As we enter into the one-month mark of quarantine and social distancing, our anxiety and stress levels are at an all-time high. We know we're not alone—we've heard from so many of you mamas out there that you're feeling overwhelmed and maxed out at the moment. We wanted to get some tips for managing our anxiety and sanity, so we chatted with our friend Chrissy Powers, a mother, wife, and licensed therapist who specializes in mental health surrounding motherhood and marriage. Below, read our Q&A with Chrissy for her tips and advice to help you chill out, quiet your fears, and reconnect with your family during this time.
What advice can you offer moms who are feeling anxious, fearful, and overwhelmed at the current moment?
Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling but move through it. Don't stay stuck ruminating on the "what ifs" and spending your emotional money on something that hasn't happened yet. I'm speaking to myself here as I went to bed last night after reading the news on my phone. I started to freak out and my husband reminded me to quit looking at the news before I went to bed. I've learned that it's important to stop consuming information when I start to feel anxious and then to do a grounding technique.
What are some tips or strategies that you'd recommend to help calm nerves both for the present moment and in thinking about the future?
You have to create better boundaries around what you take in. That includes shows you watch, how much news you ingest, and what you see on social media. Make time to move, dance, and breathe, and I promise you will decrease your anxiety. I love apps for breathwork and the Headspace app to switch my thinking and ground myself in the present moment. Also, I love doing a daily energy routine of tapping Meridian points in the body (like Donna Eden's Daily Energy Routine).
What are some ways to talk with our children about what's happening in the world right now? What are some tips to help calm any anxiety or fears that they might be feeling too?
- Be open with you children about what's happening in the world so that you can empower them. Try to stay away from using scary words like "kill" and "dying."
- Kids want to feel powerful; bad behavior tends to happen when they feel scared and powerless. Think about ways you can help your child feel more powerful like teaching them why they need to wash their hands (Kristen Bell has a great video on this on her Instagram). You can also have your child help make a cloth mask with you at home or pick one out online to purchase.
- Children don't have the same ability as adults to verbalize their emotions, so take some time to play with your children and narrate what they do through play (i.e."Oh I see how you took care of your doll so well. You're so gentle." Or, "Wow it looked like you were angry when you threw that ball.")
- Helping your children manage stress can be done in several ways. Have them create a "calming kit" when they are heightened by emotions. A calming kit includes things that they love that bring them comfort but also are sensory in nature like a squishy ball, Play-Doh, or their favorite stuffy.
- Consider blasting music and having a family dance party; you'll be surprised how this simple thing will change the climate of your home and shift your child's mood and yours as well.
How can we be good partners right now given that stress and anxiety are running high? How can we be supportive of our spouses when we're feeling overwhelmed ourselves?
Oh this is a good one since all of us are probably a little annoyed with our partners right now, haha! GRACE and EMPATHY are key in holding space for your partner and their stress now more than ever. Try to put yourself in their shoes before reacting and let things go. We're all doing our best and somedays your partner will need you more. I feel like my husband and I take turns falling about and that's okay. We're very open in telling each other what we need and do our best to meet those needs. However, it's important that both partners make self-care a priority. You can't meet all of your partner's need nor should you. It's your partners responsibility to manage their own stress and anxiety before sharing it with you. Just because your partner feels stressed or anxious doesn't mean you need to take it on as well. LISTENING is probably the most important skill you can grow in your relationship during quarantine. Listening fosters connection and validation in a relationship so listening without having all the answers is paramount.
What are some ways we can practice self-care while still being present for our families?
Try to wake up a little early to meditate, pray, journal, or just have a little alone time. If you're a night owl, practice self-care at night or take a bath. Take time to wear your favorite perfume or lotion, get dressed in real clothes once a week, and do your hair and makeup (I promise you, you'll instantly feel better!). I love playing soothing music in our house during the day in the background or I often listen to a podcast while my kids are playing.
Are there any books, podcasts, apps, or other resources you'd recommend at the moment for anxiety?
Yes! For anyone struggling with knowing what to do next in their career or wanting to start an online business, I have a course and program: FIND YOUR VOICE A MINDFUL APPROACH TO MAKING YOUR PASSIONS PROFITABLE. I also recommend "Waking The Tiger: Healing Trauma" by Peter Levine—it's a great book. I have a podcast called SURE, BABE and I also love Janet Lansbury's Unruffled parenting podcast, Brené Brown's Unlocking Us podcast, and Mantramag.com.