Guest Post

Alcohol is Feeding Your Anxiety, Not Calming It

When I read about Ashley Longmire’s history with anxiety and subsequent treatment for substance abuse, I knew that I had to feature her as an expert here! Enjoy this wonderful post and please be sure to check out her other work!
— Celeste
alcohol is feeding your anxiety

“I deserve a break,” is a thought that ran through my head on a regular basis.

My chest was always tight. I burst into tears at the slightest provocation. Everything hurt my feelings, and everybody was an idiot (except me, of course). I don’t even want to admit how often I snapped at my children and everybody else who dared so much as a whisper in my direction.

Real life was that thing that got in the way of me “relaxing”. On any given day, I was counting down the hours or days until I could either escape, or dull, reality. The kids were too loud, the house was too messy, the bus came too early, and the bills never stopped.

 

I thought alcohol was a necessary vice, my savior from the daily stress. It was the only thing that never let me down, or so I thought. 

 

The first drink was always gone quickly. My anxiety would drop and my mood would rise instantly. By the end of my second drink, I felt like a completely normal, happy, relaxed person. A happy, relaxed person with a bit of a buzz, but not much. I rarely stopped at two drinks. It would just snowball from there.

 

I was anxious about everything all the time, but I didn’t even know it was anxiety. It was just life, the only thing I knew. I was always going, always solving problems, always planning ahead (worrying), always juggling everything for everybody. The world was on my shoulders, and I could not afford to slow down.

anxiety at work

 

Now that I’m approaching two years sober, I’ve learned a lot about anxiety and alcohol that I hope inspires others who struggle. These are just a few of the many lessons I’ve learned:

  • ·      Self-medicating with alcohol or other substances only stunted my emotional development.

We have emotions for a reason. Using alcohol to quiet or run from them only prolongs the struggle.

  • ·      Enjoying a drink from time to time, and needing a drink are two very different things. 

When I quit drinking, the chaos in my head slowed down. I started dealing with my emotions instead of running from them and pushing them away like mosquitos buzzing around my head. It didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen.

The more we use or drink, the more anxious most of us become over time. In the days following a binge-drinking episode, I was a mess of nerves. Even if I only had 2-3 drinks, I would feel the emotional effects. I would drink again a few days later to calm the anxiety, and the cycle continued. 

I made jokes about being a robot, about being emotionless. Turns out, I’m not emotionless. I never was. It’s just that I was numb, and I used alcohol to cope with trauma that I couldn’t bring myself to face. It’s scary to me how long it took me to realize that alcohol was holding me back. Way too long.

 

anxiety affects children

Most importantly, and most humiliating for me to admit, is that I was not the mother that my children needed and deserved. That’s a hard truth for any parent to face, but it’s an important one.

 

For at least 7 years, my decision to self-medicate with alcohol affected my children in different ways.

 

I never drank around them, and they never saw me drunk or even knew that I drank, but that didn’t matter. I couldn’t handle the stresses of life sober, and that showed up in many ways that affected them.

 

There is no way I would be a fit guide for them now, had I not quit drinking. It would be like you trying to follow a guide through a dense forest full of predators and poisons, but with a guide who has never been in the woods before, and keeps whining to go back home. Yikes.

 

Now that I’m sober, not only am I less anxious overall, I am also better equipped to guide my children through the emotional upheaval of growing up. They are preteens now, so you can imagine the range of emotions that we experience on a daily basis.

 

I can say with complete certainty and gratitude that my life is so, so much better since I stopped using alcohol to deal with anxiety. 

 

It never ceases to amaze me how most of the time, the solution to our problem is right in front of us. That was certainly true in my case. 

 

We only get one life, and I’m finally living mine honestly. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to rebuild my life.

