. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you probably already know this. It wasn’t until the past few years, that I accepted that it’s ok to admit it though. I spent so many years wanting to help others escape the pain of depression and anxiety, but I didn’t fully face my own issues until recently.
What that looked like for me was admitting that even though I had a Master’s degree in counseling, it was still ok to need counseling myself. For so many years, I found excuses for avoiding it. I have probably made every excuse in the book.
My Excuses Were:
It costs too much.
What if someone finds out?
There aren’t any counselors that I don’t already know.
What if they think I’m crazy?
I don’t have enough time.
What if I don’t like them?
I don’t need to pay someone to tell me to do what I already know I need to do.
But let me tell you this, now that I have found a counselor that I really like and the right combination of medicine, my only regret is not starting it sooner. A friend recently said that she wished when she had her first child that someone had pushed her a little harder to start antidepressant medication. Now that she’s on it, she can see how much it’s helping her.
Another friend said that once she started taking anti-depressants she thought, “Wow, is this how good everyone else feels? I had no idea how depressed I was before!”
Moms with depression can feel too overwhelmed to get help.
I know how hard it is to get yourself out of bed some days. Making yourself go through the motions to get your kids to school and make sure your house doesn’t burn down can be exhausting to any mom. Add depression to the mix, and it can feel almost impossible. So I get why reaching out for help can be the last thing you want to do. I promise it will be worth it.
Depression and anxiety can also make you think you’re a bad mom. If you’re already feeling worthless and hopeless, having kids who seem to never be satisfied can make you feel like you’re never enough. For some strange reason, there is a societal pressure to be super mom. We’re expected to get up at 5 am just so we can shower, wash our hair, put on a fresh face, pack our kids organic lunches, and send them off to school with bows in their hair and a smile.
If you struggle with anxiety, you already know that you second guess every decision you make. If you don’t you probably spend alot of your time comparing yourself to every other mom, wondering if you’re doing a good enough job. But I promise you, if you are keeping your kids fed and dressed (even if that means they wear pjs all day while doing virtual school), you are enough! If you’re feeling like you just can’t do it anymore though, that’s ok too.
Just because it’s ok to feel that way, to not feel ok or like you can’t provide your kids their basic needs anymore, doesn’t mean you have to suffer. Learn from my mistakes and admit defeat before you spend one more day suffering.
Reach Out For Help
If you don’t know where to begin, just try. Call your mom or call your best friend and tell them that you’re riding the struggle bus. I promise you that you are not alone.
The more you talk about how hard being a mom is, the more you will find that you aren’t the only one who struggles.
If you’re unsure, it doesn’t hurt to reach out for help either way. Even if the sadness or other emotions you’re feeling are not depression, it’s still ok to talk to a therapist. Or find a friend that you can share how you’re feeling with. If you don’t have a friend that you feel comfortable talking to, I’m always here to listen!
Make sure to share this post with other moms with depression and anxiety so they can see that they aren’t alone!
I’m coming back to my series on self-care to talk to you about why yoga is the best form of self-care for moms. After last week’s scare, I needed to go to yoga more than ever!
It’s easy to skip my weekly yoga sessions, but when I don’t go I suffer for it. Not only does my anxiety start to ramp up, but my body starts to ache in places it shouldn’t. I’m more irritable and short-fused with my kids, so my family suffers too.
All moms can benefit from yoga. Our bodies go through so much when we have babies and they need self-love to get their strength back after carrying around babies for 9 months. Our organs and ligaments are moved and stretched in ways we never thought possible when we dreamt of having babies. Yoga can help moms realign their mind, body, and soul.
I used to think that you had to be super flexible and able to sit still for long periods of time to do yoga.
I pictured a yogi standing on his head or a buddhist monk sitting in silence bowing with his hands at his heart. Although that might be the goal for some types, it’s not always true.
Moms Can Do Yoga Too
Maybe my misperception about yoga came from the fact that the first time I went to a class, I found myself staring at the teacher with a lost in space look on my face for 90% of the class.
I think that time I had picked the wrong class. There are yoga classes that are tailored more to beginners though and some don’t require much skill at all.
