It's been a tough day. You didn't get enough sleep. When you woke up you stubbed your toe, fell over into the kitchen only to realise you left the laundry sitting wet overnight..again. You've got a cold and feel miserable but you need to keep going because little people are relying on you to make them breakfast. There are a million things you feel like you need to do before you even get a mouthful of your own breakfast. And then your child throws all their cereal all over the floor at your feet complaining they don't like it. You feel the heat rising, your fists and teeth clench up... You have ZERO calm to share in this moment! You want to SCREAM!!
Can you relate?
Following last month's article on cultivating your inner calm, this month we are focussing on when things have escalated and you haven't got any more calm to share (it happens to us all!). So this time we are focussing more specifically about not joining the chaos! Because let's face it, we can't always keep up with our calm cultivating practices. Sometimes it seems there's just a perfect storm of things going wrong and you get wound up. You are human after all.
First be sure to download your free printable refrigerator sheet that accompanies this article (by clicking here) so you can easily put this into action!
So what can you do when you've lost your calm & you're all fired up?
The first responders emergency team approach is to first recognise and admit that you are feeling angry and you want to unleash your inner chaos!
What are your warning signs?
Sighing or tutting
Feeling irritable & snappy
Heart beating faster
Redness or heat rising up in your face
Wanting everyone to get out of your way!
Here are some first aid emergency approaches for in the moment you feel your temperature rise...
Change your breathing. See the free refrigerator sheet for specific techniques. Slowing your breathing is one of the quickest ways to switch your autonomic nervous system into a more relaxed state.
Change your lens. Repeat "They're having a hard time" to remind yourself! Choose a mantra that works for you to keep perspective of your long term aims with your relationship.
OK boiling point is imminent!...
You can feel you are going to explode so now the focus needs to be on protecting your child from the fire your inner dragon desperately needs to fire out. Where ever possible leave your child/ren in a safe place or with a safe adult and remove yourself before letting it out. You need to let out that inner tension but not transfer it on to your child.
Safe venting ideas...
Therapist in the cupboard. A personal favourite! Open the cupboard and say all you need to say totally unfiltered to your imaginary therapist. You can pull faces too. Very handy! ;)
Scream into a pillow
Shake. Sometimes you will feel this excess energy in your body and you may need to shake it out to release it.
Ok, it was too late & I messed up. Time for repair work..
Apologise.. Heartfelt and simple is best. Look out for a future post on how to apologise to a child when you've made a mistake (we all do).
Reflect..When we lose our tempers and get angry it's usually hiding more vulnerable emotions of fear or pain. When your child did something that made you feel disrespected and out of control, ask yourself "who or what else has made me feel this way?". If there is a pattern and some deep seated underlying issues unresolved it will be beneficial to have some regular personal therapy of your own. You can note down the "triggers" from your child's behaviour and process them more deeply during your own therapy sessions.
Do less! Take some things off your plate... When you look at your to do list and daily tasks is there anything you can delegate or delete? Start with the tasks that would give you the biggest relief to not have to do anymore. You don't have to do it all. Try to simplify where you can to avoid overwhelm.
Click here to download your free refrigerator sheet and keep yourself on track even in those tense moments! It comes with a free guide that allows you to personalise your emergency plan.
Print it, fill out the parts specifically for you and put it somewhere you can see so you can have that extra support and reminder of the simple but important things involved in supporting children (by taking care of yourself).
Let me know if you have any other tips to share in the comments below!