 

 

 

ashley longmire anxiety and alcohol

Ashley is a military spouse, mom, stepmom, and Christian who calls Mississippi home. She writes about mental health, recovery, and parenting on her blog at bloominash.com. In addition to blogging, she loves building beautiful and profitable websites for bloggers and business owners (ashleylongmire.com). One of her #1 goals is to write and publish a book by the end of 2018. Her long-term dream is to travel the country in an RV with her family, working and connecting with inspiring entrepreneurs all over the country. Connect with her at @bloominash on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

Using Scripture for Anxiety

The beautiful Danielle Roberts of Legacy Creative Co. was generous enough to write a beautiful guest post for us today about how she found the Bible to be a source of inspiration and comfort as she dealt with anxiety of a miscarriage. I know you’ll enjoy her story!
— Celeste
using scripture for anxiety

I am a Navy veteran and at the time, we were living on Oahu, Hawaii where I was serving, which is the most secluded place in the world, and that’s how I felt at that place in my life. Fall 2014, I had the worst depression of my adult life. I had many suicidal thoughts and wondered why it was that I was having to go through these experiences.

At the same time, I started experiencing the anxiety, which was totally new to me. And we found out we were pregnant with our son. People don’t understand that when you have anxiety, it effects all areas of your life and you can have irrational fears. 

For me, that fear manifested into miscarrying my son. And while I made it through that pregnancy and delivered our third child, my fear of miscarriage became real a few weeks ago. I was only 5-6 weeks pregnant. Because I felt like something was wrong, I hadn’t allowed myself to become attached to the pregnancy or believe that I was pregnant. In the end, I lost my baby. God was with me in that hard time and in a strange way, I feel blessed to have gone through that experience, because I can relate better to other women and walk through them with a new commonality. While the experience is something I don’t want any woman to have to go through, it happens. And it’s hard.

Between November 2016 and January 2017, I wrote and edited my devotional book, Created for This, the following verses kept coming up in my life. I wrote a devotional on anxiety based on this passage, and it’s a powerful passage, but maybe one we have heard a lot. Go slowly through these words and let them soak into your heart and mind.

Matthew 6:25-34 says,

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

As women, we worry. We focus on tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow and next week, and next year. Matthew 6:34 says that it can worry about itself. And it can. And God knows tomorrow and He is there.

The Bible teaches to focus and pray on today in Matthew 6:11, – “give us today our daily bread.” And it says don’t worry because Jesus is enough to calm your anxiety. He knows your tomorrow, and He’ll be there with you. He wants to be on your journey with you, no matter what that entails. I know that my journey with depression and anxiety probably will continue, but through prayer, he’s helped give me a different perspective. By focusing on His words through meditation, affirmations and repeating Bible verses to myself, I am able to focus on the truth. And through the darkest moments of my day, God is the shiny light that is leading and guiding me. 

He’s the God of yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is there! And yes, we don’t know what tomorrow holds, but he is worthy of our trust. He’s a big God.

    Bio: Danielle Roberts wants to encourage you to deeply know Jesus. As an online business manager, she spends her days working with entrepreneurs to develop their business strategy and handling their day to day. As a wife and a mom, she strives to keep her family a priority and maintain a solid relationship with her husband. She loves coffee, Jesus, date night and chasing after her kids. Connect with her on her website daniellemroberts.com or find her on Instagram Instagram.com/Danielle.m.roberts where she shares what it is really like to be a working mom of faith.

 

Bio: Danielle Roberts wants to encourage you to deeply know Jesus. As an online business manager, she spends her days working with entrepreneurs to develop their business strategy and handling their day to day. As a wife and a mom, she strives to keep her family a priority and maintain a solid relationship with her husband. She loves coffee, Jesus, date night and chasing after her kids. Connect with her on her website daniellemroberts.com or find her on Instagram Instagram.com/Danielle.m.roberts where she shares what it is really like to be a working mom of faith.


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3 Practices to Calm New Mom Anxiety

Sleepless nights. Early morning feedings. And fatigue you just can’t sleep off! Welcome to life with a newborn!

As mothers we love our children dearly, but getting through those first few months of motherhood can make even the most prepared and organized woman, feel stressed out and overwhelmed. As a mom of three crazy kids I’ve learned that doing a few simple strategies can make a huge difference in a new mom’s health and happiness.

Here are three simple strategies!

newborn mom anxiety

Breath

With a new baby you might feel like you don’t have time to do anything for yourself. However, yogic breathing practices (pranayama) relieve anxiety quickly and you can do it anytime and anywhere.

Here’s how it works:

While your baby is napping or feeding, sit still and close your eyes. Settle into your body and turn your awareness to your breath. As you inhale count slowly to 4 (in your head). As you exhale count slowly to 6. This uneven breath emphases the exhalation, which calms the nervous system and brings your mind and body into a more peaceful state.