I love to go to Yin Yoga at my gym. According to Yogi Approved “Yin is a slow, soothing, and meditative style of yoga that targets the deep connective tissues, bones, joints, fascia, and ligaments in the body.”
You hold most poses for around 5 minutes so that you can get deeper into each pose. The biggest challenge here is not wiggling and being still. But the best part about the class I go to is the teacher reminds you that it doesn’t have to be perfect.
Just showing up is an accomplishment and there shouldn’t be any judgment for how good our bad you do each pose.
BENEFITS OF DOING YOGA
The stress we endure as moms builds up over time. If we don’t do anything about it, it can be traumatic to our bodies emotionally and physically.
Our Yin instructor constantly reminds us that we should be doing something every day to reduce some of that stress that our body is holding. It can be as simple as taking 5 minutes a day to do child’s pose and focus on taking deep breaths.
5 Benefits Of Yoga For Moms
IT HELPS WITH STRESS RELIEF
By doing deep breathing and meditating techniques during yoga, you retrain your brain to slow down. Alot of different emotions can come up in Yin Yoga. Not only are you going deeper into poses, but you are going deeper into your heart.
Sometimes I start crying without warning. The first time this happened, I thought something was wrong with me! I was so embarrassed and tried to hide my tears, but the instructor must have seen me.
She said to let whatever emotions stir up be what they are. To notice them and be aware of them, but not to judge yourself for them. It can be really cleansing!
IT LENGTHENS YOUR MUSCLES AND MAKES YOUR BODY STRONGER
Yin yoga targets lengthening and stretching your deep connective tissue. The more you do this, the more you actually slow your body’s aging process. I don’t know about you, but after having kids, I feel like my body has aged 100 years so I can use all the help I can get to restore my youth!
IT HELPS INCREASE YOUR BALANCE
You won’t do too many difficult poses that require you to stand on your head during Yin Yoga, but staying in a pose for 5 minutes is still challenging. Some people even find this type of yoga harder than other types like Ashtanga which is super fast paced.
IT HELPS CLEAR YOUR MIND
How many hundreds of things do moms have on our mind at any given time? When you go to yoga, you are encouraged to focus on the here and now.
It may take you a few moments or even a few sessions to be able to turn off the never-ending to-do list in your head, but it helps to have a quiet space with little distractions.
IT CAN BE A PLACE TO MAKE FRIENDS
If you find the right yoga studio, it can be a great place to make friends with other moms who understand the struggles of mom life. You have to get out there and try to build your village.
People who do yoga are almost always more calm for at least a few minutes afterward. You can take advantage of that and strike up a conversation with the other mom’s in the class. You could comment on your neighbor’s yoga mat or ask them where they got their yoga pants. You never know. You might connect with someone new!
Yoga may not be for everyone, but for me it’s a must. If I don’t go to yoga at least once a week, I notice a big difference in my mood and my body. I hope you’ll give it a try!
Even if there isn’t a yoga studio near you, you can find some pretty good videos online. If you just can’t find the time to do it by yourself, there is a really cute program on youtube that you can do with your kids called Cosmic Kids. My kids love it!
Make sure to share this post on social media if you liked it so that others can read it too!
Moms know that self-care is crucial to survival. Without taking care of ourselves, we end up burnt out, exhausted and short-fused.
But self-care means something different for everyone. It’s whatever makes you feel better and how you find peace in the chaos.
I rounded up 10 different mommy bloggers and asked them what self-care means to them. Here’s what they had to say:
ASK THESE QUESTIONS
Rianna Lynn writes about how her anxiety spiked after spending a day kayaking on the lake. When she realized she had to go home to all the things she had to do and go get her kids, she felt overwhelmed and exhausted.
She states, “Postpartum Anxiety and Postpartum Depression can manifest as pure exhaustion some days. Oftentimes we overlook taking care of our basic needs when we are responsible for tiny humans, so remind yourself to stop and check-in with your body and see what you need.
Have I eaten a nutritious meal recently?
Did I drink enough water today?
Am I trying to pile too many things into my day?
Have I moved my body today?
Have I been outside today?
