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Parenting with Anxiety

Every day parenting can mean juggling a thousand plates, dropping some and side-stepping difficulties. That is why it is so important to maintain positive wellbeing and mental health.  

This week is mental health awareness week, focusing on anxiety and how we can all become more mindful of how we are feeling.  

Anxiety usually relates to feelings of unease, fears or intense worrying about future events, or something we predict or assume might happen in the future. Feeling anxious in situations we do not feel comfortable with is completely normal, and everyone experiences anxiety in response to stressful situations. Although we often consider anxiety to be a negative feeling because of the physical, mental and emotional impact it has upon us, when we experience this in response to an appropriate situation, it also helps us to remain alert. It also increases a sense of awareness and therefore, enables us to solve problems more effectively in response to the situation.  

Being exposed to anxiety and stress for longer periods of time though, can begin to take its toll on our overall wellbeing. The ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ response is often triggered when we perceive a danger ahead of us. These feelings, although unpleasant, will naturally pass once the circumstance, problem or situation you find yourself in is resolved. This is because we no longer feel the need to be alert and hyper-aware to solve the problem, but if this continues once the issue is resolved, this can become a problem.  

For mental health awareness week, here at Spurgeons, we have created a FREE visual resource that you can use time and again when you find yourself experiencing anxiety symptoms. Our Box Breathing video offers the opportunity to ground yourself in the present moment and slow your breathing to reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety in the moment. Just a few seconds of breathing like this and you’ll feel the benefits, so even if you feel you have no time, take a moment for yourself.  

Tips for Calming Anxiety 

  1. Engage in relaxation and meditation techniques like our Box Breathing Resource. This can be a great way to start the day, before waking the children, or when you can feel yourself feeling overwhelmed throughout the day. 
  1. Get enough sleep. It can be tempting to have later nights to create time for yourself, but lack of sleep can have a negative impact on your ability to cope with situations.  
  1. Nutrition. When we feel anxious and tired, it can sometimes seem easier to opt for comfort foods rather than nutritious meals. This can be challenging, but sometimes we use food to suppress our feelings, rather than acknowledging them.  
  1. Write down your thoughts. This offers clarity on our thoughts and gives us the chance to recognise, acknowledge and challenge negative thoughts. Often when they are down on paper, it gives us a clearer perspective which can make us feel less stuck or stressed. 
  1. Take a walk in nature. Getting outside is a great way to expose ourselves to fresh air. Engaging with the senses and the natural environment around us can help to ground us in the present.  

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The author

Daniel Robertson is a Digital Journey Lead for Spurgeons Children's Charity. Prior to this role, he has worked as a Teacher of English in a wide variety of school settings.

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