 

Sing it out

Babies love to hear beautiful sounds. And as a new mom, singing to your little one can help calm her and YOU at the same time.

Here’s how it works:

This stress relieving strategy is similar to yogic chanting. Sing your favorite lullaby or ballad. This type of song will force you to take a deep inhale, then slowly release the exhale in the form of beautiful sounding notes. Hence calming your nervous system.

 

Strike a (yoga) pose

Newborns love to get face time with their mommy. This practice is a great way to entertain her and fit in some stress releasing yoga postures at the same time.

Here’s how it works:

Folding your body forward at the hips in a seated forward fold helps to calm your nerves by increasing your exhale and turning your focus inward. To do this mommy and me version of seated forward fold, sit down on the floor, with your legs extended. Place your baby on your legs laying on his back. Inhale as you sit up tall, then exhale folding at your hips to bring your face close to your baby’s face. Hold this posture for a few breaths. (Bonus points if you sing and apply kisses to your little one’s cheeks). Do this as many times as you like.

 

Having a newborn in the house is enough to make any woman feel like she’s going just a bit crazy. But with some simple yoga-based tweaks you can make it through survival mode and look forward to sunnier days with your new little bundle!

 

yoga for new mothers

Keya Williams is a Yoga Lifestyle Consultant, teaching busy moms how to use yoga to juggle life and kids without burning out! Could you use more simple ways to bring more peace to your mom life? Check out Keya’s FREE video and learn her 3-step system to help you do motherhood with more ease and joy! www.Nourished-Motherhood/video


Are you a mom struggling to get it all done?  Check out our freebie to help you take charge of your schedule!

As a new mom, I struggled with anxiety over everything! Was my baby breathing? What if she rolls onto her stomach in the night? Is she going to get enough sleep tonight so that I can rest, too? WOW! I’m so glad Keya Williams of Nourished Motherhood could guest post for me today here on the blog.
— Celeste

Celebrate Failure!

Kathryn created a roundup of some of her best articles for self-care. Check them out!
— Celeste
17 self care pros talk about anxiety relief

Open your heart with yoga and mindfulness: http://www.healthysolutionsofsv.com/kathryn-media-...

Embrace all activities as learning opportunities: http://www.healthysolutionsofsv.com/kathryn-media-...

Celebrate failure: http://www.makewellnessfun.com/fallingfailing-good...

Kathryn Kemp Guylay, MBA, Certified Nutritional Counselor

kathrynguylay.com

Kathryn’s Make Wellness Fun website Kathryn’s Facebook page Kathryn’s Twitter page Kathryn’s Instagram page The Instagram page for Give It a Go, Eat a Rainbow Kathryn’s website for Mountain Mantras book Kathryn’s website for Give it a Go, Eat a Rainbow book


You joined a gym, right?  Why not join an online "gym" for your anxiety relief, too?  Our entire resource library is available here:

People Aren't Thinking About You... And it's a good thing

So simple, but such life-changing advice! I love that Lilah Higgins shared this today for our Anxiety Relief from 17 Self-Care Pros series.
— Celeste
lilah higgins self care pros anxiety relief

One step at a time. You don't have to do everything or be everything to everyone. Find out what you love and do those things, let everything else fall down your priority list.

Try to tune out the noise and what you assume people think of you. They're most likely not thinking of you at all and it's easier to function when you realize that.

Get a coach or someone who can mentor you honestly.

Lilah Higgins, Brand Designer and Biz Mentor

www.thehigginscreative.com

The Higgins Creative - @thehigginscreative (Instagram) www.thehigginscreative.com/facebook

 


Need an honest look at where your personal self-care is lacking?  Try our private assessment completed by a professional therapist.

Beat Shoulder Pain & Muscle Tension from Anxiety

Don’t we all suffer from tension in the back and shoulders? It’s certainly where I feel stress the most. Katie gives us a fabulous pose to try as she rounds out our Anxiety Relief Tips from 17 Self-Care Pros series.
— Celeste
anxiety relief

I carry a lot of tension in my shoulders. When I'm feeling especially anxious I do a yoga move called Garudasana Arms (Eagle Pose).

