How Life Raft Thoughts Help with Anxiety and Grief. A couple of weeks after I released my first Messy Mum’s Playbook my entire world as I knew it was squashed. Truth be told 90% of the world’s lives got squashed and forever transformed in some way – it was 2020. The year of social distancing, government enforcing self-isolation and worldwide job loss.

2020 for my family involved the same pressures of loss of income, isolation and the pressure to now homeschool – and so much more. However, to feel the shift that happened in our family, let’s start from the top.

2020 was set up to be our best year. Andrew and I had good steady incomes coming in, my eldest 16-year-old daughter was setting off on her dream (one she had spent two years working towards manifesting) spending six months in South Korea as an exchange student, both my other kids had started high school, my first book was published and we had booked and paid for a beautiful weeks holiday in Bali. We were going to have an amazing year.

anxiety and grief

That’s when Covid-19 took over the world. Without warning event after event hit our family and sent things collapsing like dominos. Firstly I was stood down from work which meant our household income was halved. Our daughter had her student exchange cancelled. She was stuck in South Korea and we couldn’t get her home. School was all but cancelled and I had now become a mum, coach, wife, cleaner and school teacher.

After 2 weeks, having narrowly avoided our daughter spending 14 days locked in a hotel room by herself and finally finding an airline to bring her home, our daughter was back. A collective sigh was felt across our family the night she landed, 39 hours after leaving South Korea home to Sydney.

Then it happened…Fourteen days later, on a Monday morning, I found myself rushing my 12-year-old son to hospital. Andrew was not allowed into the hospital because of the new Covid-19 restrictions leaving both my son and I on our own. We were scared.

The diagnosis was Type 1 Diabetes, a chronic life long health condition. Late that afternoon we transferred to another hospital. The drive was long, my son was devastated and sad. Hearing the tears of my son’s heartbreaking almost felt too hard to bear.

How Life Raft Thoughts Help with Anxiety and Grief

That day still haunts me. Inside I grieved the fact that my baby’s life would be different. That perfect baby that I delivered into the world would forever have artificial devices hooked up to him and be self-injecting insulin into his body for life. I worried about how he would feel the first time he gets intimate with a girl, and what her reaction would be seeing all the devices. Would she break his heart? Would he have a normal life?

But that wasn’t the end. Just 3 weeks later, our beautiful dog which had been part of the family for the past 12 years, died.


I bounced between grief, anxiety and guilt. During this first day, knowing my son’s diagnosis, there were some dark hours. All I had to cling onto during these days are what I call Life Raft Thoughts. These thoughts (Life Raft Thoughts) helped me keep my head above water so as not to sink deep within the emotions and feels that threatened to blacken my mind and consume me.

That day my life raft thought was…”Today a family is losing a loved one and it’s not me” and “Today someone’s child will move into the next world and that’s not me.”. These thoughts even though not happy joy-joy and a little dark, kept me breathing and grounded because all the other thoughts threatening to surface would have sent me spiralling into debilitating anxiety and despair.

The next day my life raft thoughts turned into “We are strong, we will rise to meet this new challenge” and from there I was able to reach for higher thoughts.

Hey Sister, Do you ever have those days or weeks when everything feels like an uphill battle?


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Hey, I’m Ang! Leading DreamBuilder coach, Business success mentor, and International best-selling author of The Messy Mum’s Playbook.  My mission is to help women who feel stuck or frustrated get everything they want in life, love, and business in the fastest and easiest way possible