Why does anxiety come out of the blue? Or does it?

how to deal with a panic attack

Hello my friends! After a blogging hiatus I am BACK and refreshed and ready to write. I’m working on a new post for you now and it’ll be here on Honest Mom next week after the long Memorial Day weekend!

First, though, I have a special post from my friend, Jodi Aman. I’ve known Jodi since we went to the same summer camp, and a year or so ago we unexpectedly reunited on Twitter. Jodi is a psychotherapist who helps people with all kinds of challenges, and her work with people who have anxiety and depression is how we rediscovered each other.

Jodi shows people how to shift their thinking, change unwanted situations, and stop the out-of-control downward spiral by releasing their internal self-critic. She is wise and kind, and has all sorts of excellent advice on her website and her YouTube channel.

Jodi has a great new book out called You 1, Anxiety 0: Win your life back from fear and panic to keep calm in a crazy world which I can honestly recommend. I think it’s really great — and said so in my own review of her book!

Without further ado, here’s Jodi explaining why anxiety seems to hit you out of nowhere…

Jodi Aman - You 1 Anxiety 0

Why, oh why, does anxiety come out of the blue?

You are going along just fine, and bam! Anxiety comes out of the blue.

Your heart is racing and it’s hard to breathe. You look around, pace, and search for something to stop it. “I must really be crazy!” you think. “There is no reason for me to feel this way.”

That good-for-nothing anxiety has you all up in arms. Tied in a knot. Fumbling and immobilized. Discombobulated. Turned so far upside down, you don’t even know what hit you.

I used to think I was totally losing touch with reality when this happened to me. It was out of control, having no warning like this. I blamed myself and felt like there was nothing I could do to change it. I was in a no-win situation.

Thank goodness I figured out what was going on so I could stop thinking that I was insane in the membrane! I can’t wait to tell you about it so it can soothe your heart and mind, too.

So your anxiety is not your fault, it is biological!

Anxiety is never out of the blue. There is always a trigger.

Like I said, you have to do the heavy lifting here to change this. You have to un-trigger yourself to free yourself. But knowing what is going on will give you the advantage and help you not to feel so out of control all the time!

Be gentle with yourself. This is not the easiest problem to have and you have been through the ringer. Give yourself a hug. Have confidence that people get better from anxiety all the time. And so you can too. Even if you’ve had it forever. Even if you’ve tried everything. Anxiety is curable. You’ve got this!

If you need help, I go into all of these in depth in my new book You 1, Anxiety 0: Win your life back from fear and panic to keep calm in a crazy world.

Tell me, what does it feel like to know anxiety doesn’t come out of the blue?

[Tweet “Why #anxiety seems to come out of nowhere and what to do about it! @JodiAman explains on Honest Mom”]

Jodi Aman wrote the bestseller, You 1, Anxiety 0, to help people WIN their life back from fear and panic. From the garden she started when she was 8 years old to the baby ducks she found a home when she was 10, Jodi has always been passionate about nurturing life and helping people overcome pain. Find Jodi on her website, Instagram, FacebookTwitter, and YouTube — and check out her great video on how to calm down during a panic attack:

homepage photo credit: DSC_06571 via photopin (license)

Here are the candy conversation hearts that moms want

Candy conversation hearts for moms

Hello moms, and happy Valentine’s Day! Does your house look like Cupid threw up all over it? I can’t even see the table in our sunroom. It’s a sea of heart stickers, heart pencils, valentine-themed erasers, pink paper, white doilies, and all sorts of sticky sweet sentiments. This year I stood my ground and banned the glitter. As we all know, that crap is the herpes of the craft world and mama ain’t got time for de-sparkling her house. I swear I’m still finding glitter in my hair from last year’s Valentine’s Day craftastrophes.

Given the big V-Day is looming, we’re living on a steady diet of candy conversation hearts around here. Those things are addictive, aren’t they? I’m not even a big candy person, but those little white hearts are delish and I can’t stop won’t stop eating them. I love looking at the little messages on them and seeing how they’ve changed over the years. Pretty sure that TEXT ME and BFF weren’t around in the 80s, right? I bet MY BAE and TURNT UP are next and that’s okay, just as long as they never get rid of LOVE BUG. That’s my fave.

But wouldn’t it be great if we moms had our very own candy conversation hearts? Ones that could deliver a not-so-subtle message to our offspring about what we really want on Valentine’s Day? I pondered this last year and came up with a few conversation hearts for our kids (and our husbands) that I’d like to see some fabulous candy maker create. Sadly, no one’s fulfilled my wishes yet, but I am undeterred! This year I created more sweet sentiments for my dear darling children. Take a look…

18 candy conversation hearts that moms want!

What do you think? Should I get into the candy making business so my snarky candy hearts can brighten the Valentine’s Days of moms everywhere?

If you could write your own conversation hearts for your kids or spouse, what would they say?

