How I Am Managing Anxiety and Fatigue
For as long as I can remember (going back all the way to age 3), I have had anxiety. I had separation anxiety from my parents, bursting into tears when I would be left with a babysitter or even going to school. It evolved as a pre-teen to avoiding going places with friends and being extremely shy. In High School, I grew out of it but it manifested into needing to have control over everything. In my twenties and now, ive learned how to cope and manage a “normal” life, I have two degrees, a job, married, two kids, etc… but the struggle is real. Having kids means you have zero control of 99% of your life 😉 When I got pregnant with our second child, I felt even more control slipping away from me. The moment he was born I knew I was in for a rollercoaster ride. My kids are only 20 months apart, and at that young age both require so much attention. The thought of letting something go or asking for help made me feel so defeated. Having these feelings for the past 2 years took a toll. I found myself with chronic fatigue, headaches, nausea, and brain fog. Basically the worse hangover I could ever imagine day after day. I saw my doctor many times for this, was screened for depression, had blood work done, an MRI for the headache, and everything came back normal. I am slowly coming to terms that this is likely due to chronic anxiety and stress. While I continue on with more medical tests, I am taking initiative and testing various diet and lifestyle changes to see if anything helps get out of this funk.
Diet & Supplementation
I know I am a very sensitive person to stimulants and medications, which leads me to believe I am probably sensitive to the types of foods I am eating. I have always leaned towards a Paleo framework diet, but not consistent enough to see positive changes from eliminating grains, beans, soy, dairy, and refined sugar. I was listening to the Balanced Bites podcast when authiur Trudy was on discussing her book, which conincidently was all about all the symptoms I am having. I quickly picked up her book, read it over, and easily made a plan to try out an elimination diet. Per the guidelines of the book for two weeks I am going to cmpeltely eliminate gluten from my diet, reintroduce for two meals, and then eliminate it again for 3 days to see how my body reacts. If I do not notice any changes with anxiety of fatigue, I move on to eliminate dairy for two weeks, and so on. Two weeks is completely doable, and luckily gluten is the easiest thing for me to eliminate. Dairy may be an entirely other story…
In addition to this 2 week gluten elimination, I will be taking my multi-vitamin, Mageniusm, and fish oil. The books goes in to great detail on a variety of supplements to take, but I need to do more researching ebfore going that route. I have to be careful not to make too many changes so I can identify what change has a positive impact.
Hands down, this is the hardest thing to change of all! Being a mom to two little kids under 3.5 is challenging. Preschool, daycare, cleaning, meal plans, the dog, hygiene, groceries, schedules, etc… is a lot to handle. I am so fortunate I am married to someone who equally parents our children, however when it comes to stressing over everything, I wear that hat. For good or for worse, I obsess over allllll the things that go on every second of every. Single. day. Do I have to do this? No. But I choose to. At this point, it is easier to just do it, than work at letting it all be. I have made progress, I don’t freak out when dirty towels are left on the ground, we have corners of the house that are piled up with clothes or junk, and I let it go. I make a huge effort to ask myself, does this really matter? To be honest, 95% of the time I think, yes! Yes this is important to my sanity! But, a lucky 5% of the time I am content with the mess.
So, how does one make lifestyle changes? I have no idea. Theres really a million things you can do to create positive change. An overwhelming amount of things one can do. But, I have put on my decisvice big girl pants and plan to do the following:
- Exercise regularly. Luckily I love working out. Unfortunately it was something I stopped doing as often as I would like because I felt so terrible. I have mad a conscious effort to get back into my routine and I am taking about 4 Hot Pilates classes a week, in addition to two days of weight training and walks with the dog.
- Stretching/yoga. Every day I am devoting at least 5 minutes to some type of yoga flow that I can find on YouTube.
- Ugh. I really don’t like meditating, but I hear its good for me. My goal, 1 minute a day. Gotta start somewhere, right?
- Take more time to be present. This is a big one for me, but difficult. I like to be go, go, go. I like to get things checked off my list, but when I look back at my day, I don’t want to see a list of chores that got done. I want to remember the silly thing my 3 year old said, or the new word my 1.5yr old learned. I want to br proud of myself for not losing my temper and being patient with the kids. I want to remember all the hugs I received that day.
Do you suffer from anxiety and fatigue? What coping mechanisms do you use?