I’ve always been something of a worrier.
Scrap that, I’ve always been a serious worrier. If I don’t have something to worry about, it worries me.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to worry, it just seems like part of my make-up.
I’ve been worrying about whether we can afford a baby. About whether I’ll be a good enough mum. About how I’ll manage. About whether my marriage will change when we become parents… I could go on, but you get the drift.
My mum is the same – possibly worse – and I’ve spent the last few years trying to keep it under wraps and when it started again recently, not long after I found out I was pregnant, I thought it might be useful to share some coping strategies:
1) Write it down
This is especially useful when the middle-of-the-night worrying begins. When you have something on your mind, it really helps to get it down on paper. You may be a diary style writer, a spidogram illustrator, or a bullet-point maker, it doesn’t really matter. The act of getting it down on paper will not only make it clearer in your head, but also help you to feel as though you have got it off your chest.
2) Question the outcome
Once we’ve worried for a while, we can end up with what therapists often call catastrophic thinking – we end up convincing ourselves that the worst possible scenario is bound to happen. So once you’ve written down what is worrying you, outline the worst case and best case outcomes so that you can work towards the best. Simply writing it down, often shows you that your worries are unfounded.
3) Talk about it
May sound obvious, but so often, we bottle concerns up and they get worse and worse in our heads. Your friends and family may not be able to solve your problems or offer you a solution, but sometimes just talking through things helps to make us realise they’re not so bad after all and it’s the good old fashioned weight off the shoulders.
4) Get an action plan
There’s usually something you can do to ease the worries. So for example, if you are worried about finances, you could work out some ways you can save some money, how you can maybe earn some money, and write down your action plan. As soon as you are doing something towards solving the problem, you’ll immediately feel better about things
5) Accept help
When your nearest and dearest offer their assistance, it’s because they care, because they want to help, and because they love you. So don’t think that you need to take on the world by yourself and worry even more that you are putting people out. Accept the help and realise that one day you’ll be sure to repay the favour.
6) Schedule in some me-time
After all that worrying, make sure you take a bit of time to yourself to chill out, enjoy yourself and relax. Whether it’s a massage, sitting down with a cuppa and a book, or getting an early night – spoil yourself.