Mark Chester, our Parent Support Manager, shares some questions we can ask ourselves when we can feel our anxiety rising, to help our wellbeing.
Have you ever heard somebody say ‘you need to look after yourself’ and thought: well, there’s another thing to add to my to-do list?!
The theory is great, putting it into practice is much more difficult, particularly when you’ve got family responsibilities, people depending on you.
So what can we do that doesn’t require us to carve out sections of time, that is much more in the moment, to help manage our anxieties and maintain our mental wellbeing? Four questions have really helped me.
- What can I control?
I try to focus my efforts on the stuff that I can actually influence and let go of the stuff I can’t. It makes me feel more in control generally.
- What is real?
I know I can fill my mind with ‘what ifs’. What if she makes the wrong friends and gets into trouble and ends up in prison? What if he doesn’t work hard enough, fails his exams and ends up with no job. My imagination can conjure up all sorts of troubles that will never happen, so I try to tame those ‘what ifs’ by asking myself honestly: which of my concerns are real and which are imagined?
- What am I really worried about?
I’m preparing a presentation to make at work, when one of my children returns home and is upset about something. It happens regularly and it usually passes quickly, but this time I can’t stop worrying about it. Then I catch sight of the presentation I’ve been working on and realise that my real worries lie there, but I’ve allowed them to spill over. So I try to stand back and ask myself what I’m really worried about and try to regain perspective.
- Who can I ask for help?
If I have worries, I know it’s good to ask for help from someone who is a calming influence. Talking through my anxieties can knock the sharp edges off them and stop them from escalating.
I hope you find these questions as helpful as I have. If you need further support, we have a list of helpful parenting organisations here.
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