Dealing with anxiety: why it’s important
Raising children is a big and important job. It’s natural to feel anxiety and worry about it sometimes.
But worry or anxiety can be a problem if it gets in the way of your health, your daily life, or your relationships with your partner or children.
So keeping on top of anxiety is good for you, good for your children, and good for your family.
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 common 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 to deal with anxiety.
Dealing with anxiety: everyday tips
There are a few things you can do if you have a situation or problem that’s causing you anxiety:
- Break things into small tasks or steps. For example, ‘It’s the doctor’s job to check on my child’s health. Right now I just need to focus on getting a doctor’s appointment.’
- Give yourself time to calm down before responding to a situation. For example, if your child comes out of school and tells you someone is being mean to her, talk with your child when you get home. If you’re still worried the next day, make an appointment to see the teacher.
- Use positive self-talk. For example, ‘I can handle this. I’ve been in situations like this before’, or ‘It’s OK if I do this differently from the way other parents do it. This way works for me’.
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.
- Do some regular physical activity and eat healthy food. Being fit and well is good for your overall wellbeing.
If these everyday tips for dealing with anxiety don’t help, seeking professional help is important. Making an appointment with your GP or a local counsellor to talk about things is a great first step.
You might sometimes compare yourself with other parents and worry that you’re not doing a good job. It might help to know that if you’re raising your children in nurturing, warm, sensitive, responsive and flexible ways, you’re giving your children what they need to grow and thrive.