Sometimes, the thought of returning to work, or having any prolonged time apart from your child, can cause you to have feelings of separation anxiety.
What is separation anxiety?
According to BlackDogInstitute, separation anxiety is characterised by irrational fears of separation and abandonment by close attachment figures such as parents, partners and even pets.
What if separation anxiety is triggered by the thought of leaving your child in the care of someone else? What are some ways to cope with feelings of anxiety?
Having friends or family that you can share your concerns with, can help to rationalize your fears. If you are feeling stressed and sad at the thought of leaving your child, talking it out may or may not help, but it will at least, let those who care about you the most, know that you are troubled.
Chances are your friends or family that you speak to, have been through similar experiences themselves and they can pass on their learning from their past.
Focus on positives
For most people, going to work is not a matter of choice, but a necessity. Instead of focusing on time apart, try to shift your thoughts to positive ones, such as all that you will be able to achieve and do together as a family now that you have returned to work.
Coming up with a list of positive affirmations, that you tell yourself regularly, can help you shift your thoughts to be more positive.
Examples could be:
- By returning to work, I want to be a positive role model for my children
- I will make every effort to make my time with them count
- It’s important for me to have a focus in life that is separate from my family
- Time apart from my family will only help me appreciate them more
- By returning to work, I will be able to provide for my children, allowing them to have opportunities to grow and develop throughout their childhood and beyond
Carry photos of your loved ones
It has never been so easy to be able to carry photos of your loved ones. Smart phones can store thousands of photos and videos. Wherever you go, you can always have access to pictures of your children. If possible, having photos of your children on display can also help, as no matter what you are doing, you are able to look up and look at their photos and be reminded of what you have to look forward to, when you return home.
Request updates throughout the day
Often, childcare centers, family daycare, or family that are looking after your children, can send updates to let you know how your child is coping in your absence. Often, just hearing that your child is settled, has napped or has eaten, can be enough to help you settle, and focus on whatever you need to until you are once again reunited.
Make your time together count
Creating special moments together becomes even more important when you return to work. Special moments can occur in the morning and the night. It could be as simple as a special hug together, a bath, or a bedtime book.
Get into a routine
The sooner you are able to get into a routine, the easier it will feel for yourself and your child to accept the change. It will be tough, but over time, it will get better and easier for you to accept.
Remember, if at any time that you need the help of a professional , you can reach out to a number of services.
In Australia, numerous parenting helpline numbers are available. Refer to the following link. (https://raisingchildren.net.au/grown-ups/services-support/about-services-support/helplines)
Most of the numbers listed are answered by registered nurses, who can provide help and advice.