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Gina Clowes: Parenting Coach

Allergy Moms: Let’s Resolve to Stress Less and Schedule in Real Life

The new year’s arrival gives us the perfect opportunity to create a life that we love. Our kids only grow up once, and as overwhelming as food allergies can be, we don’t want their whole lives to revolve around their medical condition.

To find room in life for the things that really matter, we often have to remove the things that don’t. So, I’m hoping you’ll join me and resolve to do less this year and make room in your life for the things that you love. Here’s where to start:

Worry less. Look at each issue you’re facing and ask: Can I do anything, within reason, to prepare for or prevent what I’m worrying about? If so, get to work.

For example, perhaps you have a nagging feeling every time that Grandma babysits because she hasn’t been trained to recognize the symptoms of anaphylaxis and to use the EpiPen auto-injector. You can immediately take steps to address these issues.

However if you have trained Grandma, she has your child’s safe snacks and she knows how to use the EpiPen, then you need to let go. Literally, get out and do something to distract yourself or better yet, do something for someone else. When we worry, we’re focused in, on ourselves. Doing something for someone else puts our focus on them.

As author Eckhart Tolle recommends, ask yourself: “What is wrong now right now, in this moment?” Usually, it’s nothing. Worry is about the future. Recognize that by focusing on everything that can go wrong in the future, you ruin your time today.

Read less. On the Internet, that is. Be selective about what you read about food allergies and anaphylaxis. It’s one thing to share a true story to enlighten others on the dangers of food allergies, it’s quite another to devote hours and hours each week to surfing through terrifying stories about anaphylaxis tragedies.

Also, don’t waste your precious moments reading all those hostile comments that inevitably follow an online article on accommodations for food-allergic children. Life is too short. Instead, choose a few favorite sources for reputable food allergy news, and make sure you leave enough time to read something that’s for pure pleasure.

Say “Yes” less. The life coach Cheryl Richardson recommends that we evaluate the non-stop onslaught of volunteer activities, chores, invitations and distractions by using the “absolute yes” test. Before you add another activity to your calendar, ask yourself, “Is this something I absolutely want or need to do?” By saying no more often, you make room in your life for the things you truly do want to do.

Next: More tips for less stress

Allergic Living acknowledges the assistance of the OMDC Magazine Fund, an initative of the Ontario Media Development Cooperation.