Anxiety is a common disorder affecting 40 million people in the United States alone. As a stay-at-home mom panic attacks and anxiety are difficult to cope with.
How do you deal with a panic attack when you children are around?
Being a stay at home or a working mom is rough. Life pulls you into countless directions simultaneously.
Children need constant attention, care and structure.
With the demands of motherhood come overwhelming feelings of sadness, loneliness and at times, guilt. Anxiety strikes at any time with both emotional and physical symptoms.
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Such symptoms as excessive worry, intense fear, chest pains and difficulty breathing often occur when you least expect them.
Learning how to cope with panic attacks as a mother with small children is fundamental in taking care of yourself.
To calm yourself during a panic attack, here are some easy tips to keep your anxiety in check around your children:
Tell Your Children…
While your children probably don’t understand what anxiety or a panic attack is, they can understand that “mommy doesn’t feel good.”
When the onset of panic attack symptoms begin, stop and see if your child and you can both take a time out.
This is not meant to be a punishment for your children. They can do without you for a couples minutes.
Tell them it’s time to read a book, independently play, watch a Disney movie or eat a snack… Quietly!
This time is for you momma! Keep your kids busy for a while where you are not needed. Try to focus on gaining control of your emotions.
No need to cause panic to your children when you are shaking and crying. Once you have instructed your children to play or watch tv quietly, move to another room.
While babies and toddlers still need to be in earshot to listen for mischievous behavior, it won’t hurt them to play quietly without you.
Who cares if your kids have pulled out every DVD from the shelves? Nothing your kids destroy can’t be picked up later!
Find a place you feel safe and comfortable, away from your children.
After finding a safe place, remember to breath. Hyperventilating will only make matters worse and make you feel like you’re not getting enough oxygen.
Listen to you breathing as you take deep breaths. Slow down your breathing, focusing on inhaling and exhaling slowly.
A deep breathing technique I would recommend is to inhale through your nose for 5 to 6 seconds. Hold your breath for 3 seconds. Then breathe out through your mouth for 7 seconds.
Depending on the severity of your anxiety attack, this process may need to be repeated up to 10 times.
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While deep breathing can ease your hyperventilating, get into a comfortable position to compose yourself and gain control over your anxiety.
Certain yoga positions such as downward dog and a pigeon pose can decrease stress.
If you don’t find yoga poses beneficial, simply elevating your feet can bring a sense of calmness.
Release Your Tension
If a comfortable position doesn’t work for you in order to let the anxiety pass on its own, try stretching. Try stretching your neck, shoulders and back….
Basically, anywhere you carry stress. Release the tension with stretching and continue to breathe deeply.
Anxiety Attacks are Temporary
Remind yourself that past panic attacks have passed, and so will this one. It will take time to relax and overcome, but it will pass. It always does.
Remembering this can give you confidence to overcome the panic attack your experiencing.
Forget About the To-Do List
Looking after children and/or working full-time comes with an endless to-do list.
Forget about all the endless needs of children temporarily and focus on keeping yourself calm the rest of the day.
So what if the dishes are piled up and you haven’t vacuumed? If you still have a plate or two and a couple forks and spoons your good to go for dinner!
Or break out the paper plates and plastic forks.
Got a dog? All the cheerio’s thrown all over the floor can easily be consumed and enjoyed by your ever faithful vacuum, the family dog!
Find Something You Enjoy
As you children watch an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, read a book. Try coloring in an adult coloring book to relieve anxiety.
Find something creative to do that brings you joy. When panic attacks creep in and ruin your day, finding a creative outlet helps refocus your thoughts on something other than anxiety.
Try an Herbal Supplement
An herbal supplement could help ease anxiety in a natural and effective way. No prozac required!
Herbal supplements are especially helpful to take on a regular basis to help towards the prevention of future panic attacks.
However, some herbal supplements can interact with prescribed medications, so always seek the advice of a health professional to avoid drug interactions.
Here are some herbal supplements I’ve used to combat anxiety:
Kava root: A nonadditive herbal supplement used for easing overall anxiety. Kava root treats a generalized anxiety disorder.
Studies found that Kava root is a safe and effective treatment for anxiety with very mild side effects. Kava root is also sold in pill form for easy convenience.
Ashwagandha: An herb used for overall anxiety. Ashwagandha has been shown to improve anxiety symptoms and relieve stress by helping the body adapt better to stress.
Along with stress relief, Ashwagandha also improves mental focus and reduces fatigue.
GABA (Gamma Aminobutyric Acid): GABA works by supplying amino acids to the body’s nervous system resulting in relaxed muscle tension.
The amino acid also relieves PMS, insomnia symptoms, general body pain, and anxiety.
Magnesium: The supplement works by relaxing muscle tension and calming the body’s nervous system.
While it has a calming impact for anxiety, magnesium also help digestive issues, trouble sleeping, and relieves muscle spasms.
For a magnesium supplement I take Natural Vitality Calm in the powder form to relieve my own anxiety. Just one to two teaspoons a day provides me with the stress relief I definitely need.
However, Natural Vitality Calm now has magnesium gummies for those who don’t want to mix and drink.
Try Essential Oils
Essential oils promote relaxation could be just the ticket for calming an anxious mind. Not only will your mind be more at ease, but it may also help relax your children.
Every momma could use fewer tantrums and longer naptimes.
Don’t forget an oil diffuser!
Breathing in essential oils before a panic attack starts could help ward off a future attack, while breathing aroma oils during an attack could stop anxiety in its tracks.
Write It Out
Grab pen and paper and write down possible causes or triggers of your anxiety. Sometimes you don’t always know what caused your panic attack.
But trying to identify the reasons behind the anxiety could help with future panic attacks.
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Remember you are not a bad mom!
Anxiety is experienced by a wide range of people. There’s no shame in being overwhelmed at times. It happens to the best of us. When a panic attack strikes, it’s of the utmost importance to remember that you are still a great mom.
Children won’t remember your anxiety attacks when you needed time to yourself. They will remember the times you made them laugh and cared for their needs.
What are you waiting for? Apply these tips to conquer your anxiety around your children!