aNGˈzīədē/ a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. This definition does not even comes close to what anxiety is defined by in our lives as Adoptive Parents.

In my house anxiety takes many forms: sleeplessness, anger, disrespect, yelling, throwing things, crying, avoiding and shutting down. As a mom I seldom get to even acknowledge my own anxiety because I am so busy helping everyone else manage theirs. In all honesty I have a lot of anxiety. It hits me when I lie down at night, it wakes me up at 3 am and when I am binging on my favorite food. I worry all the time and my thoughts jumble on top of each other.” Will he go to school today? and if he doesn’t will he graduate this year? and if he doesn’t graduate how will he support himself?…” ; “How was her day? did she handle the stress of her test? Is she making friends? ” ; “When will he stop this behavior? Is he attached to me?” . More so the anxiety about parenting haunts me ALL the time. ” Am I doing this right?, Am I good enough? How can I go on with another day like this one? Why did I do that? ” and the list goes on and on. Add work stress, relationship stress, financial stress and the world wide societal daily drama and I believe we are losing years off our lives!

Now that I admitted it ( that’s the first step…right? ) How do we all begin to cope with anxiety and become healthier ourselves yet still help our children too? First we MUST agree take care of us. If your like me, you are surely helping everyone else first and you last. The time is here to stop that NOW. If the engine is broken the car will not run and eventually it will all fall apart piece by piece. So lets agree together to start will daily tune-ups. Small steps are better than none.

As you wake up each day do you take 5 minutes to just breathe slowly and focus on how you are feeling? Or do you jump out of bed, start making breakfast, getting the kids off and never stop after that.? Because I always jump out of bed I promised myself 6 months ago that each morning, after the kids were in school I would grab a book, a fluffy non-thinking mystery and read for minimum of a half hour. No “fix your kids, marriage or life books,” and reading Facebook does NOT count! Letting your imagination escape allows your brain to settle down, to relax and gears you up for facing your life. I also contracted with myself to spend 5 to 10 minutes stretching before bed or in the morning. This along with deep breathing is extremely helpful, and when my mind starts to fill will everything I force it to continue to breathe and stretch. Many of you are former athletes ( definitely not me! ) so think of adding more rigorous exercise. Bike riding, jogging, what ever you love. My goal this year is to walk in the evenings, and although I have not done it, as the weather cools I am hopeful. I also believe that journaling , blogging and sharing your challenges with others can help immensely and are positive actions in expressing what bottled up inside.Think about it… what can you do?

Once you have begun consistently to care for yourself everyday ( not just the occasional pedicure) you will find you are more patient, more thoughtful in helping your children with their daily anxieties and struggles. We all know that when we are anxious it sets off those around us and in my home its a chain reaction,… things go from worse to a horrible quickly. The energy is just so full of the unknowns you can breathe in the vibe and like quicksand it sucks you down further and further into the abyss.

So let’s try together… make changes and we will all see results in our children, health and life. Remember we are the glue that holds our families together, and when we are watered down we are not effective. I myself am off to read my fluff mystery and try not to think about anything else….like: my laundry, my dirty floors, grocery shopping, and what to fix for dinner….at least not for the next hour.

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