Anxiety is a normal response to stressful situations, but it can sometimes become so severe that it affects your ability to live normally. According to the Anxiety And Depression Association Of America, 18.1 percent of all American adults suffer from some sort of anxiety. This includes parental anxiety as well.
If you’re a parent, you might experience extra anxiety because of the added responsibilities and pressures that come with being a parent.
Parental anxiety can be caused by many factors, such as lack of sleep or chronic stressors like financial difficulties or work issues. Even if you’re not suffering from an actual clinical anxiety disorder, any worry about your child’s well-being is still considered an unhealthy level of anxiety.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to cope with parental anxiety, so it doesn’t get out of hand, and here are a few tips on how you can manage that.
1 Understand Your Anxiety
Parental anxiety is a common condition that can manifest itself in many ways. It’s important to understand your own particular symptoms so that you can deal with them most effectively.
If you feel overwhelmed by your feelings, it might help to ask for help from a professional counselor or therapist who understands the unique challenges of being a parent. You might also find it helpful to connect with other parents going through similar struggles.
2 Find Ways to Relieve Anxiety
Take a break from parenting. It’s important to take care of yourself to be the best parent you can be, so don’t let anxiety keep you from taking time for yourself. If possible, plan this into your schedule and make it a priority.
Get some exercise and eat right. Physical activity has been shown to help reduce stress and tension, as well as improve self-esteem and mood. Try something fun like going dancing with friends or joining an exercise class at the gym.
Remember that diet plays an important part in managing anxiety too. Therefore, make sure you are eating balanced meals with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while avoiding processed foods high in sugar or saturated fats.
The company of others can also help distract us from our worries by allowing us to spend time on activities other than those related to parenting duties. Just knowing that someone else is there for support will also make things easier when dealing with stressful situations at home later on down the road. More on this is in the following section.
3 Talk to Your Friends and Fellow Parents
Get advice from other parents. When you talk to other parents about your anxiety, you may find that they’ve been in similar situations and have some tips for you. They can also help you see the bigger picture. It’s not just a matter of getting through this period with your kids. It’s a matter of giving them a better life than the one they had before.
Talk to different people and compare notes. They might be able to offer useful suggestions, as will other parents in your neighborhood or at school functions.
4 Seek Therapy
There are many ways to help yourself, including therapy. It can be effective in helping you learn how to deal with stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also help you understand why you experience anxiety in the first place.
Once you understand what is driving your anxiety, then you can begin developing coping mechanisms for dealing with this type of stress.
In most cases, mental health practices will ask you to visit more than once. That’s only so that they can monitor your progress and see what works best.
Most modern mental health clinics use specialized behavioral health software to manage schedules and billing records. The same software can also store patient records and ensure data privacy. Thus, when visiting mental health practitioners, you don’t have to worry about dealing with appointment issues or your data getting stolen, as long as these practices use the right behavioral EHR – Electronic Health Record – system.
A OnePoll survey shows that 47 percent of Americans think that seeking mental health help or therapy is a sign of weakness. That’s anything but true. Seeking therapy, especially as a parent, shows how willing you are to make things right and get better. Thus, know that there’s nothing weak about seeking such help.
5 Take Time for Yourself
This can be a difficult thing to do, but it is essential.
You cannot take care of anyone else if you are not taking care of yourself. If you are feeling overwhelmed by your parental anxiety, seek therapy or join a support group for parents who are experiencing the same things as you.
You can also just take time off from parenting once in a while and relax. Perhaps have your kids visit their cousins or relatives while you take a couple of days off. These breaks are necessary as they give you time to unwind and regain your composure so that you can relieve some of that anxiety.
Anxiety is a common struggle and affects people of all ages. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened this situation as anxiety is now more prevalent than ever. Parental anxiety has also become more prevalent.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your own anxiety as a parent, know that you are not alone. It can be hard to admit that we need help or support, but we need to remember that our children deserve the best version of ourselves. For that, we must take care of ourselves and learn to manage our parental anxiety.