A couple of months ago, I shared that I was going through a season of anxiety and insomnia. It seemed to happen out of nowhere. One moment I was this carefree individual traveling every month with my family and enjoying life. The next moment I found myself having frequent panic attacks and dreading going to bed because I knew I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep. It even became difficult to drive as bouts of fear left me struggling to catch my breath. Has this ever happened to you?
During this season, I could only manage to keep up with the bare minimum. Homeschooling and taking care of my household took priority. I cleared my mentor calendar and stopped all work related to my brands. That included ceasing all content curation for my social media accounts, which I know many of you have missed. If you didn’t know, I post daily Instagram stories documenting our homeschool journey. Day-in-the-life posts are among the most popular and receive the most engagement. So, naturally, when I stopped posting many of you wondered what happened and reached out to me. I never intended to take that long of a break. What I planned to be a short sabbatical of two weeks turned into two months.
I knew if I waited to be “fixed,” I’d be waiting for a long time. I would have to find some way to continue living.
I wasn’t necessarily “fixed” or healed when I returned to work. But I knew if I waited to be “fixed,” I’d be waiting for a long time. I would have to find some way to continue living. To continue being productive during imperfect circumstances. I couldn’t just let anxiety rule my life. I had to fight back. Exposing anxiety and being transparent with you was one way I decided to fight back. For I quickly learned that struggling in silence only works to keep us bound.
I’m glad I shared my anxiety struggle with you because I learned that I wasn’t alone. Some of you reached out to me and told me your story. I also received questions about how I was managing my homeschool while dealing with anxiety. I figured rather than responding to each of you individually, I’d write a blog post. I want all of us to be whole mentally, spiritually, and physically, and I hope these strategies help you just as much as they have helped me.
Before I delve into my tips for powering through anxiety, I just want to quickly address the question, “How are you now?” I’m doing great. Thank you for asking. I’m sleeping more, laughing often, taking care of myself, and the panic attacks are virtually gone. This season definitely had some major wins, but I’ll save that testimony for another day. As much as I want to attribute that good news to the tips I’m about to share with you, I know better. I’m going to risk sounding cliché here, but I wouldn’t have made it through without God. He heard my cries of fear and frustration, and He answered. I’m thankful!
So, technically, this is my very first tip; seek God and He will show you how to get through your season of anxiety. That is how I’m able to write this post. I do not take credit for the information here. All credit goes to God, who taught me how to get out of victim mode and conquer anxiety one strategy at a time.
Keep reading for more tips on powering through homeschooling and anxiety.
1. Establish a Relaxing Nighttime Routine.
Having a less stressful homeschool day starts with being well-rested. Unfortunately, anxiety and insomnia go hand in hand. Reduce your chances of experiencing insomnia by making a few minor changes to your nighttime routine to make it more relaxing. That means turning off all screens at least an hour before bed (two hours is even better). Blue light screens block the melatonin production you need to settle down. Be sure to stretch your body to encourage deep breathing, listen to peaceful music while you bathe or shower, pray or meditate, and read a good book in bed until you feel sleepy. Please note that the content of the book mustn’t contribute to your anxiety. If you still have trouble settling down, try listening to a peaceful music playlist or soothing sounds as you sleep. I love listening to instrumental piano music by DappyTKeys.
2. Look Your Best.
The saying goes: If you look good, you feel good. So, getting dressed can certainly help get you out of a mental funk. Here’s the deal; you’re not going to feel like getting dressed, but it’s essential to make as much of an effort as your bandwidth allows. Looking your best is not about looking like a supermodel every day. Some days you might have enough energy to put on a full face of makeup and a nice outfit, and other days you might only have enough energy for lip gloss and leggings. It’s not necessarily about what you look like but the energy you give to yourself. Getting ready for the day gives you a moment to take your mind off your worries and focus on YOU. Remember, you deserve to look good—even when you don’t feel good.
