Parents Sometimes Have Anxiety
You love parenting. But ever since you became a parent, it feels like your anxiety has gotten worse. You worry about your child’s health, their behavior and if you are a “good enough” parent. You see other moms and dads that seem to have it all figured out. Maybe you’ve even had panic attacks in the past. Bottom line? Parenting is stressful. It’s unpredictable and a million different things could go wrong at any point in time. Here are some tips for managing your anxiety as a parent.
Tips for Coping with Anxiety as a Parent
Sometimes, as a parent it feels like you have fewer coping skills available to you. Many of the things you used to do to manage stress and reduce anxiety are no longer an option. For instance, you have less control over your own life and schedule now that little humans depend on you. Running to get your nails one for self care or traveling to watch your favorite sports team over the weekend now can’t happen without a ton of (anxiety provoking) planning. But it is possible to manage anxiety as a parent. You may just have to change the coping skills you use a bit.
Keep Track of a To Do List to Reduce Anxiety
It’s easy to forget something when you have as much on your plate, and worry about what you’ve forgotten can cause lots of stress. Clear your mind by making a to-do list. When you put down everything that needs to be done into your phone or onto a sheet of paper, you won’t have to worry about forgetting something. Furthermore, this can help you prioritize what needs to be done. Consider it bonus points if as you write them down, you visualize yourself doing the task with confidence.
Manage Anxiety Through Positive Self Talk
Many times parents believe things will get better when their children move on to the next phase of their maturity. However, the truth is that the worry will continue until you change how you think about things. We often get caught in “thinking traps.” When I’m working with someone in counseling to treat their anxiety, I encourage them to watch the language they use to describe things. Watch for phrases like, “this will be a disaster if I don’t get it done on time” or “I’ll die of embarrassment if I forget.” Monitoring your thoughts is a common CBT technique that can be really helpful.
The next step is to rephrase things in a more positive, realistic light. For instance, changing thoughts of “I have to” to “I want to”. As another example, instead of saying “I have to sign the kids up for karate” you can say, “I want to sign the kids up for karate because I know they’ll love it.”
Fresh Air as a Coping Skill for Anxiety
Fresh air and sunlight can help calm a person’s nerves and reduce your anxiety. If you feel anxious, maybe put your baby in a stroller and go for a walk to a local park. Or perhaps take your kids to an outdoor mall or sit on the patio of a frozen yogurt shop. You may even try your local library. Some libraries also have outdoor patio areas where you can read with your kids. Even opening window blinds to let in sunlight or cracking it to feel some fresh air can make a world of a difference!
Use Mindfulness to Calm Your Mind
Mindfulness can be a great way to manage your anxiety. Mindfulness simply means paying attention to the present moment in a nonjudgmental way so there are a variety of mindfulness activities your can use. Breathing exercises are very popular. If your anxiety is difficult to control, try deep-breathing from your belly. Therapists call this “belly breathing.” Another technique to ground yourself in the moment that I use when treating panic attacks is name on five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell and one thing you can taste. This can help calm you when you’re feeling a panic or anxiety attack start to arise.
Seek Support from Friends When Your Anxiety Is High
When you feel anxious, call your friends or family to chat. Some parents may also find it helpful to vent with a Facebook parenting group. While you may not want to “overshare,” it may make you feel less alone to get validation from other frustrated or anxious parents. If you are in counseling, you can also call your therapist and make an appointment and work through your challenges.
Begin Counseling for Anxiety in Cincinnati, OH
You don’t have to live with constant anxiety. Maybe you’ve even had panic attacks. Life doesn’t have to be like this.If you find your anxiety to be impacting your ability to be a happy, successful parent, it might be time to speak with a counselor. I recommend cognitive behavior therapy for anxiety. CBT is one of the best researched methods of counseling and is very effective for anxiety.
As a CBT therapist, I offer anxiety treatment and work with adults including may parents like yourself. Whether you are anxious about your child’s future, worried about their health and safety or so stressed out by work that it’s impacting your parenting, you’ll find understanding in my Cincinnati counseling office. Through cognitive behavioral therapy, I will help you get to a better place where you feel joy in your parenting. If you are ready for a little extra support, contact me today to set up a free consultation. Anxiety treatment can be very effective. You do not have to spend your children’s childhood feeling on edge. Counseling can help!
Other Counseling Services
In addition to offering counseling to individuals for anxiety, I work with a wide range of mental health and emotional issues. I also offer couples & marriage counseling, CBT for depression, career counseling & mental health services for college students. As an experienced counselor, I can help with a wide range of issues. The first step is for you to reach out and ask for help. Thing can get better, and I look forward to helping you find your path forward.