18 funny candy conversation hearts that moms would love! Click To Tweet

photo credit: “Conversation Hearts” via Deviant Art (license)

7 tips for managing depression, anxiety and stress during the holidays

Like most moms, my stress level skyrockets during the holidays. Don’t get me wrong. December can be fabulously fun. But those of us with young kids know it can also be fabulously stressful.

Shopping, cleaning, cooking, decorating, wrapping, helping with special school homework projects, planning, donating time … AHHHHHHH!!!!

No wonder we’re all feeling like we’re going to lose it.

But for me and others who manage depression and anxiety, this time of year can be even tougher. And though I have been really good over the last several months (YAY), the holidays can trigger me.

In the past I’ve had to work really hard to fight off the feelings that can creep in. I really want to looooove the holidays like so many moms do. My kids are little. They love Santa and Christmas and decorating and making cookies. They want to be around me. Near me. Cuddling with me.

I know they won’t be little for much longer. So I want to enjoy my girls, their holiday wonder, and the fact they still think I’m the BEST THING EVER and still want to be around me all the time.

Because someday I’m going to ask them to bake cookies, and I’ll get some big eye rolls as they continue to text their friends while never actually looking up at me.

I am not looking forward to that day.

Every year, I look back at my list of ideas on how to navigate this potentially tough time. And when I follow my own advice, things go well. And last year I did loooooove the holidays! Well, mostly. 😉

If you deal with depression and anxiety, or if you’re a person who always gets really stressed during this time of year, I hope my ideas help you, too. Here we go…

Honest Mom’s tips on how to (successfully) manage depression, anxiety, and stress during the holidays

1. Do just a few things well. Or maybe even just one thing. Especially during the holidays, we moms put so much pressure on ourselves to do everything and do it all perfectly. Lighten up on yourself, mama!

Don’t decorate the entire house from head to toe if it stresses you out – just focus on the living room and make that one room beautiful.

Do you really like sending out holiday cards? Or do you do it because you feel like you have to? If it’s the latter, save yourself the time and money and don’t send them this year. Aunt Edna will survive. Or she can get on Facebook like the rest of the world and see pics of your kids there.

Another idea: Now instead of baking dozens of cookies from scratch, I buy pre-made dough. My kids only care about the part where they cut out the cookies and decorate them, anyway. Less effort for me, more fun for them.

Give yourself a break and take a few shortcuts. It’ll definitely cut down on the holiday stress.

2. Skip the “obligation” parties that stress you out. You know the party that a certain mom throws every year that everyone seems to go to? The one that requires you to dress “casual chic,” bring a Yankee Swap gift, bake six dozen cookies for an exchange, and bring a bottle of wine and a homemade appetizer?

Yeah, that party. Skip it. Along with any other parties that aren’t actually fun. Parties should be FUN, remember?

3. Don’t overcommit to volunteer activities. Sign up for one extra activity. Volunteer at the food pantry. OR your kid’s classroom holiday party. OR the community Santa parade.

Remember, you are not the only person in your community who can volunteer. You do not have to carry the load. Pick one and feel good about your contribution.

4. Don’t make any big changes. Now is not the time to try a new antidepressant (unless your doctor really recommends it), paint a room in your house, or get a pixie haircut. For the love of God, woman, don’t set yourself up for disaster. Wait until a much less stressful time.

5. Get some alone time. And I’m not talking about going to the grocery store alone. Or holiday shopping for anyone (who isn’t you). I’m talking about plopping your butt in a coffee shop and reading a book for an hour.

Ask someone, anyone who is remotely trustworthy, to watch the kids – and get out of your house and away from all your obligations so you can decompress for a little while. This is good for everyone, but especially depression sufferers – it can really help to reset your mood.

6. Try to turn a sad moment into a nice memory. This one is hard, I know. But here’s my experience. A few years ago, I was feeling really down about my dad’s death and him not being around. He just loved Christmas so much. I was dissolving into tears when I noticed the bowl of walnuts I had out – and remembered how my dad loved cracking open walnuts with me when I was a kid.

So I poured myself some eggnog (his favorite), cracked open some walnuts, and listened to Christmas music for 10 minutes while my kids went sledding outside. It eased the sadness to do something that reminded me of my dad, instead of just sitting on the couch and bawling.

7. Exercise and sleep. No, I’m not kidding. I am 100% serious, mama. I know, I know, how is there time to sleep, let alone exercise? But if you are dealing with depression and/or anxiety, sleep and exercise are CRUCIAL.

It’s hard to drag my butt to yoga on a weeknight after the kids are in bed. But I really try to do it. I’m also power walking a morning or two with my neighbors. And I can tell you – it helps me feel so much better. You know, exercise, endorphins, blah, blah, blah. It’s true.

Sleep is no joke, either. Put down the laundry basket, stop wrapping gifts, and enough with cleaning the kitchen. (Or if you’re me – step away from the Internet.) Just Go To Bed. It’ll all still be there in the morning. And no one will be the worse for it if it doesn’t get done – except you.

Are you doing anything these next couple of months to ease the stress of the holidays? What ideas can you add to this list?

this post was originally published in 2012, which is why there are some pretty old comments!