It’s been 21 weeks since we brought our little one home.

I still remember that first night, how her shrieks wouldn’t stop and her tiny face turning blue. I was exhausted and crying, gliding her swaddled body across my chest, thinking that I was already a terrible mother for not being able to comfort her. In desperation, I woke up my husband at 4 in the morning, handing her over and demanding that I need sleep (I was working off of 3 hours from the night previous). That first night I felt like a failure.

There are days where I still feel like one. Days that I let my worries get the best of me and feel as if I’m robbing myself of moments that could potentially be great. I find myself imagining the worst, having excessive or unrealistic worries about her, and of other topics that directly relate to her (finances, productivity, my relationship with my husband)

I think I let my anxiety consume me because I am now responsible for a tiny human, and sometimes it can be nothing but stressful.

Here are some of the worries that I have:

♦ Worrying about her formula intake, if it’s too little or too much because it varies at her feedings. I know she’s eating enough because her weigh-ins are more than normal, and my doctor keeps calling her perfect.

♦ Worrying about her lack of napping throughout the day, we’re lucky if we get 20-minute intervals, but she still sleeps like the dead and gives us 8-10 hours at night.

♦ Worrying about her bowel movements because sometimes she can skip a day but lets out enormous farts like her mother. (no shame!)

♦ Worrying that she’s not getting enough fresh air even though I try my hardest to take her on walks when I feel able

♦ Worrying at each cry that I’m not giving her what she needs even though I have a handle on her variations

♦ Worrying that I’m not teaching her or entertaining her enough each day even though she shows many advanced skills for her age

♦ Worrying that she’ll somehow stop breathing during the night and waking myself up to check our video monitor. I know that this is highly unlikely, but this runs in the back of my mind a lot.

I could go on, but I think you get the point.

When I take a step back and assess my worries, I know that this is normal. Whether or not each mom feels the same way as I do will vary, and I’m not here to compare my anxiety to others, so don’t do the same for yourself either.

The best thing that you can do when you’re in these moments like myself is to talk it out, but if you can’t at the moment there are ways to clear your mind and redirect those vibes

  1. MOVE!

Whatever type of physical activity you can do, do it. Whether it’s walking, dancing, working out or just walking up and down your stairs doing chores, do it. This is a win-win situation; you’re redirecting your thoughts PLUS working out in the process.

  1. Fuel your body right

It’s effortless to forget about yourself when all your time and effort is directed towards a tiny human. Here are three easy things that you can do right now

A) Nap. If you can, squeeze in some shut-eye over doing another chore. Sleep deprivation only makes you more nervous and anxious in the long run

B) Food Intake. Take an hour on Sunday to prepare some healthy snacks or meals for your week, if you can (example: cut up some fruits/veggies to save yourself time) or honestly, buy perfect portioned yogurts, cottage cheese, apple sauce, etc. Taking out the bad carbs will leave you with fewer mood swings and cravings for junk food.

C) Caffeine Intake. If you drink more than two cups of coffee or soda a day, try to cut it down to a reasonable number. I’ve limited my caffeine intake to once a day, and have noticed a considerable difference

  1. F*ck Chores

Don’t let chores or preparing each meal every day become a burden. If you’re too stressed to do it, there is nothing wrong with getting take out/using paper plates or leaving the dishes for another time or day. We can’t always be ‘perfect.’

I won’t lie, this year has been a little bit of a struggle for me.

I started the year with a determination that every week I would post on my blog with new and exciting topics that we all encounter. Unfortunately, I forgot how life likes to take control of your plans and got pushed into many directions. I honestly tried my best to keep up with my writing, but there were days that I just needed a break from my thoughts. I took seven full mental health days this year from my blog, and I am not even apologetic.

In May, I took a stay-cation of 5 days to spend with my family who came from B.C. It wasn’t a typical vacation by any means; we spent the majority of our time renovating our basement. Even though we did have several day trips in our schedule, I was utterly exhausted.
I went back to work with the worst mentality, and everything suffered: my workload, my interpersonal relationships, and my overall anxiety. I was heating up over the smallest things, and I had several outbursts that caused my boss to sit me down to relay that co-workers said I was difficult. I burst into tears right then and there – I wasn’t aware of how terrible things had gotten even though I was currently living through it. I felt lost and unsure in my position.

I knew things had to change drastically, so I put on my fake smile and went on with my work day. However, that still brought all of my anxieties and worries back home. I always try my best to leave work-related issues at bay, but I was at a bottleneck point and didn’t know what else to do. Bringing this all home caused a strain on my relationship with my husband, even though he was trying to be the best support system that he could while going through his issues.

Things took a turn when I got into my first car accident, in July, a minute away from my house. This accident was technically my fault, and even though I wanted to seethe through my teeth, I took full accountability for my actions. I still remember the panic that coursed through my body and recognizing how mangled my mentality was becoming. July was my turning point when I took my first mental health day and wrote the following week: Signs When You Need to Take a Break

I was hoping for things to turn around, but both my husband and I got hit with a lot of unexpected changes. A close personal friend of mine was laid-off, and I was so devastated that I excused myself from work for the remainder of the day. Drastic change has never been a positive outcome for me, and I started to worry that I had taken so many days off already. Suddenly, my husband’s mentor passed away, and it was gut-wrenching. I had to remove myself out of my self-consuming issues and be my husband’s rock which was not an easy feat.

