It’s time for a mini-break. Not a weekend away at some luxurious destination (although that would be nice), but a parenting break – simply taking a few deep breaths and stepping away from the situation to find some peace and perspective.
First things first, check in with yourself and assess how you are feeling physically in your body. Later on you can unpack why you are so cross or triggered (maybe you felt disrespected?). Now isn’t the time to analyse how wronged you feel – this might wind you up more!
Now is the time to care for yourself, to regulate your body so that your emotions will follow. When you are about to explode, it is time to notice and attend to the symptoms of anger in your body. It’s physical intervention time! Here’s a checklist of three things to take a quick look at:
1. Look kind
Basically, ask yourself ‘how is my face?’ Are my teeth clenched? Am I glaring at my child? Deliberately soften your gaze and your facial expression. Try to relax any tension you're feeling in your body. Notice if you feel an immediate change in the intensity of your emotions.
2. Look cool
Okay, so this is actually more about feeling cool rather than looking cool. Check in with your body temperature – are you getting hot? Drink a glass of cold water and take your jumper off. Go to the sink and run cold water over your hands. Being too hot makes us more likely to be cross.
3. Look outside
Now, try to leave the room – without being dramatic (as in don’t slam doors). When the pressure is mounting, we need to create some space between us and the child who is winding us up. Getting outside for a micro-break is a very good idea.