That's how I felt for the first half of October.
October is one of my favorite months. It is full of so many fun, festive traditions and I look forward to the special family time, perfect weather and beautiful colors.
But this month I couldn't shake my anxiety. I felt like it was swallowing me whole and I couldn't escape.
Being a creative entrepreneur is full of very high highs and low lows. Being a mom is HARD and requires every ounce of my emotional energy. Trying to handle both of those roles at the same time (along with others) feels like too much sometimes.
So on this beautiful October day, I did what I always do when I'm feeling overwhelmed. I packed up my kids right after school (didn't even make my oldest change out of her nightgown from pajama day at school), packed a hammock and picnic and headed to the mountains.
We took our time. Watching them stop to explore is so good for me. One of my favorite parts of motherhood is seeing the world through my children's curious eyes. It helps me slow down and enjoy the marvels of nature.
They pretended that they lived in the Little House in the Big Woods and were harvesting maple syrup from the trees.
We stayed in this spot for over an hour. We all studied and soaked in the beauty in our own way. Them through play, me through my camera.
After a few hours we set up the hammock. Laying in a hammock reading books to my kids feels pretty close to heaven for me. Until they start swaying it and I get super dizzy. Then we're done.
I even remembered to set up my camera on the stroller and get in the frame with my girls. I'm so glad it worked!
We all felt SO much better after that little excursion.
I've been doing a few more things since that have helped me control my anxiety. Self care is the key for me. I'll throw them out there in case they can help anyone else.
1. Waking up early to read scriptures, pray, exercise and meditate. That seems like a lot, but I usually fit it into an hour. Yoga and meditation have been so helpful for me lately. I really miss it on the mornings I sleep in and I feel a huge difference in how well I can handle my kids and life in general.
2. Positive affirmations. I listened to the Every Branch podcast by Brooke Snow (which I love), and she recommended recording yourself saying positive affirmations, then listening to it regularly. So one morning I googled "positive affirmations for moms", along with others, and came up with a list that I liked. Listening to those has been HUGE for me. Hearing them in my own voice over and over has helped me catch my negative thought patterns throughout the day and replace them with positive ones.
3. Good books and podcasts. I LOVE the Alison Show podcast and have been reading a lot of the books they recommend. My favorite lately has been the Alchemist. It's a quick read (or listen) and is packed full of goodness. Not related to anxiety, but so good!
4. Less social media, and NO social media scrolling at night. I can feel my anxiety building whenever I scroll mindlessly through social media, so I'm trying to regulate the amount of time I use it and am planning a break soon.
5. Being social! Connecting with people IN PERSON is huge for me. It takes time and effort, but I've been trying to prioritize it lately and it is so worth it.
If you have any other tips for controlling anxiety, I'd love to hear them!
Now hop on over to my friend Amy's blog (a Portland, Oregon Family Documentary Photographer) to see her beautiful work this month.