I’ve struggled with general anxiety for as long as I can remember. It’s one of those things that no one can see unless you let them, and that was me - “perfect” on the outside, but internally quite messy. Until I finally started a daily meditation practice after years of starting and stopping because of a podcast recommendation from a friend, called 10% Happier (https://www.tenpercent.com/podcast). Dan Harris and his podcast helped me to understand that I wasn’t doing it wrong if my mind was constantly in thought - that that’s exactly the point, to recognize it and start again. Even if it means doing so every 30 seconds! Seems silly, but bringing my mind back to the breath over and over and OVER again for 10 minutes each day has significantly reduced my feelings of anxiety, and generally made me a more calm individual on the inside.
Move Your Body, Even If It’s Just a Little
I have been active throughout my whole life, and used to apply my "type A-ness" to work outs - if I didn’t sweat or wasn’t completely out of breath by the end of it, I hadn’t really worked out. But once I had my first child, I had a hard time fitting in the hour long boutique fitness class several times a week. So I rejiggered my schedule to ensure that I could get my daughter ready for daycare each day, and started working out 20 minutes in the morning.. well most days. It’s not always the most glamorous or hardest of work outs, but even going for a 20 minute walk I can feel the benefits.
Get 7-8 Hours of Sleep Each Night
Trust me, I know this is hard for all you new moms out there, but once you’re through the worst of the newborn phase, getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night is a life saver. Not only has it been found to reduce health risks such as high blood pressure and stress, but I just feel better when my body is rested and ready to start the next day fresh. If you can keep your sleep schedule consistent to the same time every day, even on the weekends, even better and you’re a rock star for it!
Give Yourself Permission for “Me” Time
This is critical to my happiness levels, so that I can be a better mom and wife each day. Take the time, even if it’s one hour on a Saturday to go to a yoga class, to give yourself something that makes you feel good. This has been especially critical for me as I stepped into motherhood, as it’s so easy for us moms to feel guilty if we are away from our kids, especially when we work all week on top of it. But I know that I am more present and a better mom when I am with her if I do something on the weekend just for me.
Treat ‘Yo Self
Along those lines, give yourself a break and have that glass of wine or some ice cream every once and awhile! Just be sure to pair #2 and #5 together, and no harm no foul :).