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Anxiety, Stress & Coping
August 11, 2022
This Working Mom’s Advice For Anxiety Management

Joy Friesen

Working mom is distracted by her daughter giving her a hug from behind.

What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is the anticipation of an upcoming problem. For example, you may feel anxious about going to the dentist, an upcoming test, meeting new people, or making a big decision such as buying a house or switching schools. It’s completely normal to feel anxious in these situations. Anxiety is even beneficial in some situations: it can help you notice a potentially dangerous situation, focus your attention, and determine a safe course of action. 

It’s normal to feel anxious in certain situations. For example, you might feel anxious about an upcoming job interview. You’re nervous because you really want the job and there’s a risk that you won’t get it. So you prepare for the interview and do extra brainstorming to be at your best. In this situation, the feeling of anxiety helped you recognize a risk. You then focused on the next steps and determined safe actions. 

Below is a simple breakdown of the process:

  1. Identify the cause of anxiety (upcoming job interview)
  2. Recognize the risk (you really want the job but might not get it)
  3. Take safe actions (prepare for the job interview, relax) 

2 Easy Coping Skills For Anxiety

Breathing Exercise

When we experience anxiety, we can feel breathless or even gasp for air. We often take shallow, rapid breaths, which may cause hyperventilation. Breathing exercises can help our body calm down. When doing this exercise, it’s important to follow the steps exactly, especially the number of seconds you inhale and exhale for. Pursed lip breathing is one of the easiest breathing exercises. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Sit with your back straight, shoulders square, and both hands on your lap (or lie down if you prefer).
  2. Inhale through your nose for two seconds, filling your abdomen. You should feel the air move into your abdomen. 
  3. Purse your lips like you’re blowing a kiss, then breathe out slowly for four seconds.  
  4. Repeat at least seven times or until you feel relaxed. 

Grounding Technique

The goal of the grounding technique is to use your five senses and focus on the present moment. When we’re anxious, our mind often wanders in different directions and can lead to catastrophic thinking. 5-4-3-2-1 is a simple grounding technique that can help you calm anxious thoughts. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Begin by doing the pursed lip breathing exercise at least three times.
  2. Observe:
  • What are 5 things you can see?
  • What are 4 things you can feel?
  • What are 3 things you can hear?
  • What are 2 things you can smell?
  • What is 1 thing you can taste?

It’s not easy to learn these coping skills overnight, but with practice and an open mind, it’s possible! I hope these techniques will help you better manage your anxiety. 

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