My youngest son, due to a variety of factors, has to spend the day with someone he does not know today. It was very interesting watching him get ready. He held on to me tightly, looking for and receiving reassurance, he spoke with the babysitter on the phone and asked her pertinent questions (who will he have to play with?) and he figured out what to bring to make him feel safe. As I watched him cope with his stress, I realized what wonderful coping mechanisms he has created and what we all can learn from him.
If you are going to a new place or having a new experience that is stressful for you, make sure that you take care of yourself. Touch base with those that make you feel safe. Hear those reassuring words that you are loved, that someone finds you wonderful. If you do not have someone that you can reach out to easily, tell yourself those words. It helps. Learn as much as you can about the new situation. Find out directions to get there, what to expect when you arrive, what will the experience be like. Interview people who have been through the experience. The more you know, the less stressed you will be.
Once you leave for your new experience, be sure to bring something with you that brings you the feeling of safety. It can be a stuffed animal (my son’s choice) or a piece of jewelry, a picture, anything that helps you to feel calm and peace.
My son went off today a little nervous, but ready to face his day. Can we do any less?