When I Feel Anxious

2020 has been a year like no other, but you don’t need me to tell you that. We’ve all been living it! A global pandemic, mounting social justice issues, civil unrest, a polarizing election. This year has been A LOT!

Over the last 8 months, I have surfed the waves of anxiety and I’m pretty confident I’m not the only one. At times, it’s been easy to let the circumstances of this year overwhelm me. And now, as we near the holiday season, with COVID cases increasing every day, I feel the waves of anxiety starting to churn again. I have been here before, most notably back in March.

I flipped through my journal to something I wrote on March 17, 2020. It was written just a few days after everything began to shut down. Anxiety was starting to rear its ugly head. I felt it mentally and physically. In that moment, I turned to the coping mechanisms that work for me like yoga, grounding techniques like boxed breathing and the 5-4-3-2-1 exercise, limiting my social media and news intake, and listening to music. Most importantly, as a follower of Jesus, I turned to the Bible. I started to identify verses that were encouraging and filled with truth to help center my thoughts and shift my focus. In some of my most anxious moments, meditating on the truth of these verses has helped me to refocus. Today, I want to share a few of my favorites with you. If you’re like me and battling some anxiety, I hope you find these verses encouraging!

Feeling anxious? What coping mechanisms do you turn to manage anxiety?


Reflecting on Chapter 30

Today I celebrate my 31st birthday!

Before I turned 30, I created a “30 Things for Year 30” bucket list that included 30 things I wanted to do in my 30th year of life. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been thinking about that bucket list and all the things I didn’t accomplish, which ultimately made me feel like I failed myself. What a way to prepare for a birthday celebration! Sick of feeling disappointed, I took an honest look at that bucket list this weekend.

This year couldn’t have been as bad as I thought, right?

As I looked at my list, I was pleasantly surprised to see how much I could actually check off my list and the areas I was making progress in.

30 Things for Year 30

  • Get a tattoo
  • Visit California
    • We started planning our trip, then COVID hit 😥.
  • Write at least one blog post/month ✅
    • I started writing for Indianapolis Moms and have been providing content monthly. You can check out my work here.
    • I also started a new series for my personal blog called Mama Spotlight, giving other moms the opportunity to share their insights on motherhood.
  • Take a dance class ✅ (sorta)
    • With our YMCA membership we got access to LES MILLS On Demand and I actually did a few dance classes from the comfort of my own living room. I still want to take a formal dance class, either with a hip hop or jazz or modern focus. Maybe I’ll do all 3!
  • Read 6 new books ✅
    • I actually “read” a few books, if you count audio books as reading.
      • Becoming by Michelle Obama
      • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
      • White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
      • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
      • I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown
      • Camino Island by John Grisham
  • Take a cooking class
  • Journal more ✅
    • In a way, blogging is like my journal. The things I write about often reflect thoughts, feelings, situation, etc that I have experience and already processed. My physical journal still has its place in my life and it always will.
  • Plan a girls trip with friends
  • Redecorate my bedroom ✅
    • This is currently in progress and I love the updates we have made so far!
  • Participate in a 5k
  • Go to a concert
  • Go to the movies alone ✅
    • I’ve watched several movies alone. Does that count? lol I doubt I will be visiting a movie theater anytime soon.
  • Try a new class at the gym ✅
    • I tried 2 new classes at the gym this year, Body Pump and Cardio Dance. I also started practicing yoga this year which has been great! I love the sense of calm and control it has given me.
  • Build muscle strength, tone
  • Buy one new clothing item a month ✅
    • I didn’t do this every month, but I did invest more in my wardrobe. I do not like to spend money on myself so every bit of progress in this area is good!
  • Volunteer
  • Find a new hobby ✅
    • Right now, I am experimenting with chalk paint. I want to share my projects with you soon!
    • And let’s not forget writing!
  • Study the Bible more ✅
    • I recently started getting up early each morning to spend time reading the Bible and praying. It’s helped me to start my day with a fresh perspective.
  • Learn to do my makeup ✅
    • One of my friends is so creative when it comes to makeup. I got some tips from her that I have implemented occasionally. I feel like this will be an area that I continue to explore and grow in.
  • Establish a better skincare routine ✅
    • I have established a morning and night routine. This year I have been experimenting with different products to find what will work best for my skin. After the birth of my daughter, my skin just hasn’t been the same. I’m currently using SheaMoisture African Black Soap Facial System Kit.
  • Take a fun family trip
  • Take a writing course
  • Eat better; focus on whole, plant based foods ✅
    • I have experimented with more plant based meals and want to continue to do so. I try to incorporate at least one plant based or vegetarian meal into my weekly meal plan.
  • Make a new friend ✅
    • I’ve made several new friends this year! We moved into a new neighborhood and started attending a new church which has allowed me to connect with several new people.
  • Don’t be afraid to say no; set boundaries
  • Go dancing with friends
  • Try more local restaurants ✅
    • We haven’t eaten at a restaurant in a while, but some of the places I remember trying this year are Blind Owl Brewery, ThaiTanium, Sangiovese, Taxman Brewery, and 101 Beer Kitchen.
  • Unplug for a day (or weekend)
  • Have a spa day
  • Splurge on myself at least once

