To keep your cool while parenting a child with mental illness sometimes takes every drop of your energy. Especially when you’re annoyed, upset, cranky, irritated or just plain stressed out. Getting upset is a normal thing for all people, but it takes a few tricks to keep your anger in check. And when you can keep your cool, your child will, too. Here are three steps you can use to keep your anger in check and calm down.
Share you burden. Talking things out loud can give you a few things. One is perspective. One of the things I work with seeing my clients is negative thinking. When you already have negative thoughts, it is very hard to shake them if you keep them to yourself. When you talk about your feelings (or frustrations), you get the thoughts out. I just did this today with a friend. Telling her about my problems didn’t make them go away, but I did feel better. I didn’t feel as weighed down after the venting as I did before. Get the negativity out and bring the positive in by venting it out.
For me, writing has always been a great outlet. I keep a journal to write EVERYTHING that weighs me down. The physical act of writing gets me connected with my feelings, but also allows me to get them off my mind. But, writing isn’t the only thing I do to reduce my temperature. I love to walk or clean when I’m upset. Pounding the pavement gets my negative energy out in a positive way. Plus, I get the added bonus of a good exercise. Cleaning helps, too. When I’m fuming, scrubbing the tub helps me scrub away my anger. Anything you can do to get yourself moving (or doing) can get you back to normal.
Take quiet time
My favorite time of the day is after Bob goes to bed. I often end up staying up late just taking my quiet time. I listen to the sound of the television going through the quiet apartment. It brings me such peace to sit in stillness. My quiet time is sacred and so enjoyable that I look forward to it daily. Take time regularly, even if it’s 5 minutes a day to take in your surroundings. You can reflect on the best part of your day, think about your favorite place or even your bed if you want. Quiet time can soothe your soul and your blood pressure.
These steps will not take your problems away. You’ll make mistakes. You’ll be imperfect. But, the steps will help you manage your anger in healthy way so that you can be a great parent. I use these steps for many things – to de-stress, reduce my anger and to get through the day. Parenting is hard. But I know that I can do it when I keep my cool.