You can’t change the past, but you can ruin the present by worrying over the future. ~Anonymous
It’s human nature to worry. When we become parents worry soars to a whole new threat level. Little did we know, that worry would become ingrained in us from that day on for the rest of our lives.
In the beginning our worries are relatively small. We worry our baby isn’t eating enough or gaining weight. We worry they aren’t sleeping through the night, rolling over, crawling, walking or talking as quickly as the other kids in our mommy and me class. When they’re older the issues get bigger making our worries greater every year.
Yes, for some people faith gets them through tough times, others it’s family and friends, those support systems we can’t live without. But that deep, dark fear, that immense pang of worry when our baby is sick, when our toddler falls and hits his head on the playground, when our daughter is bullied in middle school, when our teen doesn’t answer his phone and is out past curfew, and when they move away and go out on their own. Daily fears can build up and consume EVERY, SINGLE part of our life.
And suddenly everything in our world is affected. Our relationship with our spouse, our co-workers, our parents, our friends and most of all, our children. Worry will always be part of parenthood, but have you ever thought how constant fear and worry about the future affect your life today?
The dictionary definition of worry is “to give way to anxiety or unease; allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles.” A few synonyms for worry are strain, stress and tension. Some antonyms; calmness, content and peace.
Think about it. What sounds better, stress or calmness? Tension or content? Strain or peace? Pretty simple huh? Not really. But if you think about, worry can ruin your relationships. Worrying constantly about your children will inevitably consume your adult conversation with your spouse, when you should spend that time “dating” each other and connecting as adults. Worry can ruin your relationship with co-workers if you show a lack of trust or have issues delegating tasks. Worrying constantly about your kids can make you a helicopter parent, a nag, a “NO” parent, a perfectionist, a genuinely not fun person who has zero chance to score a Starbucks date with your teenage daughter.
As much as I can’t erase your worries as a parent, we can learn to manage them. Keep in mind I don’t have a Psychology degree or MD. I’ve just been a mom for the past 17 years. I don’t know everything but I do have a few tricks to a worry-free or worry-less life.
- BREATHE. Have you ever gone through an entire day without taking one deep breath? Yeah, me too. Sit for a minute, in carpool line, at your desk, in the bathroom, at a stop light, and just breathe, deeply.
- BUSY. Especially in the darkest moments of parenthood, don’t hide. Don’t lock yourself in your room or disconnect from those around you or the activities that you love, stay busy. Bonus your laundry and dishes will always get done.
- PRAY. If you’re at all religious praying can ease your mind and warm your heart. If you’re spiritual or meditate take some time to yourself.
- EXERCISE. Nothing helps clear my head better than a good workout. I’m not a fitness guru, sometimes I go for months and never lace up my sneakers except to sit on the sideline to watch a soccer game. But I have heard exercise increases something in your brain that makes you feel better. That’s as scientific as I get.
- SLEEP. Everything seems like it’s falling apart after 3 hours sleep. Hit the hay. You’ll feel better in the morning and can tackle problems with a clear head.
Moral of the story, worry less, live more. Stay present, stay calm…today. Yesterday may have been awful, tomorrow may be plain dreadful and 2018 may be your worst year yet. But you are here today, how will you choose to live?