If you can check off each of these simple self-care steps, you will feel more like a human being when your PPA/PPD is weighing on you.
Read more about her take on self-care for PPA and PPD on her blog riannalynn.com.
“I never knew that once I became a mom, my world would be turned upside down. Prior to motherhood, I was a very active, sporty person who loved to go skiing during the weekend. Needless to say, after I became a mom, this was no longer an option.
And this extends beyond ski trips. For example, if I want to go for a run or to the gym, I must find someone to look after my child. This is not always easy, especially when we don’t have family around where we live. The alternative? I opt for doing little things at home to ensure my wellness is looked after.
One of the things I love doing is yoga via Youtube. I can do this when my baby is taking her nap. Sometimes I’ll even stretch with her. She finds it amusing whenever I do a downward facing dog pose. Additionally, to care for my mental health, I started a blog! This helps me to unwind my thoughts about the many difficulties such as breastfeeding and maternity leave. I believe that self-care can be achieved as long as one puts it as a priority.”
SELF-CARE IS SACRED
Mikaela at The Messy Bun Mommy writes, “Self-care looks different on every mom. Some moms love working out, some like getting their hair and nails done, and some simply like to take long hot baths after the babies are in bed.
For me personally, self-care is just anything that I can fit into my day that is just for me. This can be a wide range of things from working out to just taking a couple extra minutes in the shower.
During self-care time it is important to remember that you cannot properly care for your children if you don’t take care of yourself. Self-care, to me, is investing in yourself so that you have the ability to share your wealth with your children.
Sometimes it is difficult to find the time, but just a few minutes a day to take a breath and bring your mind back to your body and self can help so much. Chasing babies is hard. Raising babies is hard. Don’t let your tires go flat, because then you can’t move forward.”
For me self care can be something as simple as eating your favorite candy after the baby is in bed and you can actually enjoy it without having to share with your little one. Or a really good face mask after a nice hot shower while your partner is watching the baby. It doesn’t have to be anything big really.
After all it is very important to recharge your own battery even if it is only five minutes a day. Like they always say “you can’t pour from an empty cup”.
One thing I really do enjoy a lot is getting out and for a pedicure once a month. That is self-care and well deserved alone time combined. A pedicure is a great thing to do with a friend too if you prefer that.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEALTH FIRST
Hannah Denison is starting to get back into the self-care routine as a new mom. Here’s what she had to say about how:
“Self-care is so necessary. As a first time mum it took a step on the back burner for me. My daughter is now a little over 19 months and I’m getting back into finding out what self-care means to me. At 19 months, we finally have her routine down. I know she will take an afternoon nap, around an hour long, and go to bed at 6:30 pm. She usually gets a solid 12 hours.
Now in the evening, I find myself with time for self-care. For me self-care starts with my health and eating right. At night I meal prep to make sure I’m eating right everyday with how busy it can get running around after a toddler. One thing I make every night is over night oats which have many health benefits and even can help with milk production . This is very important to me as I continue to breastfeed.
My favorite part of self care though is making myself feel and look good. Just last week I painted my nails for the first time in months and I had forgotten how good it felt to feel more put together. I even had a mum friend compliment me on my nails the next day which felt great!
I also do face masks a few times in the week. I love the feeling of my skin after a face mask and taking the time during them to relax. I definitely neglected these things whilst finding my footing as a new mum, but am glad to be practicing self care more regularly now as I find my rhythm as a mum.”
Monica at Just Being Monica juggles two jobs as well as her job as a mom. She shared these tips on how she makes it work:
Self-care means putting myself first so I can be around for a long time to watch my daughter grow up.
With kids, work and everything else, life can get hectic very quickly. I’m aware of the time and take frequent breaks going for walks, taking a few deep breaths, stretching my body.
Taking care of myself is essential to ensure I can be a better mother to my little one, look after my furbabies and excel in my two jobs.
I focus on my wellbeing, and these are a few things I try to do:
Don’t take too much on. Learn to say NO.
Sleep well. The body and brain need it.
Eat healthy food.
Don’t stress about what I can’t control.
Concentrate on solutions, not problems.
Exercise daily. It gives me more energy.
