When you live with PTSD, or any anxiety disorder, you know to be ready for an episode any day, any time. Symptoms can range from mild to severe; an episode could mean heightened awareness of other people’s micro-expressions, or it could mean a full-on, totally debilitating panic attack. Anxiety won’t wait. It doesn’t care where you are, who you’re with, or what you need to do. The other day, I watched a member of my peer support group gasp for air in front of everyone after sharing her experience of loneliness. She ultimately had to be wheeled to a medical floor until she was calm again. Anxiety allows its victim no dignity.
As a mother living with an anxiety disorder, I have an intimate knowledge of the disruption which anxiety can wreak upon daily living. But all of us mothers, hyperanxious or not, know that we don’t get ‘sick days.’ We can’t triage extended self care into our schedules, no matter how much we need it.
The abuse which caused my PTSD was prolonged and severe. The symptoms, therefore, likewise. I also live in the Pacific Northwest, where we receive abundant servings of yucky, rain drenched days. Between the weather and my moods, I spend a lot of time indoors with my kids. Don’t worry, they get lots of physical activity at daycare, and I do make a special effort to go out when the weather is nice. The truth is, however, that a lot of our time together is spent indoors, and that I spend a lot of it trying to covertly treat my anxiety. As a result, I have created an arsenal of simple, kid-friendly indoor activities that also provide secret opportunities for mindfulness and other forms of de-stressing.
If you’re a mama, papa, grandparent, or some other person who spends lots of time with young children, and you’re also prone to bouts of anxiety, give these six activities a try!