While I may not have been able to do everything on my bucket list, I am proud of the things I have done. As I reflect back on why I made this list in the first place, I remember that the list was about me beginning to dream again and taking care of myself!

As a wife and mom, working full time, my needs often take a backseat to all my other responsibilities. Last year, I was beginning to feel like I was losing myself. I needed to pursue my passions. I needed to explore. I needed to learn. I needed to grow.

I’m looking ahead to chapter 31 with great anticipation!


Lessons Learned in Quarantine

Within the last month, our lives have slowly started to return to “normal.” Our kids returned to daycare and I am now working from the office one to two times a week. We have also resumed visits with our immediate family and a handful of friends.

From the middle of March to the beginning of June, our family of four was quarantined together, spending all day, everyday with no one else but each other. There was the occasional drive by to see grandparents, but those visits were few and far between. With two parents working full time, a preschooler, and a newly walking toddler all under one roof there were plenty of lessons learned. Today, I’m sharing four of the most important lessons quarantine taught me.

Lesson 1: It takes a village. 

The African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child” couldn’t have become more clear to me than during quarantine. In March, we made the decision to pull our kids out of daycare. Social distancing meant no visits with grandparents, no play dates with friends, and no church. We were now the sole caretakers for our children. While I understand that is my role as a parent, we rely on so many others, like their daycare teachers, our parents, friends, and church community to help raise and guide our children as they grow and develop. In a matter of days, that village was ripped away from us. We wore the hats of parent, friend, playmate, teacher, and chef. Sometimes all at the same time. Let’s not forget our other responsibilities of spouse and employee. It was very exhausting. Needless to say, I have a greater appreciation for our village.

Lesson 2: Community is essential. 

I’m so grateful for my friends and church family. Just like our village was torn away from us, we were no longer seeing our friends. Thank goodness for all the tools we now have available to connect with others virtually. Under stay-at-home orders, I connected virtually with friends and my small group at church almost weekly. Those check-ins filled me with encouragement, hope, and joy. They also gave me a safe place to vent and share my frustrations. Even though quarantine changed what community looked like, it remained essential and will always be important to me. I don’t know what I would have done without all of my friends.

Lesson 3: Enjoy the ordinary, everyday moments. 

Quarantine was filled with ordinary moments that I sometimes took for granted before stay-at-home orders went into effect.With nowhere to go and nothing to do, it was easy to find the joy in the everyday experience of doing life with my family. Tickle fights with my one year old. A midweek movie night with my oldest. Staying up late, binge watching the latest Netflix series. Sleeping in (sort of…if you have young kids you know that sleeping in doesn’t really happen). Eating meals together as a family. Midday walks in the park. All these ordinary moments seemed to be magnified during quarantine. As things begin to return to “normal,” I don’t want to take the ordinary, everyday moments for granted. It’s in those moments that the best memories are made.

Lesson 4: It’s good to slow down. 

Our calendar was suddenly empty. There were no evening commitments that required us to leave the house. No weekend events to work around. At most, my husband continued the weekly grocery trip, but outside of that we literally had nothing to do and nowhere to go. Our lives took on a much slower pace, which if I’m honest was much needed. As a working parent, I was starting to feel the pressure of trying to “balance” it all. With an empty calendar, I suddenly felt a little sense of relief and freedom. I actually hope this slower pace is something that we can continue to cultivate as life returns to “normal.”