Read a book. Reading is excellent for the mind and the soul.
Meditate. It quiets the mind and reduces anxiety and stress.
Spend quality time with my daughter and dogs.
Get help when I need it.
REFILL YOUR BATTERY
My name is Karissa, a boy mama and blogger at FitMommyStrong, I help new & expecting moms prepare for postpartum/life after birth day!
Personally self-care to me means getting ANY kind of alone time for yourself that will allow you to refill your battery for the day. As a toddler mama, this usually comes in short spurts throughout the day such as 1-hr nap time = 30 mins nap for myself and then knocking out some chores.
I also try to schedule myself time throughout the month on days my husband is home where I can simply get out of the house alone. Whether it’s to run errands, get a haircut, etc…I truly think it’s individually based. I’m very introverted, so I tend to go for more introverted activities if that makes sense 🙂 Regardless, refill those cups mama – you deserve it!
AVOID THE RINSE & REPEAT CYCLE
Jody at Solid Parent knows how important self-care is. Here’s what she had to say:
“As a mother who works full time and raises three kids, I find that self-care is the most important part of my week. Too many times I have found myself trapped in what I call the rinse and repeat cycle. I cook, I clean, I help with homework, I read books, I play make-believe and I work. If I don’t take time for myself, I get down and out and depressed.
My go-to self-care routine is taking a nice hot bath, surrounded by scented candles and soft music in the background. After the bath, I like to put on a guided meditation. One that is rooted in gratitude and abundance. I enjoy just sitting quietly, without any interruptions.
My second favorite self-care trick is to make a plan with a couple of friends to go out and listen to live music. I love to dance and I love live music. This is not something I get to do weekly, but I do try for it every couple of weeks to once a month. It makes me feel like Jody for a moment, instead of wife or mother.
When I don’t take time for myself, my whole family suffers. They need me to be at my best, so I can rise them up as well!”
SCHEDULE IT IN
Hi, I’m Jenn, and I write at healthyhappyimpactful.com! I’ve got three kids ages 8,5, and 1. After my second child, I realized that self-care was something I had to fight for if I wanted a happy life.
As a mom, we put everyone else first, but often put ourselves on the back burner. This was leading to a lot of stress and anxiety.
So, now I schedule, schedule, schedule. Time with friends. Morning exercise and meditation. Even the little things like taking a bath on Wednesday nights are in there. You have to make it a priority!
She writes, “Self-care, to me is about allowing myself a bit of extra time in the morning before my toddler wakes up for the day. So that I can get in some breathing space, a hot coffee, and maybe a quick yoga practice.
Self-care activities in my world are small but performed often. It’s breathing exercises in the car or mini foot massages while I read my daughter a story. It’s taking time to notice how my body feels and what I’m really needing to nourish it in that moment.
The ultimate act of self-care to me is slowing down and accepting when you need that extra bit of time and giving yourself that breathing room.
I’d encourage every mother to reframe the way they think about self-care as a necessity instead of a luxury. The more we take care of ourselves, the better placed we are to take care of our children.”
Even though they all have a different idea about what taking care of themselves means, these moms all know how important it is. Make sure to check out their blogs to read more about how they survive the challenges of motherhood!
Inside: One mom shares her personal struggle with managing holiday stress and offers 4 tips that can help.
December is here and so is the stress of the holiday season. For me it started on Thanksgiving and has only gotten worse since then. Now that Christmas is only 2 weeks away, I’m starting to really feel overwhelmed.
But why? Why do I do this to myself every single year? Last year, I made a conscious decision to say, “No” to more and decided not to do Christmas cards. As much as I love giving and receiving real mail, it’s just one more thing to do during such a busy time of the year.
I felt guilty when I started receiving cards from others though. I also regretted not sending them out to family that lives far away and looks forward to getting them from us.
So this year, I drug my family through the process of getting professional photos taken and I put myself through the unnecessary stress of trying to design the perfect card. Now I still have to find time to send them out and hope I can do it before the holidays are over!
The stress we feel during the holidays comes from so many different places and much of it is from the little things that add up. It’s not just from the extra gatherings we attend during this time of year and all of the gifts we run around searching for.
