The Ever Present Feeling in Stepfamily Life

Anxiety is ever present in stepfamily life. Anxiety is defined as a feeling of nervousness or worry. There are many triggers that cause anxiety in the stepmom/stepfamily role. 

  • Transitioning from having time with your partner by yourself to now having your stepchildren at home. You know the kids will dropped off shortly and you feel the anxiety begin…
  • Going to a soccer game and you know “the ex” will be there. Will she cause conflict? Scream at your husband? Go into an all out temper tantrum? On the way to the game, the anxiety begins…
  • You’re out spending a date night with your partner, when the phone rings. Then the texts begin. The anxiety rises…
  • It’s a holiday. You have to swap the kids midday to give the other parent their designated time. You have no interest in seeing “the ex” on Christmas day, but it’s now time to go drop them off. Here comes the anxiety…

Tools that work for my clients in managing their anxiety. Notice I said manage and not get rid of…

1. Create a mantra or affirmation that feels right to you. As you notice the anxiety kicking in, recite your mantra.
Example: I am in control and this feeling will pass. 

2. Get into your senses. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel? What do you smell?
Example: I see trees and grass. I hear cars moving and the wind blowing. I feel my foot on the gas pedal and my hands on the steering wheel. I smell the rain in the air. 

3. Just breathe. Bring your attention to your breath. Inhale through your nose. Hold your breath until you hit your wall. Exhale from your mouth. Repeat. Each time your mind wanders and your anxious thoughts come floating in, bring your attention back to your breath.
Example: Inhale- hold- I hope she doesn’t cause a scene in front of everyone- exhale. Inhale- why do I have to deal with this nonsense? – hold- exhale. 

These three ideas seem so easy but they’re not. They are simple, but not easy to do. Catch yourself in the midst of anxiety and try these ideas. See what works for you.  There are so many circumstances that cause anxiety in stepfamily life. You can learn to manage your anxiety and welcome a more calm energy into your life.

Click here to check out the Stepmom Warrior- Stepfamily Lifeline Services.

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