5 Ways to Manage Parental AnxietyCharlotte Singmin
October 17, 2018
As parents, we all want the best for our kids and while we often take great joy in curating a loving, nurturing environment to help them thrive and grow, we can also be challenged by anxiety along the way. From the moment we introduce our little ones into the great, wide world, we tend to worry if we are doing things right and if we are measuring up. Couple this parental anxiety with the constant stresses of everyday life and if we are not careful we can find ourselves towing a fine line between care and anxiety.
Managing feelings of anxiety surrounding parenting can be a daily challenge, but in my experience, there are several simple ways to lessen the worry. Proper nourishment is key (Botanica has you covered!), as well as avoiding over-extending yourself, reaching out for help when you need it, and creating space and time to rest. Do your best to focus on the positive; remember that you are doing your best, and just like you always say to your kids, your best is enough!
1. Focus on The Positive
Ever have one of those days where it feels like EVERYTHING is going wrong? Maybe everyone woke up late and the day started off rushed, or perhaps an unexpected kid-cold meant you’ve had to miss your morning meeting. Whatever the case I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been there; the misses and the messes pile up until it’s 5 pm and all you want to do is sob into the spaghetti!
It’s easy to feed into feelings of anxiety by fixating on what has gone wrong, but next time this heaviness hits, try easing your attention to the positive instead. Take a moment to breathe, sit down, try to soften your body (hello shoulders!), and make a mental list of what has gone RIGHT, no matter how small. Did you get some food into your child’s body today? Excellent, well done! Guess what, you’re a GOOD parent!
I love small mindful practices, like enjoying a warm mug of Golden Mylk to soothe my mind, nourish my body, and aid with this shift towards the positive. Turmeric (the key ingredient in this ayurvedically derived drink) is a strong antioxidant and is full of anti-inflammatory benefits, so health wise it’s a win. Botanica’s Turmeric Golden Mylk blend adds the adaptogenic herb Ashwagandha, which I find particularly soothing at bedtime, as well as dates, coconut, cardamom, black pepper, and cinnamon! It’s one of my favourites (even my 6-year-old loves it)!
Looking for another easy way to tip the scales in the plus direction? Try this simple trick to set the tone for the day: allow enough time in the morning routine to make the beds (and if your kids are old enough let this be THEIR job!), that way regardless of what else comes your way, the day begins with a simple accomplishment!
2. Know Your Limits
Have you ever signed up for bake sale duty, supervising a school trip, and a weekend playdate with THREE children all on your own, and even the mere thought of these upcoming events are giving you gut-wrenching feelings of anxiety? How many of us are guilty of feeling completely overwhelmed in our efforts to be the best parents we can be?
Here’s a little secret, you already ARE the best parent to your little ones and knowing when to say no can help you be even better. Let’s take the bake sale duty for example; there is nothing wrong with saying “I’d love to help out, here’s what I’m comfortable committing to” and then naming what you can realistically offer without feeling overextended. Or alternatively, “I’d love to help out, but my schedule is so full right now, I’ll definitely be sending little Cindy to school with some pocket money to support the sale, thank you for all your hard work organizing this event!”. Parental contributions don’t have to look the same for all of us, do your part in whatever way makes the most sense for you and your brood.
3. Create Space to Relax, and Time to Rest
For those of us who feel like trying to keep a pristine house (with small humans running around simultaneously destroying it!) is akin to holding back the tides, anxiety about your living space can be significant. I’ve found considerable peace of mind in maintaining one corner of the living room as my own. I’ve filled it with favourite plants, cosy cushions and blankets, and have made it a strict no-dumping zone for backpacks, jackets, toys or what have you. Do I gaze lovingly at my tiny corner of respite while I work my way through a sink full of kitchen dishes? You bet I do! Having at least one area chaos-free where I can drink my evening hot chocolate helps me feel less anxious about the unavoidable whirl of everyday existence that sometimes takes over the rest of the house.
Equally important to having a space to relax is creating the time to relax in it. The ritual of preparing and enjoying a warm mug of Reishi Hot Chocolate at the end of a long day may only be 20 minutes out of 24 hours, but it gives me the opportunity to let go of the day’s tensions and helps me to prepare for proper rest. Reishi mushrooms support a healthy stress response and facilitate relaxation, and well, who doesn’t love a steaming mug of chocolatey goodness? I’ve even used the Reishi Hot Chocolate powder to amp up my smoothies, which I then take time to savour and enjoy as a superfood-powered start my day.
4. Ask for Help
Between caring for ourselves and our families, our plates are constantly full, overflowing even, and anxiety about being able to accomplish everything is a feeling many of us can relate to. While those of us with larger support networks are likely more comfortable reaching out, sometimes it’s harder to ask for help when you’re going it (relatively) alone. Here’s the thing, even if you’re a single parent, or your family lives far away, it’s worth connecting with the community around you. Want to attend a parent council meeting but don’t have a sitter? Ask the school if they can organize some childcare! Trade parent duty with a trusted neighbour; offer to walk your crew to school, while they do the pickup. There is nothing wrong with turning to someone you trust and simply saying “I need help”, and the nice part is that when you’re in the position to do so you can return the favour and offer to do the same.
5. Nourish Your Body & Mind
You KNOW this one, but how many of us overlook our own needs when we’re in the throw of tending to our families. We try to make sure Junior has an organic, locally farmed, bento box of goodies to enjoy for his lunch, while we’re hungrily snacking on-the-go, running from one engagement to the next.
I make a point of starting my day with as much goodness as possible in anticipation of the craziness that is to ensue. I love starting my day with Daily Zen Shot, it contains a hint of B-Vitamins, enzymes, macronutrients, and a dose of fermented Holy Basil to help support a healthy response to stress. If you prefer to take your supplements in capsule form, Botanica’s Ashwagandha Liquid Capsules also do the trick! They help to balance mood (yes please!) while restoring and nourishing the adrenals, thyroid, and nervous system.
I am also getting in the habit of meal prepping easy grab-n-goes like chia pudding, mason jar salads, and overnight oats to make sure I’m getting the daily nourishment I need, and of course both my son and I both enjoy the daily ritual and health benefits of ending our day with a warm mug of Turmeric Golden Mylk.