Managing Your Own and Your Child’s Anxiety During Re-Opening of Everything After Lockdown

A World of Worry!

As the various countries all around the world starts to re-open after months of lockdown, every family is facing difficult decisions about how to cope. Is it safe? Can we start visiting family members? Can our teens be trusted to take care when socialising with their mates?

Then of course there is the “school worry” – what will going back to school in September be like? WILL ALL the children go back or just some of them? Will parents still have jobs? It’s an increasingly worrying time and even though the worst of it DOES SEEM to be over we are still threatened with “second wave” aren’t we!

I’ve been treating mostly children with various anxieties all through lockdown, but now I’m treating many more parents with stress related problems like anxiety, depression, addictions etc…

Tolerating uncertainty is hard. It is essential for parents to be aware that THEIR anxiety may be rubbing off on their children.

Children are like sponges and pick up on what the parents are feeling very quickly. One little girl said to me when I asked her what she mainly worried about:

”I worry about my mummy because she doesn’t usually get cross with me and yesterday she really shouted at me and my brother and lost her temper and banged her fist on the table like this ( she showed me!) and she NEVER does that so now I am worried that she is going a bit mad. Maybe she’s going to get the corona virus?

Naturally I reassured her that mummy losing her temper doesn’t mean she is going to get the virus – however, this just showed me how a child’s mind can misinterpret things very easily.  There is no quick solution for anxiety, nor is it the same for everyone, as we all cope differently, but hypnotherapy works extremely well with the sub-concious mind and can make you feel more relaxed even after just one session.

“But I Feel So Out of Control!”

When we feel out of control it makes us stressed and anxious, and at the moment we are all feeling totally out of control so the next best thing is “ acceptance”. Some problems will have practical solutions, but others, like going back to school in September and how it’s all going to pan out, are not possible to even guess at the moment, as none of us really know what it’s going to be like. So all we can do is tell ourselves, that yes, it would be great to know what the future looks like, but just at this moment in time we don’t, so we cant make any real decisions now but as soon as we DO have the correct information we can start planning.

Keep Social Connections Going!

If you have felt very disconnected from everyone (family, friends, colleagues etc) – get reconnected!  I’m not saying go back to your full social life but at least reach out to your close friends and family who will hopefully give you support and advice, and if you have a “fun friend” give them a call and let their positivity rub off on you!

I know many people are worried about social distancing (or lack of sometimes) so just be honest and tell your friends and family you are worried – be clear and concise and say things like “ We really want to see you, and this is what we were thinking – what do YOU think?” in that way, you can set your own boundaries, just as you would do if a stranger came too close in the supermarket!

When anxiety is not treated it can make you feel overwhelmed or out of control.

One of the mum’s whom I’m treating for anxiety said :

“I thought I was coping really well but my daughter asked me a simple a question and then I snapped at her really nastily and when I saw the look on her little face, I felt so awful and such a failure as a mother!”

I hear things like this a lot and I advise parents to take a step back when they are feeling stressed and take a few deep breaths – go and stand out in the fresh air for a few minutes and look at the sky, the trees, anything in nature to make you feel more grounded Then when you come back in explain to your child/children that you too (just like they could be) are feeling all those big emotions and need to take five minutes just to reboot! They will learn from this too and then when THEY feel those big emotions, they will model YOUR behaviour!

Do Get Help if You Feel You Need it!

If you, as a parent, are struggling with the following, then do try and get some help as it may just get worse and then will be much harder to cope with.

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Overeating
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Snapping at the children (or the dog!)
  • Feeling panicky
  • Headaches

If your child is struggling with anxiety these are some of the most common symptoms:

  • Not sleeping
  • Fear of going to bed
  • Not eating
  • Senses increased (loud noises, bright lights etc)
  • Habits such as nose picking, nail biting, chewing sleeves, tics.
  • Headaches
  • Tummy aches
  • Anger outbursts
  • Constantly asking questions (more than normal)
  • Aggression

These are just a few, but of course every child is different.

Once the summer is over – what’s going to happen?

Naturally, this is a question everyone is asking. It is impossible to say what’s going to happen isn’t it? We have to be positive and hope that this will soon be over and we will be able to gain some normality again but we also have to be realistic and perhaps be prepared that things could go downhill again, the virus could have a second wave, and we may have to lock down again. 

One lady whose child is very worried about “ the second wave” told her daughter:

“ Yes, it’s a possibility that it may happen again, and it will be very sad if it does, but we got through it as a family didn’t we? And we’ll get through it again, because we are superheroes aren’t we?”

I thought that was a fantastic answer because she could then go on to talk about superheroes and other things!

Make sure your child is prepared for a “different type of school” in September (if they haven’t been back in June!)  Communication with your child at all times during this madness is the best advice I can give because if the child is left worrying about all the “What if’s…” their anxiety will become worse!

But if you feel that yourself or your child could do with a couple of sessions of therapy to get him or her over this difficult time do let me know. You can contact me at:

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