Bearing my soul-My story of being an anxious Mama Bear

One year ago, I shared this. So much has changed in this past year and so much has stayed the same. I remember writing this post, tears streaming down my cheeks, nervous as hell to “publish” it and let my world know my struggles. I took a breath and put my heart and soul into the world wide web for the first time and haven’t looked back since…

June 3, 2018: I have anxiety. Although it wasn’t officially diagnosed until my adult years, I’ve had it my whole life.
Now, I can say that I wear it like a badge of honor, but refuse to let it define me.
Some know, but many don’t and I feel it’s important to share a little of my private journey this last little while, in hopes that it brings awareness & more support to mental health even if it just reaches one person.
About 7 weeks ago, just after returning from our so needed family vacation, my anxiety was slowly growing.
I could feel it from the inside, slowly choking me. The weight of it was heavy and I was tired. Each day that passed was harder than the last and I knew that I needed help but couldn’t articulate where or what I needed help with. Most importantly, I needed to breathe.
There were so many contributing factors that attributed to my (what felt like) 2 day anxiety attack that my body needed to be still. After the advice of my wonderful doctor, incredibly supportive husband and family I took a break. I took a leave of absence from work to regroup, rebalance and find my breath and my self love.
During these past 5 weeks, I took up running, dancing, reading, writing and cooking. I dove head first into the depths of my soul where I worked through the nitty gritty and the haunting words that self doubt (both professionally and personally) had imprinted on my heart and I found my spark again. I found me.
This journey has been full of tears, defeat, self doubt and surrender but It’s also been filled with so much love, support, encouragement and help.
Point being- If someone you know is silently battling mental health issues they probably won’t reach out. They may go inward. I did. Please don’t give up on them. They need you more than ever, even if it’s to offer a hello with a smile in the mornings and love on them unconditionally-even from a distance. Remember, it’s not about you. It’s about them and the full on war that’s raging inside an often tired body and mind. Let that not be mistaken for weakness, because that I assure you isn’t true.
With tears in my eyes on the eve of my return to work, I am thankful, for my village (especially my hot husband Mark) that never gave up on me.
Mental health is real. Fatigue is real. Trying to be the best you can for absolutely everyone isn’t real-istic and at the end of the day, be happy with yourself, your character and your integrity and don’t let anyone (including yourself) dim your light. It’s ok to take a break. It’s ok to ask for help. It’s ok to breathe it’s ok not to be ok and it’s ok to be still. It’s OK.
We’re all in this together.
Breathe. “Because every little thing is gonna be alright…” ✌🏼

Stop complaining, comparing and competing-it can cause anxiety!

I found this article below to be particularly interesting.
It also helped me understand and form a conversation with my Little Bear on the importance of positivity and optimism when working through anxiety.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the reel of “what-ifs”. If we get stuck there, take a breathe and try naming 3-5 things you’re thankful for or that bring joy to your life. Does it work for you?

A friend also told me that his Philosophy teacher in India said that the three Cancer’s of the mind are: complaining, comparing, competing. Interesting perspective I thought!

How Complaining Physically Rewires Your Brain To Be Anxious And Depressed

Real Life, Real Anxiety-taming the beast

For me, anxiety is tricky. For me, it’s a slippery slope of honoring my feelings and not burying them.
Appreciating the tears that flow and the gratitude I have in my heart.
It’s a balance between being present, pondering the “what if’s” and keeping my eyes on the horizon of tomorrow.
After a health scare a couple of months ago and finally having decent weather, my mind and body needed this tonight. 
Sometimes as a Mama Bear, I forget how important it is to take care of myself so I can be a good example for my Little Bears.
Be gentle, be kind, be fierce and be strong-however it looks for you. 

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Calm down! Strategies to help children to refocus

We try and practice a 5 minute nightly guided meditation just before bedtime. I find it to be a great way for us to to calm our bodies and our minds and focus on our breath and what we are thankful for.
These are some great calming techniques to share with your Little Bears and perhaps some of them can be added to their mental health tools boxes.
Happy Tuesday!