How your stress and anxiety can impact your group
In a recent article, we discussed different strategies that may help children who suffer from anxiety. This time around, let’s talk about the anxiety and stress experienced by parents and early childhood educators. If I were to ask you which elements of your personal and professional life cause stress, what would your answer be? Is there a connection between your level of stress and the anxiety and stress the children in your group experience? I really want you to think about it, because your anxiety and stress can have many impacts. Even if you go out of your way to hide it, children will detect even the tiniest level of stress.
A stressed or anxious adult is more likely to react strongly, be more irritable, and have less patience with children. Often, that is precisely when doubtful, inconsistent, and exaggerated interventions occur. The stress and anxiety you feel will most certainly impact the children in your group. They can in turn become more anxious and reactive. Their lack of understanding of what is going on will lead to insecurity. Crying, screaming, and irritability may be present, not to mention a foreseeable increase in negative behaviour or attention seeking. Since these impacts are quite important, finding ways to control and balance your anxiety and stress is necessary.
It’s time to STOP and RELAX so you can implement a few practical tactics that will help reduce your level of stress and anxiety.
- Learn to breathe. Three deep breaths can suffice to reduce the pressure you are feeling.
- Undertake only one thing at a time. Avoid trying to manage everything simultaneously. Really devote yourself to what you are doing.
- Monitor your inner speech, keep in mind that your thoughts affect your level of anxiety. A positive message will have a positive impact on your situation.
- You have power over your breathing, the present moment, your thoughts. Remembering these three key words can greatly help you manage your stress and anxiety.
- Allow time for breaks and spend time one on one with yourself.
By working on your own manifestations of anxiety and stress, you will have a direct impact on the children you work with. You will most likely see an improvement within your group once you regain control over your thoughts and body. If you feel like you have completely lost control, I suggest seeking help, an unbiased take on your situation that will most certainly help you see more clearly. Do it for the children in your group, for you…