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Addie turns one next month (!!!)
I still can't believe it's been almost an entire year since she was born. And I can't help but remember those first few weeks. How I miss that newborn smell! Addie was always a pretty calm baby. Minus absolutely hating her car seat, she was happy and content. It was such a tender mercy for me, because around her 4 week mark, I found myself in a whirlwind of anxiety.
I actually didn't know what I was feeling at first - until a late night google search and confirmation from my doctor at a well check. What felt like out of the blue, my mind turned into a jumbled, worried, not at all logical, complete mess! The first sign was intense irritation - not directed at our new baby, but directed at almost everyone else. I found myself snapping at anything and everything...toys not placed just right, Brian home a few minutes late, dumb drivers. ;) Then came the worry. I'm a natural worrier, but all of the sudden, the worry was crippling. I was up every hour in the night in an utter panic, checking on Addie and Ellie. Windows and locks were checked several times before going to bed, even though I knew they were already locked. I worried about driving, going to the grocery store, having everyone up and ready by a certain time, even when we had absolutely nowhere to be. I had panic attacks if I caught a glimpse of the news. When Ellie would make a mess, I would find myself paralyzed and panicked, not knowing where to begin or how to start to clean it up. Everything was blown out of proportion and every little situation seemed like the end of the world!
At my first doctor's appointment, my doctor prescribed me a very low dose of medicine and I was too proud to fill it. I didn't need medication! I could do this all on my own! After a terrible week, I called him back and in tears, finally admitted to him, but mostly to myself, that I needed some help. :) I immediately saw results, but I've also added a few things into my daily routine that have helped me continue to improve. I've found three things that have helped me immensely with postpartum anxiety: meditation, staying active, and good ol' sunshine!
Meditation Right after Addie was born, I wasn't very good at finding quiet time for me. There was dishes and diapers and laundry! I started setting my alarm early in the morning, just before the girls would get up, so I could have some quiet time to myself before the day started. This has made such a difference! I study this book in the stillness of the morning. Coupled with a prayer and time to think before the business begins, gets me in the right mindset for the day. Instead of rolling out of bed groggily, I'm more awake and calm. Sometimes I also stretch or sit on the front porch to breathe in the morning air. I'm definitely not perfect at this habit, but when I make the effort, it really helps me in every aspect.
Exercise This has been one of the biggest helps in my struggle with anxiety. I've found that when I'm tense and worried, getting my body moving relaxes me. Bless those good ol' endorphins! I'm not much of a gym-goer. Props to the moms that can get themselves to the gym every day for a work out. (And then get out of those workout pants into REAL clothes. ;) Instead, I've found that I have to trick my brain (and my kids) into working out and thinking that it's FUN! Lately, we've been walking everywhere. This summer we live near a lot of parks, so we make sure we are outside walking every day. Ellie typically rides her scooter and she's become my personal trainer. I have the privilege of "chasing" her while she rides and man, she is fast. Which means, I have to jog fast! She frequently tells me to speed up. ;) By the time we get to the park, I'm sweating!
While the girls play, I sneak in a quick 10 minute workout as well. Squats, lunges, push ups, planks, and sit ups are easy to do in the park. The girls are always climbing on top of me while I plank and push up, which makes it ten times harder, haha! :) I always keep my stroller near me for balance. The Baby Jogger Summit X3 Single Stroller has been my best friend the last few months - it literally goes with us everywhere. Thankfully, Addie doesn't feel the same way about the stroller as she does her car seat. ;) When I tell her it's time to go "bye bye" she points to her stroller. I love that we can take this stroller with us on all our adventures and allows me to fold it one handed (!!!) On our walk home, I usually recline the seat, while Addie takes a quick snooze. I also love to use my smart watch to track my steps for the day. It's a good reminder for me to stay active and hit my step goals!
Sunshine! Getting outside and into the sunshine has been a huge natural anxiety reliever! The winter months were killer for me - too many foggy and snowy days. I found out I had super low vitamin D levels and while taking supplements helped, nothing beats that warm sunshine! We make sure we get a good amount of sunshine every chance we get.
A few other anxiety helps: having a good support system, cutting out caffeine, eating healthy foods, simplifying my 'to do' list, and prayer. Can't go wrong with a few extra prayers. :) Oh, and retail therapy. That always helps, am I right? :) Next time you're at Babies R Us, check out the Baby Jogger Summit X3 Single Stroller. It's Addie & mama approved! (And you can s Happy Monday, friends. May you enjoy some sunshine and a good long jog! XO