I wanted to share a couple of tools that I used with my daughter last night when she was having a tough time falling asleep. I feel like we need to dig deep into our "tool chest" right now more than ever and whenever I find something that works for us, I'm going to share it. I need these things as much as my kid so it helps me too! Here are some things to understand and do....
1. Night time is tough for anxiety. When we are tired, our resistance is down. Anxious thoughts creep in - DON'T LISTEN TO THEM! Thoughts are not facts. Think about how many things you have worried about at night that turned out to be 100% ok the next day. Just be kind to yourself and do whatever it takes to get through the day. One day at a time - now more than ever! I tell my daughter (and myself) that night time is not the best time to strategize or figure things out. I remind her to stay exactly where her feet are. Your mind might tell you: "Wait! You can't relax right now! There are important things to worry about!". Nope. Not true. Worrying when there's nothing we can do about it is not helpful. You can take action on anything that requires action in the morning. Try to let it go at night.
2. I pulled out my "God Jar" yesterday. You can make one of these things out of anything and it's a really useful tool for kids (and us). Use whatever verbiage you are comfortable with, it doesn't matter. We write down fears and put them in there. This does two things:
a. It gets the fears out of the mind and down onto paper, which takes some power out of them.
b. It's a tangible and understandable way to hand our fears over to whatever you believe in. Then, you can let it go. It's a way that we pray.
3. Gratitude Lists are huge for so many reasons. Our minds are super powerful but we cannot have two story lines going at the same time. YOU get to choose what you want to focus on at any moment. Get out a pen and paper and re-direct your mind towards all of the good things you have in your life that you are grateful for. I literally watched my daughter's mood change as we did this exercise last night and this technique has helped me tremendously as well. Where the focus goes, energy flows. Keep it positive.
4. Picture yourself happy, full of joy and free doing the things that you love. What's hard for my kid right now is not being able to do some of the things she loves to do. We're trying to be as creative as we can, but the fact is that there are some restrictions and we are out of our routine. There is so much power in VISUALIZATION. Close your eyes and picture yourself celebrating and having a great time. FEEL what that feels like. Vibrate at that frequency for as long as you can.
5. 10 DEEP breaths in and out is sometimes just what it takes. Breathe as deeply as you can. Make the inhales and exhales even. Guide your child to do the same. Keep count of the breaths. Tell your kid to imagine a balloon (in their favorite color) inflating and deflating in their tummy with each breath.
I am sending you and your families so much love right now. We are all in this together and you are not alone. It gave my daughter some comfort to understand that she is not the only one having these feelings right now. It helps me to know that we are all on this rollercoaster ride together as well. We will get through this. Be kind to yourself.
(the picture above is from a book called "It's Ok to Feel Things Deeply" by Carissa Potter- its GREAT)