When I'm feeling anxious, stressed or wound up it's like all the energy has been sucked out of me. I'm on edge, I'm lethargic and my motivation goes down the toilet.
It's not a nice feeling. And it's one I work really hard to eradicate. It's been a long road to recovery but I've discovered some great techniques that really help me take a step back, reevaluate and re-centre myself.
People have different strategies and coping strategies, but knowing where I started and seeing where I am now, I wanted to share the things that I have implemented that really help me in the hope that these resonate with someone else too.
Get Outside - With Eric being so mobile and so active I try to take him out every day, whether that is to a class, on a walk or to a soft play session.
Being a stay-at-home parent can be really isolating and lonely, and it is times when we have to stay in that I find tend to kick off my feelings of anxiousness so much more.
Unless it is the school holidays I know for certain that we will be on the go at classes 3 days out of 5, with one day I have completely free because Eric is at the childminder. On the 2 days we have no set plans, even if I have the motivation of a teaspoon I will try and do something. I may not always be in the mood, but getting out and nipping anxiety in the bud is so worth it.
Put Down The Phone - This is something I have brought up before (most recently in this blog post). but I really do think that we all spend too much time on our phones.
And for me, if I get suckered in to aimlessly scrolling through social media it can be really detrimental to my mindset. It is something I am so conscious of now. If there is ever a day where I sense I might be susceptible to having bouts of anxiety or worry I make such an effort to steer clear of my phone.
It's not always easy (sometimes I need to have my phone close by which only heightens temptation) but if I am aware of it, I will just leave my phone on loud and just take it out the room.
Be Present - A few months ago I took part in a course at my local children's centre all about strategies and techniques to manage stress. And part of this was to do with mindfulness.
Since then one of the main things I've been trying to focus on is being in the moment and not letting my imagination (and my thoughts) run away with me.
Focusing on my immediate surroundings helps the most. And with Eric still finding confidence in his walking and being at a somewhat clumsy stage, I find myself needing to practise being present so much more anyway.
Chat With Friends - For a long time I just kept things inside. The stigma surrounding mental health issues made me nervous to open up. It wasn't healthy and it wasn't helpful.
So now, if I'm feeling stressed or wound up, I talk about it. I am so lucky to have a group of girls in my life who are so incredibly supportive that I know that if I was to drop them a message and share my thoughts they would understand.
I also talk to Ryan a lot. Or cry. Just to get things off my chest. I used to feel so silly doing it - almost as if I was a burden - but now that I'm over my lowest (and loneliest point) I don't hold back. And afterwards I feel so much better.
Get Busy - I've always had ants in my pants. I love being on the go, or doing jobs or running errands. It's just the way I'm built.
Naturally 99.9% of my time is Eric time, but I'm now filling those moments when he's doing other things, with other people or asleep with even more activities.
I'm resisting the urge to just sit on my bum and slob on the sofa during nap times and instead make time for housework or blog-related things. I'm getting up earlier in the morning and have adjusted my own morning routine (you can read more about that here). Since I started this I have more energy and I'm not rushing to try and squeeze in time for myself.
Of course there are some days when I want to be lazy and just can't be arsed, but these are definitely now outnumbered by really productive ones.