Inhale and take the arms out to the sides and up to shoulder height. Exhale and cross the right elbow over the left and bring the hands together, either palms together or hooking the fingers around the mound of the thumb.

Extend from the middle of the back between the shoulder blades out through the elbows, spreading the shoulder blades away from the spine. Lift the elbows up with the fingers and forearms pointing straight up towards the ceiling, and take the upper arms parallel to the floor.

Lift and broaden the top of the chest up into the space created by the forearms coming together. Spiral the forearms around each other, rolling the upper forearm and palm away from you.

Hold the position for several breaths.

Bring the arms back out to the side and repeat, bringing the left elbow on top this time.

 

Katie E Flores, Certified Holistic Health Coach

www.KatieEFlores.com

IG: katieeflores, FB fb.com/katiefloresfanpage

 


If muscle tension, shoulder pain, and back pain are part of your day, try out our Stress Skills Deeper Dive.  You'll receive some great resources for working out those muscular challenges.

 

Go Barefoot for Anxiety Relief - With Irena Miller

Continuing our self-care roundup, today we have Irena Miller with some amazingly helpful resources.
— Celeste

Did you know that walking outside barefoot is a great way to release anxiety? Or burying your feet in the sand? It's a wonderful way to calm the nervous system. If you can't get outside, here is a yoga short 11 minute Happy Feet Yoga Video that will help reduce anxiety. http://www.irenamiller.com/yoga-feet

Thoughts and worries crowding your mind? No room to breathe? The Burning Bowl Ceremony is designed to help you let go of the things that are no longer serving you. Watch the video here: http://www.irenamiller.com/inklings-burning-bowl

Do making decisions cause you anxiety? Here is an effective way to let go of the anxiety and make effective decisions that you are happy with! It is a 'finger walking' meditation, see the details here: http://www.irenamiller.com/chartres-meditation

Irena Miller, Certified Yoga Teacher, E-RYT 500 500 - Yoga with Irena


Try out our FREE Anxiety Trigger Tracking Course to find out what's really causing your stress.

Anxiety Advice with Peggy Galdamez

Today we’re back with more tips in our Self-Care Advice series. Peggy Galdamez shares some wonderful tips with us.
— Celeste

Find your safe place. Where is it that you feel the safest and go there. Perhaps accompanying this with some breathing techniques to help re-center yourself.

Have a consistent routine that you can count on, depend on and rely on. Take it in small increments too throughout your day if that is helpful. What can you get through in the first 10 minutes, then the next 10 minutes, and so on.

Do something that provides or creates an outlet for yourself to help cope, deal with the anxiety, or provides you with your own version of "therapy". This can come in many forms such as movement, journaling, painting, cleaning... etc.

Peggy Galdamez, Health and Wellness Coach

yourhealthcoachpeggy@gmail.com


Hands up if you're stressed!  

Our Anxiety Trigger Tracking Course can help you see what's actually causing those late-night worry sessions.

Trust Yourself To Get Through Anxious Moments

It’s always a blast to feature another professional therapist. Today you’re getting a wonderful article from Ili Walter.
— Celeste
17 self care pros give anxiety advice

My approach to anxiety is not an approach for an anxious moment. It is an approach that addresses how to feel anxiety, recognize it, and its message, and still make your best choice--one that is not based on anxiety. My tips are based on learning to cultivate trust in yourself--a belief that you can get through anxious moments--as well as listening to a variety of messages, anxiety being just one of those many messages.

One tip for beginning to listen differently is to start making a distinction between your voice and anxiety's voice. For example, you can ask yourself, "What fear is anxiety bringing up? And then, counter it with, "What do I know to be true that directly counters that fear?”

There is great benefit in taking up a challenging physical or creative pursuit, because it quiets the mind. Great examples include running, weight-bearing exercises, pottery, playing an instrument, etc. Time spent in the creative activity, over time, teaches you that you are capable of reaching new goals, and it helps you gain trust in your strengths and abilities. If you already have an activity, what do you notice about it's [should not have an apostrophe]ability to quiet anxiety? If you don't already have an activity, what activity would you like to begin? Start now, and take small steps.

