I have a new grandson – 6 weeks old. He cries a lot at night. Actually, this seems to be pretty usual with newborns, but still exhausting for parents with a new baby. But, now I know about self-soothing!
I’ve been reading up on what causes this crying. Experts say that one of the reasons is that a new born can’t self-sooth – it’s a learned action or activity. Evidently, this is just as important as learning to smile, crawl or walk. Wait there’s more – see how this applies to you.
What Does it Mean to Self-Sooth?
A Google search tells me “Self-soothing is the process of a child learning how to calm themselves down when they are placed in their crib, or when they wake up in the middle of the night, in order to fall back asleep.” It also states that by the time children are 6 months old, they should have learned how to calm themselves down for sleep. They should not need a pacifier. A blanket, toy or music will do just fine.
Then, it occurred to me that we all self-sooth in some way – watch TV until we get sleepy or fall asleep. Listen to music. Read a book. You get the picture.
Hey, here me out!
Self-Soothing is for Adults, Too.
So, I googled ways adults can self-sooth. Surprisingly, there is quite a bit of information on the subject. The gist: Learning to self-sooth is something we all should do, especially if we have trauma we are trying to deal with. That way, we don’t get so wrapped up in our symptoms – depression, memory of pain, fear of having mold issues again, worry about going into new places, etc.
Finding ways to self-soothe can help you feel at ease when you are dealing with worry, frustration, excitement or having intense emotions. It can also reduce the amount of worry and fear we carry around with us.
1. Breath. This is an easy and almost immediate way to sooth yourself. Sit quietly and take a few deep breaths, paying attention to the noise in your nose and mouth as the breath comes in and out. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back. (also known as meditation).
2. A Simple Task. Try to think of something simple and repetitive to do that you can focus on to relax and find some peace of mind, even if just for a short time – painting a picture, vacuuming, ironing, walking.
3. A Phrase. Think of a word or phrase that makes you feel calmer. Repeat the word or phrase periodically throughout the day during stressful and non-stressful times to bring on a calm feeling.
4. Self Talk. Console yourself with kindness. Tell yourself what your good friend would say. Drown out those negative, fearful voices in your head.
5. Visualize. My mom used to take ‘minute vacations’ when she became rattled or upset. She would visualize a place she loved, or a place she wanted to visit. She would imagine herself there, enjoying the view, having fun.
6. Place your hand over your heart. Your heart is in the center of your chest and the place of unconditional love. Feeling love for yourself will send endorphins through your body.
7. Ask the Divine. If you are so inclined, prayer/meditation is self-soothing. Ask for insight into your situation. Your angels are only a breath away. And there are numbers of self help and spiritual books out there that are wonderful!
8. Adjust the noise/sound. Listening to music that you like can be soothing. Maybe for you silence is soothing. Try listening to an audio book or a particular radio station.
9. Use blankets. The latest craze is weighted blankets. The extra weight helps you feel calmer and slows down breathing. NOTE: I got one for Christmas. It took me a minute to figure out how to use it, but now I enjoy laying it across my middle section, with my feet and shoulders outside, so I don’t feel claustrophobic. And, it doesn’t have to be weighted. A comfort blanket can provide some familiarity and relaxation.
10. Smells. I personally love the smell of diffused essential oils. Go to a store and try a few tester bottles. Or read about them online – there is a ton of information available. Try candles, incense, hot drinks or certain foods to create particular smells in our home. Drop a lemon or clementine in your disposal. Heat some cinnamon or vanilla in your microwave. These fragrances can help us to feel calm and settled.
11. Hug your pet. If you have pets, you know that stroking them is one of the greatest relaxer there is. If you don’t have a pet, buy a stuffed animal, or look at photos of animals you like.
When you have experience sickness, depression and hopelessness due to mold sickness, finding ways to calm yourself and jazz up your own feel-good chemicals is essential. Personal example: I have gotten weird about grocery shopping. Now after my moldy experiences, so much of the food smells moldy…particularly the apples. But today, I grabbed a bag of ‘fresh’ green beans and after the sniff test, immediately felt weak and dizzy. UGH! MOLDY! PANIC!
I could not bring myself to take any deep breaths. But I did grab a clementine. I peeled it right there and held it near my nose until the moldy smell was gone. I slowly walked around the store until the weakness passed and I finally felt calm enough to check out.
Hey, I hope self-soothing works for you!