We also have to figure out what to wear to the parties, how we’ll get there, what we’ll bring with us. If we’re bringing food we have to shop for the ingredients and then find the time to bake or cook the food.
THEN, once you’re at the event, some people have added stress about what they can eat or how they are going to refrain from eating too much.
Add to the list the regular everyday stressors of life like paying your bills and keeping your house clean. For moms, we also have to take care of our kids and make sure we aren’t neglecting them. Otherwise, they start to act out for our attention which causes even more stress.
If you’re like me and have even one birthday in your family in December (we have 3), then you can forget a moment of downtime.
All of this leads to the perfect storm. You have an idea in your head of the perfect Christmas that you want to provide for your family, but it never goes that way. If you’re already feeling stressed, when one little thing goes wrong you feel like you just can’t handle it.
Lost in Transit
For example, I bought my husband, whose birthday is December 7th, the birthday gift he really wanted online in early November. I thought I was getting a head start, but come to find out everyone else wanted the same thing. So the shipping status said that it would arrive on Dec. 5th.
I thought it would be cutting it close, and started to get him something else instead. I decided it was worth the wait though, because I knew it was what he really wanted. Well, Dec. 5th came and the package didn’t. Apparently, it got hung up on Black Friday somewhere in Norcross, GA (which is ironically the next town over).
I was able to get a replacement sent, but it won’t be here until AFTER Christmas, in January!!!!
Luckily, I had already ordered a vest that he wanted on Black Friday and was going to give it to him for Christmas. So I was able to give him that for his birthday instead. Except that when I took it out of the box to wrap it, it was the wrong size.
The company that I bought it from doesn’t do exchanges, but I could return the item for free and order another one. So I ordered another one with expedited shipping. But guess what my mom brain did…….ordered the wrong size…..AGAIN!!!
I know what you’re thinking, why didn’t you just cancel the order? Well I couldn’t. The store didn’t have any available customer service reps working on Saturdays and they don’t allow cancellations for online orders. Not only could I not exchange the wrong sized vest again, I also couldn’t cancel the order. The guy at the Fed-Ex counter at Staples is going to know me on a first name basis by the end of this.
I knew what I had done immediately after I pressed the order button, but it was too late. Something that wouldn’t normally be a big deal, caused me to break down in tears. Because I was already feeling stressed by all of the other things piling up.
The reality is, we can’t control all of these things. Not only are they out of our control, but stressing about them takes away from the real reason we celebrate holidays anyway.
So, I did what any girl would do in this situation. I let out a loud scream and pounded my head on the steering wheel. And then I drove my car to DSW and got some new shoes.
Before I did that, I took a few minutes to write in my journal. When I was writing, I realized that I can’t let all of these little things get me down.
I need to focus on what really matters. When I start to feel stressed by the holiday mayhem, I’m going to take a deep breath and remember what Christmas is all about. It’s about the birth of our Savior, Jesus!
Here are some other ways I’m MANAGING HOLIDAY STRESS:
I’m also trying to set boundaries and working on saying NO. It’s ok if we can’t go to every holiday party we’re invited to. We might miss something fun and the fear of missing out is hard. But filling every minute of your family’s time isn’t healthy.
Letting Go Of Being Perfect
It’s ok if every day isn’t perfect and I don’t have the perfect gift for every person on my list. What really matters is the spirit of giving and the thought that goes into it.
We don’t have to have the perfect Christmas tree with the fullest branches. And it doesn’t have to look perfect when the decorations are put on.
Before I had kids, I used to think each strand of lights had to be equal distance apart and the ornaments all had to be color coordinated.
I’ve had to let go of that, because decorating the tree with my kids is a tradition my family looks forward to. If I’m trying to boss everyone around and control where they put each ornament, that takes the fun out of it for everyone.
Putting Down My Device
I’m putting down my device so that I can just BE with my family and enjoy spending time with them. My kids will only be this little for a few more years. Eventually, they’re going to grow up and move out. They’ll have their own families and I may not get to see them as much over the holidays.
Although, my 5-year-old says he wants to live with me forever. So there’s a chance he’ll be living in our basement at 35.
