Coping with the Unexpected
Aug 26, 2013 11:05PM
Coping With the UnexpectedBy Beccy Farrell, Counseling Intern, The Compass Center
Life can be overwhelming at times. All of us, regardless of what stage of life we find ourselves in – experience stressful moments and difficult seasons. How do we adapt and adjust when things simply do not go the way that we had hoped or planned?
I think the first and most important part of coping is to realize that life is a journey and not simply a destination. It is the process of living and not just the checklist of finished tasks that matter. How we live our lives – how we treat ourselves and others around us – matters. We need to be mindful of the moments that we live in. Taking a few deep breaths, walking away from an escalating situation, allowing ourselves some time to walk, playing our favorite sport/game, creating something beautiful or artistic, or taking a calming shower/bath – all of these things can help us cope and calm us down in the “heat of the moment.” Tell yourself the truth; this stressful time will pass. You can breathe and get through it.
Our children will do what we do and not just do as we say, so modeling healthy ways of dealing with stress/emotions cannot be overestimated. For little ones, something as simple as regular meal/snack times and regular bedtimes can help regulate their stress. Labeling their feelings in a non-judgmental way can also be helpful. “I see that you are angry. I understand. Perhaps you need few minutes by yourself to calm down.” Giving all children healthy outlets to release pent-up energy is very important. Playing at the park, wrestling with a stuffed animal, or making a “couch fort” with blankets are all good examples of healthy physical outlets. Children’s emotions can be overwhelming at times. They can easily feel “swamped” by circumstances or situations. Even older children don’t have the life experience to know that these things will pass. Let them know it’s ok to walk away when things get heated. Provide opportunities for your older child to relax, feel productive, and utilize his/her abilities/talents. Value them and they will come to value themselves. Teach them that nurturing their own soul takes time and effort, but it is worth doing.
Remember, every parent has moments when they are stressed/exhausted. If you need help, ask. The most effective parents are those who nurture themselves so that they can in turn nurture their children.