How to cope with anxiety as a parent

Let’s be real for a minute: life sucks sometimes. There are days where you want to lock yourself in your bedroom and ignore the world for just a moment. It can be too much to handle, especially if you’re already juggling a career, relationship, and children. 

We sat down with Fallon Carmichael Santiago  mom of 2 and voice behind Casa de Fallon. She’s made it her mission to talk about living with anxiety and postpartum depression so parents everywhere can stop feeling like they’re alone in this fight. Fallon also wants others to understand how they can help loved ones with anxiety.

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Fallon and I live with my husband and two sons (20 months apart) right outside of Manhattan in Jersey City. After 13 years in the fashion industry, I left it all behind to grow my family and focus on my own brand, Casa de Fallon. I have been blogging since 2008, launching my current brand in 2016. My goal with Casa de Fallon, is to create and share content that inspires you to want to try something new and motivates you to go after what you want in life.

How long have you been living with anxiety? What made decide to talk about it publicly?

I have been living with anxiety for most of my life, but it wasn’t until I went through postpartum depression and my anxiety intensified that I realized it. In the span of two years, I quick my high paying “dream job”, got married, had a baby, then had another baby, all while dealing with severe post partum depression and anxiety… in the fall of 2018 I realized I was time to start talking about it publicly!

Living with anxiety is a daily struggle. What's one thing that people can do every day to help their mental health?

For me, the one thing I do every day that makes a huge difference is exercise. I go to the gym 5 days a week and on day I’m not able to make it, I focus on staying active (walking, dancing with the kids, taking the stairs more, etc.)

What are 3-5 things you do to cope with anxiety?

Exercise, prayer, talking about it (therapy / sharing on social media), herbs (I swear by Organic Olivia) and CBD. I started with medication for about six months and then was able to move to this more holistic approach.

What are some of the biggest challenges you've faced while living with anxiety and raising a family? How did you deal with them?

I went through a very dark time with post partum depression and suicidal thoughts, so by far the was my BIGGEST challenge. Having moving passed that, I would say today, my biggest challenge is that I don’t always have control over when my anxiety hits and often times I am alone with one or both of my kids and a panic attack will hit, which is very challenge to not only navigate my way through, but also not terrify my kids. I try my best to prepare myself before with things like “peace juice” from Organic Olivia and peppermint tea when I anticipate a situation that may make me extra anxious. When I can’t push through, I remove myself / us from the situation and try to explain as best as I can to my kids.

What do you wish people who don't live with anxiety/depression knew about people who do?

When you are dealing with anxiety it is often times hard to recognize and once you do, it is even harder to admit that you need help, so try to be understand and offer your support as much as you can. And remember that people with anxiety are not overreacting or just looking for attention, what they experience is very real and very debilitating.

What are some parenting products that you can't live without?

Bugaboo Bee5 Complete Stroller. My ride or die for having two kids so close to each other and living in the city. I just can't do the big double strollers. This works best for us. - Amazon $699
Apple Watch Series 3. Keeps me organized, alerts me of important things like doctors appointments that you schedule months in advance and reminds me to focus on ME throughout the day too. $299
Summer Infant 2-in-1 Toilet Trainer. Hands down my favorite product for toddlers/preschoolers. Now with both boys potty trained, I couldn’t imaging my life without this product. They both use the potty without assistance (at least number one, lol), plus it super easy to install and a great price point. Amazon - $22.99
LittleHippo Mella Ready to Rise Children's Trainer. My boys share a room and are EARLY risers, once my youngest turned two and could understand how an “okay to wake” clock works, we started using this and never looked back. They still rise early but they have (mostly) learned, that they need to stay in their rooms until they get the green light. Amazon - $49.99
CALM app Obsessed with this app for both my kids and myself. They have sleep stories, meditations and lullabies that we all love. Especially great for when your kids are going nuts and you want to calm them down quickly.

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