A comment by a fellow blogger about infant colic and parental temperament got me thinking the other day. We talk about & expect a lot from our little ones in terms of self-soothing, yet how well (and HOW) do we do it ourselves?
We expect babies to learn to "self-soothe" at a very young age (after 2 months, say the experts!) by holding a lovey, or sucking a pacifier. My toddler sucks on his blankie &sings to himself or recites lines from books when he's trying to wind down at night or naptime.
What is my in-the-moment tool to assuage anxiety and fear so that I can function or sleep? Its hard to think of an answer. Long-term, sure, I try to exercise, plan well, socialize, get enough sleep, get alone time---these things help keep me from feeling overwhelmed & burnt out. But despite my best efforts to live a calm and peaceful life (hah!) there are moments when I am angry, afraid, worried. Moments when I just can't calm my racing mind to be able to relax or sleep.
Honestly, my soothing techniques are decidedly NON-self. I am not one to meditate or use calming imagery or the like. When I am anxious and can't sleep I go straight to my favorite life-avoidance activities: games on my phone, reading blogs, re-reading old books. Anything to take me out of my head & stop the incessant thinking. If I can finagle it, it also helps to get a backrub from my husband. After a particularly tough day, a glass of wine might do the trick.
Turns out, though I am a full-fledged adult with 30+ years of practice, I still require lots of help to soothe myself. Helps me empathize more when the 2-month-old or even 23-month-old just won't "calm the f*() down and go to sleep already"!