Friday, April 20, 2012

Kids and Anxiety: Releasing Stress

So when tension builds up, what can we do to let it go?  We have worked to find ways to relax.  Paul and I discovered that the things that used to be relaxing for us before we had kids just weren't fun anymore; weekends with nothing to do in the woods, long road trips to weddings, lazing around the library, strolling the mall criticizing the store displays, long hours at snobby coffee shops, cross-country road trips with vans of teenagers.  Picture any of the above scenes filled with bored, demanding children sucking all the fun and relaxation out of the room.  Just not fun anymore, no? 
The old ways didn't work anymore, but made us more stressed out!  We didn't abandon our pleasures, but we did have to find new ways of relaxing together. 

This post isn't so much about relaxing family leisure time as about ways we've discovered of releasing steam in everyday life, for kids and adults.

 -Release stress with love and work and play.  We have worked to find ways to counteract stress.  Think good-feeling bodily exertion and touch; wrestling, rough-housing, cuddling with blankets, dancing to music we like, playing games, telling jokes, being silly. 

-Rhythmic activities like swinging, rollerskating, jumping (one of our beds is a mere mattress on the floor just so that the kids can jump!)

-Being in and doing stuff in nature.  This is so refreshing and revitalizing.  Get away from roads and machines and media.  Uphill and down dale, get into leaves and birdsong and water and skyscape and the creaks of growing things.

-Firelight and candles.  Fires outdoors are even better.

-Time alone, for those who like or need it!

-Soothing baths, waterplay, lots of backrubs.  Backrubs, and hand and foot massages are also great for desensitizing sensitive and stressed kids.  Playdough, baking bread, doing dishes (!) and laughing have all been helpful.

-Confession-- something one doesn't often think of as relaxing.  But man, if there's something weighing on me, I just can't relax until I get it off my chest!

-Worship- Music, dance, art,

-Absorption.  Really another form of worship.  Losing oneself in art.

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