Anxiety may look different than you think. It doesn’t have to mean panic attacks or medication. It doesn’t have to mean hospitalization or catastrophic events. I think what 2020 has taught me, is that little triggers are hiding everywhere. Anxieties live deep in the crevices of my brain. They build, leading to an overall sense of unease.
During a global pandemic, home with lots of time on my hands, I’ve been forced to face those anxieties and realize, maybe I am an anxious person?
My anxiety is not overwhelming, but rather tiny moments throughout the day that add up. They dampen my mood and prevent me from ever truly relaxing or feeling calm.
The Future is Uncertain
I have a hard time living in the present, which has only been amplified during this pandemic. I find great joy in planning for the future. Pre-COVID, I took pleasure in planning our vacations or mapping out our weekly schedule. Thay joy has been replaced with disappointment and fear of the unknown.
I have always been shy around new people. It takes me a while to open up. There’s always the thought in the back of my head of “do they really like me?” Meeting new mom friends doesn’t come easy. I recently found myself doubting a new friendship when I didn’t get an immediate text back. Is she busy with her kids or is it me!?
Taking time for myself fills me with guilt. When my husband is watching the kids, I have a hard time enjoying myself, instead, always watching the clock. What should be my time to recharge is often filled with self-doubt.
All the Little Things
I can spend a whole day internally stewing about a canceled doctor’s appointment or a work mishap. If I snap at the kids, I’ll spend all night dwelling on how I could have been a better, more patient parent.
I think it’s important to realize that generalized anxiety doesn’t have to look a certain way. Just because I’m not suffering panic attacks or in need of medication, doesn’t mean I’m not holding onto a lot of anxiety.
One thing that has helped calm my mind this summer has been the routine use of CBD supplements. Also helpful are long walks alone with the dog. Any time I can sit in quiet without my kids screaming helps refresh my soul (at least until my mom guilt kicks back in).
I’ve also been trying to plan my family’s schedule in new ways. Instead of summer camp and gymnastics classes, I’m planning beach trips, hikes, and long drives to explore new farms or creameries. These are adventures we’d never have time for pre-COVID.