Your three point checklist for less Anxiety at home
How are you getting on? It's funny how things can become the new normal in such a small space of time. I never thought that I'd be craving the supermarket, my husband the "designated shopper" for the family, gets that incredible perk, while I carefully craft the shopping list.
Never before have my thoughts wandered off in the direction of hopping in the car without anyone noticing and brazenly driving to the nearest supermarket (unnecessarily mind) and being able to languidly browse the oil and vinegar isle. But that time has arrived.
After the initial shock of the lockdown news, things took a little turn and it almost felt a bit exciting - like a bonus holiday.
Us, the lucky ones in Aotearoa, with a Prime Minister who really does take the cake when it comes to looking after her flock, managed to save us from the disaster that we have been seeing elsewhere around the world. What would appear to be a complacency for life - especially those who it would seem have "less to give".
How wrong are they. Our old people, our Taonga, our keepers of treasures and wisdom, we must guard them with our lives, which is exactly what we here in this beautiful land are attempting to do.
So here at The Anxiety Project for Parents headquarters, things
have taken a slight turn. The two teenagers who have been doing pretty well I have to say, occupying themselves in ways not usually seen during a normal break from routine, have today realised this way of being may in fact go on for longer than they thought. And low and behold - it's only one week in!
Anxiety can present itself in all kinds of ways. There was the initial fear of catching the virus and the fear of death for many of the young people I work with, some fearing for family members who had compromised immunity, or worried about their own health and risk to their lives. Then there was the fear of what a lockdown meant! A state of national emergency! Never has there been anything so close to a zombie apocalypse outside of the beanbag pit in the school library. The anxiety associated with a lack
of knowledge and a lack of what to expect was, understandably huge for many.
And now I suspect, the anxiety about a lack of power, a lack of agency and self determining direction, is starting to creep in. I'm seeing it here at The Anxiety Project for Parents headquarters more with each passing day.
So what can we do to alleviate some of the anxiety that our children and teens may be experiencing with this ongoing loss of freedom?
1. Create a sense of options You know when you are told you have to do that thing and that thing only - the desire to do anything but, creeps in very quickly!! But when we are given a range of options and when we choose that thing ourselves, it feels s
o entirely different. It was our choice, we have a sense of control and we did in fact choose it, meaning we have a very different relationship with the task at hand.
2. Create a safe space at home Safety has a number of different meanings here - obviously we all need to feel physically and emotionally safe (see below for some important numbers if you are not safe) But it also means our brain's feeling safe, having a sense of the expected and routine, which helps to calm an anxious mind. Create soothing environments, where possible, with comfort food, warmth and a daily check in with Mum, Dad or caregiver, where you really sit down and take the time to connect properly. How are you really doing my child??
3. Create a sense of connection Which links in with the last point above. Parents - put your phone down and spend some time attending to, listening to, talking and laughing with your kids. I can say this, because I too am regularly reminded by my offspring that I could do better in that regard! But it is truly one of the most important things we can do to alleviate anxiety. When we feel seen, understood and attended to, we feel safe. And that my friends, is the very opposite of Anxiety.
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