When COVID-19 began to spread, I could have never imagined we would be where we are now. I could have never imagined I would be working from home with my kids for over two months. I could have never imagined that I would be isolated from family and friends. I could have never imagined I would be forced to slow down. I could have never imagined the sweet moments I would experience with my family. I could have never imagined any of this. But I know now that if, or when, we are forced back into our homes for an extended period of time, the lessons I have learned over the last few months will guide me through.

Photo by cottonbro on

Hello 2020!

Happy New Year!!

As I lay in my bed this morning and think about 2019, the word that comes to mind is challenging. When you read that word, it may carry an err of negativity, but for me, the struggles I endured in 2019, while difficult in the moment, resulted in some of the greatest growth I’ve experienced in my life.

Thinking about 2020, the first word that comes to mind is simplify. For me, that means slowing down, focusing on what is most important, letting the non-essentials go, relaxing the expectations I have of myself, and creating space for me.

Hello 2020! Let’s see what you have in store!


Three Lessons From Therapy

Today is World Mental Health Day. I’m so grateful that people are beginning to have more conversations around mental health and that the associated stigma is starting to diminish.

If you’ve been following my blogging journey, you may know that earlier this year I struggled with my own mental health issue after the birth of my daughter. Like most new moms, I loved my baby so much. She was a complete joy, but something felt off on the inside. I didn’t really have words to describe what I was feeling. I just knew something was different. I was tired, irritable, sad, and disconnected from those around me. Long story short, I decided to seek the help of a therapist so that I could start sorting through my feelings. In my first session, the therapist asked me about postpartum depression (PPD). I didn’t think I was depressed because I wasn’t exhibiting what I thought were the “typical” signs of PPD. I loved my child. I didn’t want to hurt myself. But as I read more about the condition, I realized that what I was feeling and experiencing was actually indicative of PPD and anxiety. I later talked to my doctor and she confirmed what I already knew to be true. To work towards healing, I decided to continue therapy and invited my husband to join me. We’ve been doing couples therapy now for about 6 months and it has made a huge difference, primarily, helping us navigate through some of the challenges of life with two young kids.

Here are 3 lessons I’ve learned through therapy:

Lesson 1. Perspective matters.

One of the first things we talked about in therapy was perspective. The lens through which you view the world matters. Your thoughts matter. What you think about will eventually manifest. Focusing on negative things brings about negativity. Positive thoughts bring positivity. I’m learning that in order for positivity to flow in my life, I need to fill my mind with positive things. One Bible verse that speaks to this is Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” I keep a plaque on my desk at work with those words to keep me focused.

Lesson 2. You can only change yourself.

I realize that while there are things that I would like to change about my spouse and vice versa, we can only be responsible for our own actions. I don’t have the power to change him. He can’t change me. We both have to be willing to do our own work to better ourselves, which in turn will benefit our relationship with each other and those around us.

Lesson 3. Let yourself be seen.

Be vulnerable. Often times vulnerability is equated with weakness, but in reality being vulnerable is one of the bravest things you can do. I am learning that in order to experience true connection, with my spouse, children, family, and friends, I have to let my guard down and open myself up. I have to let myself be seen, all of me.

If I’m honest, these lessons are definitely easier said than done, but therapy has given me the opportunity to learn practical steps for living out these lessons. I feel more empowered than I ever have in my adult life.

If you’re struggling in anyway, need help sorting through your emotions or a difficult life change, I would encourage you to seek help. Talk to a trusted friend or family member. Seek the help of a therapist. Even if you may not be experiencing a major life crisis, counseling can be a very effective preventive measure. Just as we see a doctor to maintain our physical health, seeing a counselor or therapist is a great way to be proactive in taking care of your mental health.

Need help finding a therapist?

1. Most employers include an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) in their benefits package that provides access to a variety of resources to help employees with work life issues, including counseling. Through an EAP, an employee and any dependents can confidentially be connected to a therapist and receive several counseling sessions free of charge. This is the method I used to find our therapist.

2. Look online. Psychology Today has a section on their website where you can search for providers based on location, area of concern, insurance carrier, etc. A simple Google search may also be effective.

3. Ask others. If you have a primary care doctor, you can ask for a referral to a licensed mental health professional. Friends and/or family members may also be able to recommend someone.

4. Local churches often have pastors available who can help you or can make recommendations of licensed professionals in the area.