Nothing is more normal than worry about a new baby or about how you’re going as a parent. But dealing with anxiety can help you enjoy your life as parent more.
Dealing with anxiety: why it’s important
Anxiety and worry about parenting is normal.
The problem is when worry or anxiety becomes extreme. Then it can get in the way of your health and your daily life. It can even stop you from being the parent you want to be.
That’s why dealing with anxiety is important.
Symptoms of anxiety
Some common symptoms of anxiety are:
- finding it hard not to worry
- feeling restless
- having trouble relaxing or sleeping
- having trouble concentrating
- getting frustrated
- feeling your heart racing.
It’s normal to have some of these symptoms from time to time. But if you’re feeling a lot of these symptoms and it’s making it hard for you to get on with your daily life, it might be time to find ways of dealing with anxiety.
Dealing with anxiety: everyday tips
There are a couple of things you can do if you have a situation or problem that’s causing you anxiety:
- Give yourself time to calm down before you respond to the situation. For example, if your child comes out of school and tells you someone is being mean to her, you might feel worried. Instead of seeing the teacher straight away, it might be best to go home and talk with your child. If you’re still worried the next day, make an appointment to see the teacher.
- Try to focus only on the situation and deal with other things later. For example, if you feel anxious because your child has a fever, just focus on helping your child feel better and making an appointment with the GP. You can worry about things like the groceries or the washing later.
You can also take some simple steps to cope with anxiety more generally:
- Talk to someone about how you’re feeling – your partner, a family member or trusted friend.
- Join a local parents group or playgroup to connect with other parents who might be in a similar situation and can share advice from their own experiences.
- Keep a diary or journal to record your feelings. You might be able to see a pattern in the things that upset you.
- Try breathing for relaxation, muscle relaxation or mindfulness.
If these everyday tips for dealing with anxiety don’t help, seeking professional help is important. Making an appointment with your GP to talk about things is a great first step.
Video How parents groups can help with anxiety and worry
‘It was my sanity’, says one mum of her weekly mothers group.
In this short video on parent support groups, Australian mothers and fathers discuss the benefits of parents groups. They can help you deal with some of the anxiety that comes with being a new parent by letting you see that there’s a big range of normal when it comes to child development. You can also connect with other parents and share your feelings and experiences, both good and bad. This can be a great support during the tough times.