Remembering To Breathe
I’m taking time to breathe and making sure that I’m going to yoga even when I have a million other things to do. I’m taking a few minutes to pause in the car before running into the store to get the crucial ingredient I need to make the special Christmas recipe.
Here are some other ways I practice self-care. As a mom, it’s so important that we don’t forget about our own needs so that we can stay strong enough to be there for our families.
I’m taking time to pray and asking God to help me remember why we celebrate. I’m asking for his help, because I know that I can’t do it all on my own.
And next year, I’m not sending Christmas cards! Who am I kidding, I probably will. But that’s ok. If I learn anything, next year I’ll make the cards in September when there aren’t any birthdays in our family.
This Christmas, I hope you’re able to take time to enjoy the traditions your family has while avoiding some of the holiday mayhem!
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I always thought being a stay-at-home-mom was the easiest job you could ever have.
I remember talking to a friend who had two kids who didn’t work outside the home. Anytime I’d ask how she was doing, she’d say how busy she was. Then she’d go into all the things she was doing with her kids- running them around town, trying to cook her family healthy dinners, helping them with their homework, and then at some point I’d tune out.
I’d think to myself,
“How could she be so busy? She has the life any mom would dream of!”
Then after I had my 2nd kid, I decided that going to work full-time and having to pay to put two in daycare just didn’t make sense anymore. Kuddos to those out there that do it. I’m not judging you!
It just didn’t work for our family. I wasn’t feeling rewarded enough in my corporate job for it to be worth it for me. So we decided to take our 2 year old at the time out of day care and that I would stay home with our 2 boys.
Never in my life have I had a harder job before.
I’ve had some pretty tough jobs. Like when I worked as a counselor in inner city Atlanta. I went into peoples homes and taught parents ways to deal with their child’s behavioral issues while fearing for my safety as I heard gunshots outside.
I also worked at a psych hospital where I saw people in full blown psychosis. My job was to convince them to stay in the hospital for a few days so that a doctor could adjust their medication. But first I had to get them past the fact that they thought Jesus was going to come save them from the fires of satan that they felt burning inside of them.
Neither of these jobs were as hard as being a stay-at-home-mom.
Being a mom is a hard job period.
Whether you work full time outside the home, work part-time, or you’re a full time stay-at-home mom. It’s just hard. I’ve done all 3 and I have to say that now I get why my friend was always so busy and exhausted.
The days are long.
As a stay-at-home mom, sometimes it feels like you wake up in the morning and all you can think about is how much longer it is until your husband comes home from work so you can get some relief. Then you realize that it’s only 10 am. The fact that your kids are already on their second breakfast and their fourteenth fight, makes it feel like the day’s never going to end.
The highlight of your day is when you get to see your mom friends at the playground. Even though you won’t get to actually complete a sentence in your conversations.
At the end of the day, I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to quit my job and be at home with my boys while they were little. I wouldn’t take that time back for anything and I hope that one day they’ll appreciate it too.
Now that both of my kids are in school full time, I’ve gone back to work part-time. It’s been a good balance for me, because I still get afternoons with my boys. Right now I have Fridays off and I can spend them doing whatever I want.
Self-care is important!
Usually for me that means going to the gym, running errands, catching up on laundry, and volunteering at my kids’ school. But sometimes I actually do things that help me feel recharged. Sometimes I go to lunch with friends, do yoga, spend time writing, or just relax doing nothing.
I wouldn’t be able to survive mommy-hood if I didn’t take time to take care of myself and accept help from others.
I really struggled with this at first, but I’ve gotten better and now I know that it’s a must. Sometimes it means asking my mom to babysit so my husband and I can have a date night. Sometimes it’s as simple as letting my husband cook dinner (or order pizza) so I can have a night off.
I have to allow myself a break so that I can be a better mom when I’m back in it. Even if it means letting the laundry pile turn into more of a mountain and the dishes overflow in the sink so that I can go get a massage on my day off.
I hope you find what helps you recharge and that you’ll ask for help when you need it. I also hope that I can give you some tips to make being a mom a little easier.
Let me know in the comments what your favorite ways to take care of yourself are.