To the coach's wife with anxiety:
You're tired. And not just the typical didn't get enough sleep kind of tired. Or you had the kids all day, and they ran you into the ground kind of tired. But deep down to your core, can't stop thinking. Can't stop ruminating. Can't catch your breath. Can't shut your mind off EVER kind of tired. Now let's throw in managing schedules, the planning, having to feed everyone, being a taxi, working either inside the home or out, and somehow trying to mind your own well-being while doing the majority of said things by your lonesome.
Let's face it. This is DIFFICULT. Anxiety is difficult.
And mixing in a really chaotic season is even more difficult. Coach might come home a little more upset because of a poor practice or unexpected loss. You ran out of time to get in your workout. Dinner might not get made on time, and you end up eating out ONCE AGAIN when you are trying to save money and eat cleaner at home. The kids might be driving you crazy during the bedtime routine and asking, "When will daddy be home?" for the hundredth time. All the while, you are wondering the exact same thing.
The truth is, this season may require some additional work. More intentionality. (I know, I know...one more thing to add into your day.) But hear me out. I try to remind myself that football won't be going anywhere for the foreseeable future, and chances are, neither will my anxiety.
Attempting to work with your anxiety instead of against it can be helpful in attempting to navigate your happiness through this journey. Here are some suggestions that might give you a little more peace throughout the season:
- Try to focus on the good. Remind yourself of the things you are grateful for each day. Even writing them down can help!
- Be intentional with your coping mechanisms, whether it be medication, meditation, prayer, time with friends, extra sleep, a good workout, therapy, or self-care.
- Try your best to make time for you. I know it may sound insane for this time of year, but what I mean is make the small things count for you. Chances are, you won't have time to spend hours getting a facial or pedicures. But try waking up shortly before the kids get up to sip your hot (or iced) coffee and plan out your day or make time for a quick walk in the fresh air to clear your head.
- Do not be afraid to ask for help. People with anxiety can tend to struggle with this. I remember our first season away from family. We knew absolutely no one and were a couple of hours away from family, and there I was, with an infant and a coach who was always gone. We got to know our neighbors pretty well, and they offered to help with our son even for an hour or two. My skepticism eventually evolved into being so glad that I accepted the help. Those couple hours each week made a world of difference. (P.S. High schoolers make great babysitters, too!)
- Try to remember that this is a ministry. Ask about practice, the players, and the games. The more you feel involved, even mentally, can make a big difference. The more you can focus on the fact that we GET to take part in this life instead of we HAVE to take part in this life, the more at ease and grateful you may feel.
- Remember that this is a season. (And before you say "Well, my husband coaches multiple seasons.") I mean a season of life. It won't always be this difficult. The kids won't always be this little. The days won't always be this hot. They won't always feel this long. Life will eventually look different, and this is time we won't get back.
Embrace the small moments of dinners at the field, quick hugs before the game, talking nonstop football, and know this season won't be forever. One day, football may be gone, and maybe your anxiety will too. But for the time being, try to remember that, at least for this year...
A season of football with anxiety is better than a season of anxiety without football.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, and this content is not to be taken as medical advice. I am simply a wife and mother navigating my own mental health and trying to encourage others along the way.