HOW TO HELP YOURSELF AND YOUR CHILDREN DEAL WITH STRESS AND ANXIETY
by Marsha Wilkinson, LCSW
Stress and anxiety cause physiological changes to occur in our bodies which affect our ability to relax, sleep well, and enjoy our lives. One of the most powerful ways to reduce these is through sensory outlets. Do any activities together that create laughter and/or body movement. Here are a few ideas; Finger paint, with your kitchen counter as the canvas (You can use instant pudding instead of paint for an easy clean up). Create pictures with chalk outside on your driveway or walk way. Build a snowman or snow family or fort together. Go walking, hiking, biking, swimming, etc. If a child is inside see how many jumping Jack’s they can do (this will release a lot of anxiety stuck inside a child that they don’t know how to verbalize) You can also see how far they can run up and down the block. Make play dough or bread dough and just play with it. Make music together (create instruments out of household items).Watch funny movies that make you laugh. Go to the local animal shelter and walk the dogs or pet the cats. Do any art or creative expression (with no directions being used) this allows the body and mind to release whatever is problematic.
As adults find whatever it is that brings you peace and make time for self-care. Children watch and learn from how we handle stress in our lives, they will model what we do.