I tried my hardest, I honestly did, but when I got into my second car accident in September, I lost it. Not a lot of people know about this accident because I started to become my introverted self again. I was on the highway, slowing down to a full stop (as the car in front of me) when BAM! A car going 120km/h reared into me, which caused me to hit the car in front. I was shell-shocked and in a daze. When the officer came around to check on me, all I could reiterate was “I have anxiety.” From my glazed over eyes, he could tell and kept repeating his name, badge and next steps over and over again. Repetition might seem mundane to most people, but it’s critical when someone is experiencing any form of anxiety. After giving all of the information to our local station, I started to feel a pain in my neck. I called my mother-in-law to come to pick me up, and I went directly to the walk-in to confirm that I had no signs of whiplash. Through insurance, I was given an allocated amount of money towards physio and spent the last week of September and all of October trying to get in a better physical state. Those who cared checked up on me, while others showed their true colours. I lost two significant friendships in this month, one whom I’ve known since Grade 6. I considered him family, and my hurt was beyond that of friendship; I felt as if I lost a brother. My husband couldn’t understand this, and kept reiterating that friendships do fall apart sometimes – I do agree with him, but this was far worse than I could have imagined.

Luckily for both of us, we had booked a MUCH needed vacation to Mexico to spend my Husbands 35th Birthday on Day of the Dead. We spent the next eight days away from our reality. I couldn’t have asked for a better trip with my husband, we got so incredibly close to one another during this trip and our communication excelled when we discussed our plans for 2019. I felt recalibrated and was ready to go back home and face everything that 2018 threw at me. Unfortunately, the last two days of our trip I was sick due to heat exhaustion, but, I’ll take the bad with the good on this one!

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Day of the Dead at Silversands Resort

When I got back, I ditched my old doctor and found a new one closer to my area whom also services my husband and mother-in-law. We spent weeks going in depth with everything that was happening to me, and I was elated to see that he did care for my well-being. I went through many tests to make sure that I was back on track physically and emotionally.
I even stepped out of my comfort zone and did a photo shoot with a friend of mine who brought my spirits up tenfold!

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@175ish Miss November

I finally felt as if my life was back on track after seven months of “whatever-the-hell-that-was.” I know things can’t always be sunshine and rainbows, and I don’t expect them to be either, but when you get into those states of anxiety or depression, it can seem as if there is no end in sight. However, everyone should know that once you hit rock bottom, the only place to go is up (Corny, I know). Anxiety has been rough to live with, but I am happy that I’m making it a part of my life now and owning it. Here I am, at the end of December, stronger than I was at the beginning of the year. I appreciate all of the learning experiences that I’ve had this year and plan on tackling them head-on in 2019.

I wish you all a Happy New Year and for you all to know it’s OK to not have a great year – just know that things eventually do turn out better.

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Whenever someone asks how I am my usual response is “I’m tired.”

This tiredness isn’t because of a long day at work, or not getting enough sleep at night (although sometimes it does add to it). It’s usually from the constant battle of anxiety that pulsates through my head telling me not to speak up because I will annoy those surrounding me.

Some days I can fight that voice, but often than not it’s hard to find the strength to ignore it. I want to word vomit how I am feeling

I’m burnt out; life is overwhelming right now, I’m mentally exhausted.

But my anxiety will send my mind spinning telling me that no one will understand, so I resort to the short version of “I’m tired.” I can be in the same room as people that I’ve known for years, whom I trust dearly, but I won’t over divulge.

It’s exhausting having that voice in the back of my head telling me that I’m weak, that I shouldn’t expect much and nitpick away at everything that I do. It makes me feel less of a person, and I think everyone can see it. It makes it easy for me to cancel my plans because the thought of being around people would be too much to handle on top of this.

I refuse to let my anxiety control my life any more than it has. Even though my mind rushes at a mile a minute the moment I wake up: I still get out of bed, I still prepare for my day, and I still go to work. All I want to do is go back under my warm blanket with my husband. (I can make a living like this, right??)

I push through the discomfort of my day so that I can turn my dark thoughts into positive ones. I ignore my thought of “everyone is judging you” and force myself to be productive. Always trying to be one step ahead is tiresome. I feel like I’m constantly trying to get out of my comfort zone and never feel truly relaxed. Yet, I try. I try so hard and put in so much effort.

The days when I do find the courage and strength to speak my mind amaze me – how can I be so brave when other days I let it consume me? These are the days that I realize people with anxiety are the strongest because we never have a minute of peace. I’ve been called “Strong” before, but I don’t feel it, I have a tattoo as a reminder.

Ani Hazika
Hebrew for “I’m Strong”

The next time someone says “I’m tired” try to understand that they might be struggling with something deeper. Maybe they need words of encouragement, a shovel to dig them out of a situation or just a simple hug saying “It’s OK to be tired.”