Consider, what is your relationship to anxiety? It is a relationship of hatred, avoidance, curiosity? Take some time to define your relationship as well as how it helps and prohibits the development of the kind of relationship you'd like to have. Change your stance in the relationship, based on what it is now and what you'd like to to be. For example, if it is now a relationship of avoidance, you may want to begin acknowledging anxiety regularly. If it is currently a relationship of hatred, what can you do to promote a relationship of acceptance?

Ili Walter, LMFT, Therapist Coach - Family Therapy Basicsfamilytherapybasics.com

@iliwalter


We get it - anxiety is challenging enough.  But just give our 5-Day Anxiety Challenge a try... it's the easiest challenge you'll probably ever complete!

Free Yourself from the Anxiety of Perfectionism

Donna offers the sweetest graphics at Mamas Magic. Check out her tips below!
— Celeste
17 self care pros give anxiety advice

Free yourself from perfectionism. Better is good enough. Small changes add to big results.

Remember what you loved as a child. What made you happy? Do that. Even 15 minutes a week takes you back to that carefree time and calms the crazy.

Donna Moon, Magic Mama

www.mamasmagic.net

fb: @mamasmagictomballtx; pinterest: mamas magic

 

mamas moon self-care self care for anxiety

Have you joined our anxiety and stress management community on Facebook?  Click the image to join now!

Confronting the Lies of Anxiety - 3 Self-Care Tips (Including a Resource for Anxious Kids)

I really admire Samantha McDonald for her resiliency in dealing with life as a special needs mom. It was an honor to share her anxiety self-care tips in our roundup this week.
— Celeste
Self care for anxiety

My top tip for my clients to help relieve anxiety is called "Truth vs. Lies". Write out all the statements you are saying to yourself, such as "I'll never have enough money to pay bills" or "I'm so worried about how my child is doing in 2nd grade". Next to those write 1 truth regarding each statement - "I was able to buy groceries this month" or "My son got an A on his last spelling test". This exercise will help you recognize when your anxieties are unfounded or if there is any truth to them.

As a family coach, and a special needs mom myself, one of my top recommendations for anxious children, is a "Calm Down Box". Take any type of container and fill it with items that you know help your child relax. Play-doh, hand fidgets, light-up balls, kinetic sand, for example. When you see them becoming anxious, give them their calm down box and watch them have fun.

As a family coach, and a special needs mom, one of my favorite tools for my own anxious children is to get them moving. When my daughter is struggling with homework, or loud noises in the house, we tell her to go ride her bike, take the dog for a walk, or her favorite, jump on the trampoline. For our son it's Pokemon GO or also the trampoline. It's amazing how re-directing them to an activity helps their brains handle anxiety-filled moment so much better.

Samantha McDonald, Life & Family Coach - Living With Real Joy

http://livingwithrealjoy.com/

https://www.facebook.com/livingwithrealjoyhttps://twitter.com/livingrealjoyhttps://www.pinterest.com/livingrealjoy/


If your kids struggle with anxiety, too, check out our freebie:

Erase Regret... Eliminate Worry

Today is a really special day, because I love sharing this advice from my colleague, Erik Andress. Erik curates the podcast I co-host, The How To Be A Grownup Podcast. I hope you’ll check it out, and I know you’ll love Erik’s inspiration! He continues with our Anxiety Advice from 17 Self-Care Pros series.
— Celeste
Self care anxiety advice

Remember that no amount of regret will change the events of your past and no amount of worrying will dictate the future. Breathe deeply and as you exhale, know that you are a person of powerful worth and you are very much in control of the way that you perceive and react to your experiences!

Erik Andress, Educator and Podcaster - How To Be A Grownup

www.soundcloud.com/Erik-Andress

Twitter and Instagram: @erikandress


Our Stress Skills Deeper Dive course is filled with powerful anxiety coping strategies.  Check it out!

How Acting Like a Cat Can Resolve Anxiety

We continue with our Tips from 17 Self-Care Pros today, and I loved this creative advice from Selina Almodovar.
— Celeste
self care for anxiety

Start Talking To Yourself! (Speak in your own love language)

Do What Your Cat Does (they sleep, they eat, and they take really good grooming care of themselves- which of those are you lacking?)

Create Your Oceanview (use/create/visit an image that often soothes and brings instant calmness into your life, I.e. Sunset, beach, desert, garden, etc)

Selina Almodovar, Relationship Coach

www.selinaalmodovar.com

@SelinaAlmodovar


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