When we become parents, it can seem that we are expected to enjoy every single moment - and that if we don't, it somehow means that we don't quite love our child as much as we should. When sleep is a challenge, parents can spend their day dreading bedtime and/or with a cranky, tired child where it feels like no one is having fun. And here's the rub, whilst anxiety is well-known to drive sleep disturbances, the relationship is bidirectional meaning that a tired parent has a greater risk of feeling anxious. To understand more about parental anxiety, and learn some simple strategies with which we can begin to manage it, read what Holly Crosby from Simplyou Coaching has to say...
Having a baby will often be the very best experience a person will have in their life. It will certainly feature up there with their most memorable ever days! And whilst it ticks a million positive boxes, we can very easily fall in to the trap of not allowing ourselves to admit that it can also the be most difficult, stressful and anxious time in our lives too.
I’m talking from my own experience and from that of my clients too.
Anxiety can easily be through the roof for parents. Looking after a new baby, with so much to do and think about that there is a real worry underneath that about how they will get through it. Is the baby OK? Are they sleeping well? Are they feeding well? Are they putting on the right amount of weight? Are they passing all the milestones at the right time? Thoughts can often seem to spiral out of control thinking about all this ‘stuff’ and more on top.
Thoughts that often leave us fearing the future are from an anxious mind.
Interrupted sleep when we wake thinking about past scenarios or future ones is an anxious mind.
And here’s the thing. Just like a cold or a broken bone we can do something about it!
Here are a few of my thoughts about anxiety…
It’s the first step you need to take and it’s not one to shy away from. Anxiety will feature in everyone’s life at some time and on some level so there is no need to feel negatively about talking about it. In fact, what often happens is when you start to talk about it it weighs less heavy on your shoulders. Shining a light on it does work!
If you want to manage it more effectively, understanding where its coming from is really important. Let’s be frank, our mind is a complex organ! So much information to take in, process, retain, predict, the list is endless! But when we start to better understand our thoughts and what’s important to us, we can have a huge impact on them.
Thinking it will go away on its own won’t work. Of course, it would be simpler and easier if that was the case but unfortunately, it’s not! Equally telling yourself ‘just don’t think/worry about it’ won’t work either – that’s the equivalent of someone breaking their arm and saying ‘oh just forget it’s broken’ and the bone healing at those very words! The key is to take action.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. We often expect we should be able to cope with everything life throws at us. A good way to get some perspective is to ask yourself what would you tell a friend who confided in you all the same things that you are experiencing yourself. We are generally much harder on ourselves and kinder to others, yet this is not the way it needs to be!
There are so many answers to this question! And chances are you probably know deep down. But knowing, understanding and acting are different things.
Think about a previous time in your life when you’ve been anxious. What helped you then? Can you try the same or something similar again?
The first thing I would recommend is to share it with someone who is supportive of you. Talking about what’s bothering us, shining a light on it, makes it a little easier to deal with. So, talk!
What can you do to help yourself? What actions can you take to help you feel a little better?
You can also ask yourself who can help in a professional capacity? A Nurse, GP, Counsellor, Coach. Who can you go to?
Please remember that others, even around you, will have experienced similar in the past and will experience similar in the future. So, you don’t need to feel embarrassed or ashamed for talking about this and acting on it, in order to better manage your thoughts.
From Counselling to Coaching and Training, my aim is to help people live happier, healthier lives in a way that suits them. Whether that be managing anxiety or stress, achieving a goal or finding out what makes you happy, I believe we all have our own answers but aren’t always able to access, understand and act upon them. And that’s what I help people to do.
When your child isn’t sleeping well, it can be all-consuming. I know because I have been there! To save you spending hours trawling the internet, only to end up more confused than when you started, I have created Sleep Solutions On-Demand - allowing you to access the best-quality information and gently improve your little one's sleep, without tears or training.
Sleep Basics On-Demand is a series of ten concise, easy-to-digest videos to help you nail naps, banish early-rising and everything in between, putting my knowledge and experience at your fingertips 24-hours a day.