Tips for overwhelmed parents (and how to make it to New Year!)
A client of mine described her life with pre-school kids as this: draining, exhausting and boring! She felt she’d morphed into a ‘non-entity’ that spent all day meeting ‘needs’ before collapsing at night. If her partner dared go anywhere near her side of the bed, she’d scream ‘don’t even think about it!'.
If you have young children you may recognise these feelings; the ‘old’ you has gone and the ‘new’ you is a stranger.
How can hypnotherapy help?
Hypnotherapy helps in unique ways (to other therapies) with this; hypnotic regression often shows up unhelpful beliefs; parts therapy works to reconcile ‘parts’ of you that are stuck in former identities and future pacing (imagining the future) can help re-shape a new, more powerful and capable ‘you’. In led hypnosis you get to notice and then re-fashion models you’ve adopted by accident. e.g. your mother’s moods dominated your house and now you find you are (and don’t want to be) doing the same.
Talking to clients while they are in a hypnotic state brings up all sorts of surprises from the sub-conscious. Clients will often recall an event that led to an unwanted behaviour, but when in trance, the sub-conscious will bring up an earlier, forgotten memory that is actually the root cause. The benefit of this is once the subconscious has been persuaded there is a benefit to letting go, it will do so.
For parents feeling stripped of all identity, hypnotherapy will investigate whether behaviour is useful and thoughts are helpful, and also what makes her/him feel nourished and fulfilled (so we can make sure she/he is getting at least a tiny bit of it). While building identity (bottom up), hypnotherapy can also teach coping strategies, e.g. a wonderful tapping technique that works by self-tapping meridians which bring down feelings of anxiety, anger and stress in seconds.
15 tips for overwhelmed parents
Parenting is emotionally complicated; it triggers childhood issues, it pushes us to our limits and we get ‘lost’ in a new version of the person we knew.
So here are some tips if you feel overwhelmed or ‘lost’ in parenting:
- Eat nutritious food. Make sure you cook yourself things you like and don’t survive on leftovers you cooked the kids.
- Get out in nature every day; don’t be on the phone and don’t think about anything but the sights, smells and sounds around you.
- Don’t cut off from friends/family. However much you crave silence (or sleep) when they’re in bed, try to keep up with friends, especially ones without kids who tell you about ‘the other side’.
- Check your partner (if there is one) is doing house chores and, if he/she’s not, give him/her a list they have to tick off each week.
- Keep a gratitude diary. It may be by your bed but every day try to write a few things you are grateful for. Get everyone to keep one too.
- Keep things around that pep you up; a favourite music track, some affirmations, a quote by the sink, a picture that makes you smile in front of the loo...
- Don’t over-fill your diary. Don’t be any busier than you have to be. It will just be another drain and will exhaust you. Instead, pencil in some ‘quiet/meditative time'.
- When you make a new parent friend, ask yourself if you’d hang out with her if she did NOT have a baby. If the answer is no, don’t hang out any more because the chances are he/she is either worrying or boring you with baby talk.
- 7/11 breathing; seven in, nice, calm and easy, and 11 out, slowly, steadily. Lock yourself in the bathroom when it’s getting too much and do this for a bit.
- Walk away; instead of reacting, remove yourself and reflect. The kids will hate this but it is far better than blowing up in front of them. REFLECT don’t REACT.
- Prioritise; don’t get in the habit of doing bits of housework all day, it’s boring. Make sure you’re doing things you want to do and not getting sucked up with stuff ‘that needs doing’.
- Make sure you get quality time with the kids and don’t mistake being ‘around’ for being with them. Get down on the floor and let them lead your play.
- Lean on people. Ask favours and demand support. If you never get babysitting make sure it’s not because you’ve never called on a favour or asked nicely.
- Sleep hygiene; make sure you have a nightly routine. Switch off devices, maybe do some stretches, play a meditation track or do some yoga/meditation. It doesn’t really matter what the details, but that it’s a nightly routine in which you get to wind down and secures you proper sleep. If you’re not getting seven hours, go to bed earlier.
- Do one thing a week that nourishes you; it might be a lie in, breakfast in bed, a long bath, a hobby or activity, a massage, a gallery. Whatever it is, it is just for you.
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About Elizabeth Knights-Trench
My hypnotherapy practice is in Brixton, South London. I specialise in helping clients with anxiety, stress, worry, self-esteem and confidence issues. I use a combination of tools and techniques from Solution Focussed hypnotherapy, Neuro Linguistic Programming, Internal Family Systems and Cognitive Behavioural Therapies.… Read more
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