Parenting is hard enough on its own. However, when you, as the parent, have a panic attack during a critical parenting moment, it seems pretty impossible. Here are some simple tips so you can still parent through a panic attack.
What are Panic Attacks?
Panic attacks are typically sudden fears or worries that are often felt through your body. Your heart starts to pound, your body trembles, and you might start sweating.
Panic attacks can be very quick or last for a few minutes. You can also have multiple panic attacks a day.
Panic attacks can be very common with new parents as this can be a challenging and fear-provoking time.
Panic Attack Techniques
Here are four simple hacks to help you get through your panic attacks so you can still parent during those crucial times. Use one at a time or multiple at once! Do what works best for you.
Deep breathing has so many incredible benefits. For one, it allows more oxygen into the brain. Once that oxygen is in the brain, we can think more clearly.
Often when we have panic attacks, it’s hard to think straight. Getting oxygen back into the brain is the first step to overcoming those attacks.
Deep breathing also helps you to take that time for yourself. Even if it is only for a couple of breaths, it puts you at a distance from the problem at hand.
It helps you to not make rash decisions and parent in a way you might regret.
Doing a four-square breathing technique helps me the most. Here is how you do that:
- Breathe in for 4 seconds
- Hold for 4 seconds
- Breathe out for 4 seconds
- Hold for 4 seconds
- Repeat as needed
Talk Through it Together
It is perfectly fine to share what you are going through with your child. In fact, I believe it is so healthy and beneficial to share those emotions with your child.
Share with them that you are going through a panic attack. Include all the emotions you are experiencing as it happens. Open up to them as much as you can.
Even if it is a toddler or infant who cannot understand you, just the act of letting out our emotions helps to reduce the panic attack.
Not only that, but we are teaching our children that we have emotions too. That not everything is good all the time. But, even when things are hard, you can overcome them. You are teaching your child how to regulate their emotions through sharing yours with them.
It may be hard, embarrassing, or even awkward. But it will make a difference. Keep at it, and you will be amazed at how much better you feel afterward.
Whenever I am having a hard time, I tell my toddler. Here is just one example of what I say:
“Mama is struggling right now. I am feeling overwhelmed by everything, and that is okay. So, mama might look sad for a little bit, but I will feel better soon.”
As simple as they may seem, it does have a powerful effect, not only on you but also on your children. Sharing your emotions is one of the best things you can do for them.
I am a huge believer in positive affirmations, mainly because I have seen them change my life.
Positive affirmations have astounding benefits for your life as well, including helping you overcome your panic attacks.
In this case, positive affirmations will mainly be dealing with the panic attack at hand to be personalized to each individual’s situation.
However, here are some examples of what some might look like:
- I am strong
- While I may not be okay right now, I know I will become okay
- I can get through this
- I will work through this
- I will figure this out
- This panic attack (or problem) does not define me
- I can do hard things
And so forth. You can say these things in front of a mirror if you can, or simply in your head. I personally like to make these statements while I go through my deep breathing as well. These work hand in hand together.
Grounding is another essential tool to help you during a panic attack as a parent. This can be done at the same time as deep breathing and your affirmations.
There are two techniques I like to do.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1
First, you can name five things you see, four things you can touch, three things you hear, two things you smell, and one thing you taste. You can change it up as you please, but you need to include all five senses.
This allows your brain to focus on different things and uses your senses to help you move through your anxiety and fear. Changing your focus can seem very hard, but it helps make things a lot easier as you do this method.
Another great one is to describe where you currently are and use as many of your senses as possible. Then, I like always to include the phrase, “I am safe” at the end.
“I am sitting on my chair at my office. I am writing on my computer. I feel the keys click underneath my fingers. I see the bright screen. I can feel the warmth of the heater next to me. I hear the clicks of the keys as I type and the wind outside my window. I am safe.”
Panic attacks are hard and come out of the blue at times. However, you can manage them with these four effective strategies.
Parenting is hard enough, so use these strategies so you can work through your panic attacks and get through these challenging moments on top!