Are you feeling overwhelmed by your day-to-day life? Do you feel like each day is a struggle between what you want to do and what you have to do? Often, worry and self-doubt go together like chocolate and peanut butter. This is also true for parents of children experiencing anxiety and worry. Anxiety is one of the reasons parents will bring their child to play therapy. Here are a few tips for managing worry, fear, and anxiety.
Check yourself: Is my worry realistic?
Sometimes, worries are based out of things that have not and may not even happen. In these situations, it does not help to worry, as it can rob you of the joy available in your present moment. Acknowledging the worry as irrelevant to this moment can help to ease the discomfort. Refocus on things that bring joy. Other times, the worry is realistic and is likely to happen. In these times, focus your energy on developing a plan to address the situation. Feeling prepared for a hard time can reduce the worry.
When your child is experiencing a worry that seems strange to you, it can be easy to want to dismiss their fears. Instead, it might help to let them know that it is okay to feel worried. This helps you to connect to your child on a deeper level. Once the child knows that these feelings are not “bad”, then you can work together to decide how to work through these feelings as a team. This tip can help parents to avoid power struggles and arguments with kids who are feeling powerless.
Spend time with people you love.
When feeling worried, people can often isolate. By feeling overwhelmed by challenging feelings, it can seem “easier” to keep these feelings inside to avoid burdening those we love. This is simply not the case. Imagine if someone you love was feeling the way you do. Would you want them to suffer in silence? Instead, reflect on those who you know you can trust, whether this be a family member, friend, or professional support, and reach out.
When you are helping your child through worry, try to schedule extra one-on-one time without distractions or technology to help your child feel connected and learn to calm down with you. This can open lines of communication and your child will have a safe space to talk to you about what is going on in their world.
Focus on self-care.
When feeling stressed, it often feels easier to neglect self-care to manage the emergency. Rather, this is the time taking care of your mind, body, and soul becomes most urgent. By nourishing your heart, you can replenish energy to face your worries.
Help your anxious child to learn ways to self-regulate, or calm down on their own, through doing soothing activities. Puzzles, warm baths, and coloring can all be regulating activities. I recommend having times when technology is limited to parents of my play therapy clients so that children learn ways to soothe themselves.
Seek the help of a therapist who specializes in working with worry.
Feeling as though these emotions cannot be overcome does not have to last forever. Reach out to a therapist you connect with to work together and develop new coping skills. If you feel overwhelmed, it impacts many of the people you care about. I often tell parents that taking care of themselves is the best way to begin helping their child.
If you feel your child could benefit from working on anxiety with a play therapist, reach out today!
Having a child who is often worrying can feel isolating. You are not alone. Contact me today if you are looking for play therapy counseling services in Metairie.