We parents are a special breed. We pile guilt and stress upon ourselves. We melt at a gummy grin, cry over a fallen tooth and stay awake to watch our offsprings sleep. We cherish these moments. We wear different hats and try to keep all the balls in the air at the same time. We are also anxious, irritable and nervous most of the time.
It (Anxiety) is really not worth it.
Anxiety among parents is very common. The anxiety comes out in different ways. I yell at my daughter for no reason. I pick fights with my partner. I get depressed and prefer to remain in bed. The head and every other part of me seems to cry in pain. My work suffers and more. It is draining. It is really not worth it.
Here are some habits and routines that make me anxious. Being aware of them help me handle anxiety. (Yes, on somedays it is a losing battle I wage trying to fight anxiety but I still fight on.)
The arrival of a baby changes sleep patterns. But at many households, long after the baby starts sleeping through the night, the parents remain awake. It is the time for chores, TV, that glass of wine, personal time and more. Having regular sleep habits helps manage anxiety. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep everyday does make a difference.
Often I forget to eat. Racing against the clock is a norm and often we end up developing bad eating habits. Many of us tend to binge eat or skip meals. Meals in front of the computer and TV, endless cups of caffeine are all norm. Making sure that you eat three square meals (or six small meals) filled with healthy choices helps one tackle anxiety. A full tummy makes a happy person.
We also depend on our phones more than ever. We are constantly overloaded with information, most of which make us anxious. Screen-based entertainment and social media, while interesting and educative can also depress and make us anxious. Next time, you are waiting or bored, don’t pull out your phone. Put it away and use it only as needed. Instead hum a song, watch the road, read a book or simply, close your eyes and rest!
Caffeine does improve short-term memory and keeps us focused on the tasks at hand, but it also can make people jittery, nervous and irritable. Coffee also dehydrates the body. Restricting caffeine consumption is an easy way to get your anxiety under control.
TV As Entertainment
Snuggling on the couch with the TV streaming the latest, seems like a relaxing activity but recent studies have shown that people who spend more than two hours a day watching television are more anxious and depressed. Entertainment, like everything else, is best in small quantities.
We live in a world where we don’t have concept of clocking out. We are constantly checking our emails and answering work calls. Work sneaks into our personal lives and leaves us irritated and anxious. Try to stop working when you step out of work (or have set hours if you freelance/work from home.) Put work thoughts away and balance life.