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When we are parenting in an anxious time, whether it be anxiety due to our personal problems, our kid’s problems, our work problems, problems in the community or even world problems, we can become debilitated by stress and worry.

Sometimes we soothe ourselves with sugar, or booze, or the internet, or over-talking, or over-sleeping. And don’t get me wrong, little doses of all of the above are excellent and can be a form of self-care, but let’s diversify our portfolio, shall we?

When faced with a scary unknown I try to add a few new thoughts into my head, “I can’t control the outcome of my mammogram, or if there are lice on my child’s head, or if my new boss likes me, or if the school district lines will change or what happens on election day, but TODAY I can go to bed with a neat closet. Today I CAN wipe down those counters. Today I CAN put healthy food into my body.”

I like to go back to basics. Food, sleep, play, work. I don’t try to STOP surfing the internet, I just make space — even 25 minutes — to work on something productive. I don’t try to STOP eating some chocolate, I just get out the carrots also. I don’t try to STOP worrying so I can sleep, I just add in a bath, a screen shut downtime, a meditation. 

In times of anxiety we need to lean on each other, take baby steps, and keep wiping down the counters, because hey – a clean counter can’t make things worse!

There’s no shortage of things to be anxious about lately and no better place to find comfort, concepts, and community than right here at PEP! Join Certified PEP Parent Educator Paige Trevor on Wednesday, February 19th at 9 pm ET for a new webinar, Kids & Anxiety: Strategies for Finding Calm & Shaping Solutions.

This article originally appeared on the blog Balancing Act and is reprinted here with permission.