Bad News Got You Down Lately, Mama? Mental Health Check-In Time! – With all the bad news circulating (a nation divided on reproductive rights, formula shortages, and school shootings to name a few…), it’s so easy to fall into a pattern of non-stop worrying. If your anxiety has been on the rise, it’s time for a check-in! Do a check-in on your mental health with these calming questions right here on Newsymom!
If you’ve been glued to the news channels or scrolling through your For You page on TikTok, you might’ve seen a lot of bad news. It seems the entire United States is suffering as our government tries to get a grip on how to assist with formula shortages, school shootings, and reproductive rights issues. Top it off with labor shortages, stagnant wages, rising costs, and the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, it’s easy to feel helpless.
As a mom, it’s easy for us to FEEL all the pain and suffering. Our mama-mode kicks in and we just want to reach out and care for EVERYTHING…make all the hurt stop… protect our children…
The reality is this: One person can’t do it all. So before you start spiraling into those thoughts of non-stop worry, calmly reassure yourself by asking these questions:
“Are my worries based on reality?”
The worst questions that spike your anxiety normally start with “What if…?” Creating scenarios that haven’t happened yet take your mind through a spiral of worry that won’t help you or your mental health. For example, with the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia, there’s been chatter of the war potentially spreading further beyond Ukraine. A “What If?” spiral could look like,
“What if Russia invades another country? What if the United States gets involved? What if my son is drafted? What if…?”
You see how easy it was to spiral? Now you’re worrying about events that haven’t taken place and bring yourself down in the process. It hasn’t happened, therefore, that’s not the reality. Be aware of current events, but don’t let your imagination take you to a dark place!
“Can I do something that makes an immediate impact or change?”
When it comes to the thing you’re worrying about, is there something that you can do that will immediately change or make an impact to where you won’t have that worry anymore? If not, that worry is going to drag down your mental health.
For instance, let’s say your child is getting bullied at school. You can definitely change the course of worry through a variety of ways: informing the school, getting the bully’s parents/teachers involved in disciplining the bully, teaching your child self defense (or taking them to a class) to have better odds of protection, taking them to see a therapist to express their feelings, etc.
On the flip side, let’s take the devastation of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas as an example of things beyond our control. (Stay with me for a moment.) Though it hurts us as moms to see other parents experience the loss of their kids, there isn’t anything we can do for those children whose lives were already taken. That’s why it hurts us so bad. This situation was beyond anyone’s control except the shooter. He had the gun; he made his choice long before he arrived to hurt people.
You can still be the change you want to see…
However, as moms with an ignited passion for protecting our children, we CAN get involved in the prevention of an incident happening here at home through various ways: joining PTA meetings or Neighborhood Watch programs, teaching our children what to do if there’s an emergency, and getting involved with local police to help boost your community’s safety and security! You could also look into private school or home-schooling if you feel public school isn’t the safest option anymore.
If you’re still worrying about said thing after those questions, try asking yourself this final question to put the “What If?” to rest: (Writing the answers will help!)
“What is the best case scenario, worst case scenario, and the most realistic scenario?”
Let’s do an example!
Here’s the worry: I’m having trouble making ends meet this month: We’re going to be homeless.
Best case scenario: You received a surprise amount of birthday money to make your rent on time. Woo-hoo!
Worst case scenario: You don’t have enough to make your rent on time. The choice was between food or shelter and food won. You’re at risk of an eviction. However, you could communicate with your landlord about an arrangement and hope for the best. An eviction takes about a month anyway, so you have that time to find somewhere to go if they aren’t understanding.
Most realistic scenario: You don’t have enough for rent right now, but you already applied for rent assistance through a community organization (such as the Stark County Community Action Agency) and are pending approval. You’ve already let your landlord know, who is more than willing to cooperate with the process. They don’t want to incur the expenses for an eviction, meaning you will not be homeless! Go you!
Mama, the next time you come across your spiraling worries, use those questions and these resources to help you care for your mental health:
- Dealing With Mom Guilt
- 8 Self-Care Tips for Moms and Caregivers
- It’s Not Selfish to Focus on Your Health
Take care of yourself, mama. If you lose your mind, who else can brave the storm you battle everyday?
Motherhood is full of ups and downs, but you don’t have to do it alone. The SCCAA Community Actions Pathway HUB is available for pregnant and new mothers in need of support, education, and community services.