The ultimate list of how to quickly deal with anxiety as a working momJul 15, 2019
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This post will benefit you if you are a working mom struggling with how to manage your overwhelming feelings of anxiety.
Just breathe. Think positively. Relax.
These are phrases many working moms try to tell themselves (or hear from others) when they are feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Not to be dramatic, but for those who have never experienced full-on anxiety, they just don’t get it. Anxiety can be difficult to describe to others and can quickly take over your life.
Like so many others, I’ve struggled with anxiety since my early 20s. There have been times when I’ve been able to keep it under control and others when I feel lost and worried (about being worried). I’m writing this particular post for two reasons.
- Anxiety as a working mom is very real for many. And when those feelings come on quickly, it can be hard to know what to do at that moment.
- Others, who don’t struggle with anxiety, aren’t sure how to help a friend who is.
While this is not an easy topic to discuss, we must. There are way too many working moms suffering alone and in silence. They fear saying something to their spouse, friends, family, and even a doctor. I want to open up the conversation—normalize it if you will—so more working moms understand there are ways to get help (and help themselves).
While I still sometimes struggle with anxiety I’ve been able to find ways to better manage it. Becoming educated and aware were my first steps. While I have a few methods that work for me, I wanted to hear what others had to say about dealing with overwhelm and anxiety as a working mom. I asked a group of moms and received over 60 responses! It was incredibly encouraging that so many women opened up working mom anxiety (and what to do about it).
So, here’s the ultimate list of ways to help with anxiety as a working mom. See which ones resonate with you and try them. I hope that you start to feel some relief and realize it’s okay to talk about it.
20 ways to help with anxiety as a working mom (as recommended by other working moms)
Full disclosure: I am not a medical professional and have not tried all of these recommendations. You should consult with a medical professional if you have questions or concerns.
1. Carve out time for yourself to exercise
Find a gym or studio that offers childcare, so you aren’t trying to work out at home with your kids around. Exercise helps significantly with anxiety because, among other reasons, it releases endorphins (the chemical that makes you feel good). If you can’t get to a gym with childcare, it’s perfectly fine to exercise at home. The point is if you struggle with anxiety and are feeling overwhelmed, working up a sweat can help.
2. Talk to a therapist or counselor
Did you know some therapists and counselors focus solely on helping with anxiety? They can offer techniques to stop an anxiety attack from coming on and create a plan specific to your anxiety as a working mom. Sometimes your insurance will even pay for this, so check into it and find a therapist or counselor near you.
3. Stick to a routine
There’s something to be said about knowing what’s coming next. But often what causes anxiety is not being able to plan. While there will always be times when you’ll need to drop your routine for a day, using one 80% of the time can help reduce working mom anxiety. An excellent resource for sticking to a routine and staying productive is the BestSelf journal. It has done wonders in helping me with gratitude and planning out my day.
4. Talk to your doctor about medication
If you need medication for anxiety please do not feel ashamed. If you’re able to find a natural remedy that works well for you, that’s fantastic. But if you need the help of medication while you’re figuring it all out, by all means, talk openly and honestly with your doctor. You certainly won’t be the first working mom with anxiety they’ve talked to.
5. Consider what you’re eating
I know it’s not fun to hear, but if you’re snacking on processed foods and eating Wendy’s every night, it’s likely affecting your anxiety. Nutrition has a lot to do with how you feel physically and mentally. One of the moms that responded to my request said, “I found my diet plays a HUGE role in my anxiety levels. When I cut the stuff out that bothers me, the difference in how I feel is astounding.”
You may be missing out on some essential vitamins and minerals that come in healthy foods or overeating within a specific food group. For example (again, don’t take this as medical advice), finding a calcium + magnesium supplement can help, as well as B-complex vitamins. Work with either a nutritionist or doctor to find the right combination for you.
6. Visit an acupuncturist
I swear by acupuncture. I attribute it to helping me get pregnant for the first time because it helped ease my anxiety tremendously. Do some research and find a practitioner that can work with your particular situation.
7. Get your emotions out by journaling
Journaling is a critical and straightforward way to limit anxiety. It’s easy to become anxious and overwhelmed when negative thoughts and worries are swirling around inside our heads. To help get these types of thoughts out use journal prompts or do a brain dump. There are no rules, and you don’t have to write about specific topics. Simply “dump” what you’re feeling onto paper. You don’t realize how much you’re holding on to so the key is to get it out. Journaling can help you find patterns and identify your anxiety triggers. You can find some great ones here.
8. Meditate daily
Meditation seems to intimidate people, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. There are so many resources available for free on YouTube and within apps like Calm. And don’t feel like you have to sit in silence for 30 minutes. Even just a five minutes session can work wonders. One working mom said, “I’ve found if I aim for 5-10 minutes every morning it really helps calm my mind. If I feel anxious/upset during the day, I’ll sneak away for another 5 minutes or so to help reset.” Type “5-minute meditations” on YouTube or Google to get started with these.
