Having a child in the hospital or going to the hospital for medical treatment is stressful enough! Don’t add more stress for yourself! Here are some ways to prevent and reduce unnecessary additional stress.
Eat something. Parents often wait to eat if their child can’t eat. Although this is a nice gesture, your child needs you at your best. If you are tired and hungry, you will likely be more irritable and distracted. By eating something, you are nourishing your body which helps you to feel better, be more energized, and be able to focus easier on your child’s needs and the information shared by the medical staff.
Communicate with family and friends easier. Ever play the telephone game? One person shares a story and then it gets passed down from person to person. If you have, you know that by the time the story gets to the last person, it is a very different version of the original story. While fun to play, this can be extremely stressful when it is done with serious information. Instead, utilize a social site like Facebook or CarePages to update family and friends about important information. This way they hear the information straight from you and you don’t have to spend all day on the phone updating people and answering the same questions over and over!
Take a walk. Being confined to a small space for hours or days can make a person go crazy! If your child is able to get up and move around the hospital or unit, take a field trip out of the room. If they have to stay in their room, find a good time to step out of the room yourself for a couple minutes. I know you don’t want to leave your child’s side and that is exactly why you need to take just a couple minutes to get a breath of fresh air, grab a coffee, or even walk to the end of the hall and back. It will actually help to rejuvenate you, which allows you to come back with a little more energy and a clearer mind, so you can maximize the time you are spending with your child!
Use your imagination to relax. It can be difficult to find space or time to relax when in the hospital. Try taking a mental vacation by closing your eyes, breath in and out slowly, and imagine you are at the beach or at a favorite place of yours. Use all your senses to imagine what the sand feels like under your toes, the temperature of the water splashing onto your ankles, the warmth of the sun and the cool breeze you feel in your hair. Do you hear birds? Can you see the waves gently crashing into the shore?
Put your oxygen mask on first. In case of an emergency, put your oxygen mask on first and then assist those around you. You’ve heard the flight attendants say this on airplanes, and it applies to being in the hospital too. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, you are not going to be available physically, emotionally, or mentally for your child and other family members the way you could be. So, put your oxygen mask on and be there for your child and family the way you want to be!
What are some things you do to prevent and reduce stress when you have a loved one in the hospital or receiving medical treatment?