The past year has been life-changing for me. I’ve learned not to stress so much. It’s been a process, complete with prayer, God’s Word, sleeping, TV, reading for fun, and figuring out “no” is not a bad word. I’ve been happier, healthier, and probably more pleasant to be around. I hadn’t given much thought to how all of my changes have been affecting my little guys.
That is, until I noticed my oldest son trying to pile on and do more and more and more – read more books, do more activities, fold more clothes, then become upset when his long list of items didn’t get done. Now some of you may think, big deal, be glad he wants to get things done. And I am. However, I also recognize the signs of starting to pile too much on yourself unnecessarily. Maybe I’m over-thinking it. But just in case, I’m going to put a few safeguards in place to help him handle stress positively, and head the negative part of it off at the pass.
1. Make a manageable list. For him, that should be two things he really wants to accomplish with his day. This will not be a mandatory daily list, but any means. But on the days I see he seems overwhelmed, I’ll pull him aside and offer this solution.
2. Make sure he is getting enough rest. Boy oh boy, are my little guys ever cranky when they don’t get enough sleep! As an adult, this can increase the stress factor tenfold. I’m going to ensure he knows how important this is right now.
3. Make him have fun. Yes, I said “make him” have fun. I’ll put on a song and we’ll dance around the living room. We’ll have an ice cream eating contest. We’ll play hide and seek in the house. In the process I’ll be teaching him that when tension mounts, a merry heart really does do good like a medicine.
We’re still early in the process, but that’s the entire point. I want to teach him tools to cope effectively now, so he can sail through later.