3. Banish It.
The Bible talks about banishing anxiety and casting it onto God. Sometimes we recite these scriptures but don’t live them out. Remember, “banish” and “cast” are verbs. That means there’s an action required on our part. We can’t just pray it away because faith without works is dead. So, what does banishing anxiety look like in a practical sense? Exercise. Lots of it. You’ll notice that if you jump or run during an anxiety attack, you’ll feel better. That’s because these exercises naturally train you to control your breathing and reduce your body’s primary stress hormone known as cortisol. Other ways to banish anxiety are to listen to a favorite song, spend time outdoors in nature, perform deep breathing exercises, or take the focus off yourself by helping someone in need. In other words, you are not just wishing anxiety away; you are doing something about it.
- Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)
- So then, banish anxiety from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body, for youth and vigor are meaningless. (Ecclesiastes 11:10)
4. Eat Sensibly.
Many people make poor food choices when they’re anxious. I know I do. It’s important to remember that the food you eat can either help lower your anxiety or trigger it. I know it’s difficult, but do limit sugar and other simple carbohydrates, which we crave when we’re anxious but can aggravate stress. Instead, opt for fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Think of sensible eating as providing your brain with the nutrients it needs to function at its best. When your brain is working at its best, so are you.
5. Just Do It.
Procrastination is one of those things that temporarily make us feel good initially, but over time it worsens anxiety. If your anxiety has led you to procrastinate important tasks, now is the time to stop the vicious cycle. Don’t worry; you don’t have to do all the things at once. Just start somewhere. Make a list of everything you need to get done and focus on executing one task at a time. Even though it may take a while to work through your list, just having a plan of action can make you feel much better and lower your stress levels. Consider downloading my Homeschool Management Planner to help ease the burden of planning.
6. Fill Yourself with Good Things.
What we take in can either feed or starve anxiety. What are you consuming daily? Pay close attention to your social media newsfeed, the television shows you watch, the type of music you listen to, and the people you surround yourself with. How do these things make you feel? Angry? Sad? Envious? Inferior? Gossipy? Anxious? If so, stick to things that leave you feeling joyous, peaceful, loving, encouraged, discerning, and faith-filled. We know that life isn’t always peaches and candy, but filling ourselves with good things can help us better handle the not-so-good things life brings our way.
7. Use Words as Weapons.
Words create worlds, including your thoughts. Be sure that your words aren’t creating a world of anxiety for you. What do your conversations sound like? Your self-dialogue? Are you constantly talking about, or meditating on, the “what ifs?” If so, no worries. All you need to do is renew your mind to create a world for yourself that is more conducive to peace. The best way to do this is by uttering scripture with a believing heart. Whatever you are feeling anxious about, find the solution in the scriptures and take them everywhere you go. When you start feeling worried about that particular situation, utter your scripture and use it as a weapon to counter your negative thoughts with a peaceful one.
8. Slow Down, Reflect, and Assess.
Sometimes, we know where our anxiety stems from, and sometimes it catches us off guard. If you are unaware of what’s making you feel anxious, it’s essential to slow down, reflect, and assess possible triggers. Slowing down could look many different ways. Sometimes, it means taking a homeschool break. Sometimes it means saying no to overcommitments. Sometimes it means getting that wellness checkup you’ve been putting off. Sometimes slowing down means fasting from unfruitful habits like scrolling social media. However you slow down, be sure to fill that newly opened space with lots of prayer and self-reflection to help you get to the root of your anxiety.
9. Get a Parking Lot Journal.
Any journal will do. The purpose of a parking lot journal is to write all your ideas, musings, reminders, and anxious thoughts on paper to get them off your mind. This practice ensures your mind is at ease when concentrating at work or resting at night. Just write the anxious thought down and tell yourself you’ll get back to them when you have time. Sometimes, just writing your thoughts down is enough to ease anxiety. But if the anxiety-inducing thought is a rational one, like how you’ll budget for a new AC unit to replace one that suddenly broke, you’ll need to write out a plan of action. Be sure to reread your journal every day and cross off every anxious thought you’ve addressed.
10. Don’t Struggle Alone.
Since chronic anxiety is not a visible illness, many suffer alone. It’s important to speak with a trusted person about what you’re experiencing. If the anxiety is severe enough to disrupt your day, please consult a licensed therapist. Having someone on your team helping you work through your anxiety will greatly ease your burden. Remember, suffering in silence only works to keep you bound.