Here are some to get you started (courtesy of the mom who suggested quick meditations):
POSITIVE MIND in 5 Minute Meditation - 5 minutes
10 Minute Grounding Meditation to Balance Energy - 10 minutes
9. Try yoga
Whether you go to a studio or find a free YouTube video, yoga is a way to calm your mind while getting your body to move. I’m a big fan of Yoga with Adriene (and it’s free). I know you’re busy as a working mom but even 10 minutes of yoga can lessen anxious feelings.
10. Give emotional freedom technique (tapping) a try
Gary Craig developed the emotional freedom technique or tapping, because it balances your energy. He uses energy spots on your body (meridians) to make sure you’re energy can flow and doesn’t get disrupted. I’ve recently found tapping to be very freeing as I work through personal and professional stresses. Following Brad Yates has been a simple way to learn how to tap.
11. Welcome it
Asking for anxiety to come your way is a hard concept to grasp at first, but when you think about it, this technique makes total sense. In Dare: The New Way to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks Barry McDonagh teaches, among other creative methods, to run toward your anxiety. I use it a lot, and it works well. When you start to feel anxious, your brain goes into flight or fight mode, and that’s when those chemicals in your brain are released. Your body automatically wants to protect you, and anxiety heightens. If you welcome it, however, your body can relax and move on from flight or fight mode. Those anxious and panicky feelings can be released.
12. Use essential oils
If you’ve never tried essential oils before, you should consider exploring this option. The power of aromatherapy is a great natural remedy for working moms dealing with anxiety. Oils can be used aromatically, topically, and in some cases orally. However, it’s important to find an essential oil company that provides Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade oils. While there are many oils that help ease anxiety, some of my favorites include lavender, vetiver, ylang-ylang, frankincense, copaiba, and turmeric.
13. Experiment with CBD oil
There’s so much talk around CBD oil, and if you ask me, it works. However, you must find it from a reputable company. Before using it, I did a significant amount of research to make sure there weren’t traces of THC or other additives I didn’t want. Try azWHOLEistic in Phoenix. I used to live there and would go to their shop, but now I can order it directly from them. Another great source is Bluebird Botanicals. Remember, you will pay for quality CBD oils. Again, talk to your doctor to see if this is the right solution for you.
14. Find the underlying reason for the anxiety
Many people will say that there are ways to manage anxiety and then ways to eliminate it. Getting to the root of the issue is suggested to altogether remove anxiety from your life. There are methods like hypnosis and specific counseling programs that claim to help with this. Do your research before committing to one.
15. Talk about it with your partner
I’ve found that the more I hide it, the stronger anxiety feels. I remember being so embarrassed to tell my husband (then boyfriend) that I had anxiety. I was afraid he would think I was crazy. Instead, he didn’t flinch, and that made me feel so much better. As the years have gone by, I’ve tried to be more open with him about it and how it’s affecting my day-to-day. Especially now as a working mom, he’s done a lot to help me manage it. Having a partner who understands what you’re going through (as much as they can) is essential.
16. Listen to podcasts
One of the responses I received from a working mom with anxiety mentioned Dr. Caroline Leaf’s podcast called Cleaning up the Mental Mess with Caroline Leaf. The listener told me it has “seriously changed the way I look at anxiety.” Another mom recommended The Life Coach School podcast with Brooke Castillo because it helped her manage her thoughts, which often cause anxiety.
17. Art therapy
As adults, we don’t use our creative brains as much as we could. Think about how often your kids turn to their imagination. Often, visualization, imagination, and physically creating something can be calming. Check out these five amazing art therapy activities to reduce stress and anxiety for working moms.
18. Eliminate alcohol
While some working moms try to calm down with alcohol, others find drinking it enhances their anxiety. One mom told me she stopped drinking about seven months ago, and she’s been calmer and manages her stress significantly better since.
19. Breathe Deeply
I’ve found that the fastest way for me to calm myself while feeling anxious is to take a few deep breaths in and out. Square breathing (breathe in for four seconds, hold your breath for four seconds, breathe out for four seconds, hold for four seconds) keeps my heart from racing and allows me to focus on something other than the anxiety I’m feeling.
20. 5 Second Rule
If you’re a Mel Robbins fan, you’ve heard of the 5 Second Rule. Mel teaches a method that stops your negative thoughts in their tracks. By recognizing when you’re mind is leading you down an anxious path, you can count backward from five, and then picture another thought that makes you happy. It disrupts the anxious pattern. Her book, The 5 Second Rule, teaches all about this and is worth the read.
I sincerely hope this is a useful resource for you. Please pass it on to a friend who might need it as well. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic and any methods that have worked for you. Please send them directly to me.
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