August is a time of holidays and fun for most people. For parents of children on the autistic spectrum that time can also cause high levels of anxiety and stress. Here’s some tips to help you reduce stress and anxiety levels.
Taking a child on the spectrum on holiday/somewhere new needs and requires some additional planning to ensure that the holiday can be enjoyed by all the family, especially if going to a holiday location for the first time. These help reduce stress and anxiety for the family. This planning can include social stories, looking on internet to see the area and the accommodation to familiarise your child with the area and explaining the travel arrangements. Alongside this are the lists of things to remember to make your child feel secure, such as favourite blanket, toy or clothes. All anxiety and stress reduction
There are a number of things that you can do to help reduce anxiety and stress for yourself in the run up, whilst travelling, on holiday and in days after the holiday. I have listed 3 top tips below.
Essential Oil Rollerball
Prepare a roller ball with essential oils which will help reduce stress and anxiety levels. Use this on your wrists or your child’s wrists prior to and during travelling and during times of anxiety and stress.
Popular oils are lavender and chamomile mixed with carrier oil (such as grape seed oil). The roller ball containers can be purchased on Amazon.
Relaxing Breathing Techniques
When feeling anxious or stressed, focus on your breath. This focuses your mind, relaxes the body and slows your breathing.
- Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest.
- Hold your breath and count to 10 (if you can or build up to this);
- Breath out through your mouth and think “relax” to yourself;
- Take a deep breath in through your nose for 3-5 seconds. The hand on your abdomen should rise whilst the hand on your chest should stay still.
- Then breath out through your mouth making a whooshing noise for 3-5 seconds, whilst thinking “relax”. The hand on your abdomen should fall as you exhale.
Repeat this for about 5 minutes. Practice regularly so that you are comfortable doing this when you need it.
Stress Reducing Hand reflex points
The Solar Plexus reflex. The solar plexus is the green spot in the centre of the palm on the hand diagram. Press this point whilst taking deep breaths;
Adrenal reflex. The adrenal reflex is the dark green spot at the base of the thumb on the hand diagram. With thumb and finger pinch at the base of the thumb and first finger. Squeeze while taking deep breaths.
These can be used without anyone else noticing. You can use an Association of Reflexology interactive hand reflexology explorer to get the right place.
Remember if you are using any of these techniques for the first time it is best to practice prior to your holiday so that they are familiar to your child and family and become part of the norm. All the family can use these tips to reduce stress and anxiety.
If everyone can relax and de-stress it will be a better holiday and an Awesome August.