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I Couldn’t Cope Any Longer

I couldn’t cope any longer.

I had been sitting with Jordan, trying to help her with her schoolwork, and she was just not getting it.

She would write a little, then it was almost like she forgot what she was doing, and stopped. I didn’t understand at all.

The more frustrated I got, the more she shut down. I could see this, but I couldn’t stop myself. I kept thinking that we have been at this for over an hour now, and it should have only taken 5 minutes.

I could feel the frustration building up inside of me.

I had to give myself a time out before I completely lost my mind.

I had never given myself a time out before, but in this moment it felt right.

I would give my girls a time out when their emotions were becoming too overwhelming for them. So if they were not listening to me and getting frustrated, they would sit down on the bottom step to calm down. It was NOT used as a punishment for being bad.

The frustration I was feeling was real.

I could feel my blood starting to boil inside of me.

I could feel my face getting flush.

My daughter Jordan could see this too. And the more frustrated I got, the more withdrawn Jordan became. She was scared.

My middle daughter, Ashleigh, who was playing with her toys during all this, came up to me as I was crying on the step and asked me what was wrong.

mommy’s emotions are getting the best of her right now and I need a time out to calm down.” I told her through my sobs.

She kissed me on my forehead and said it will all be alright.

The best thing I did that day was give myself a time out.

I gave myself the gift of time to control my feelings before I let my feelings control me.

The best strategies that have helped me in the heat of the moment are:

  • Remove myself from the situation. You always want to make sure your kids are safe before you leave the room. If sitting on the stairs is not an option, then escape in another room till you are able to calm down.

  • Deep belly breaths. I would breath slowly deep into my belly for a count of 4, hold for a count of 3 and slowly release for a count of 5. I repeat this at least 3 times, but can go for 5 if I am really upset.

  • A series of muscle contractions. I do this exercise with Jordan when she is in a rage or angry. We call it “squeeze your lemons” . You imagine you have a lemon in each hand, and you squeeze them as hard as you can. You need to make sure all your muscles are shaking, that is how hard you have to squeeze them. You count to 3 then release, and repeat.

  • Humming or singing. The Vagus Nerve in your brain is responsible for monitoring a lot of sensory information. It is attached to your vocal cords and humming or singing will activate the nerve and help you calm down

I use these strategies on myself whenever I am feeling like I can't cope any longer.

I have also taught them to all my kids and they are able to use these strategies to help regulate their own emotions and responses to situations that they are frustrated with.

A quick reminder from me to do belly breaths, squeeze your lemons or give yourself some space, reminds them that they do know that they can calm themselves down. That is so empowering, right there.

Emotions are real, we cannot escape them.

What we can control is how we cope and how we respond to them.



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