So, if your child is aged somewhere between the ages of two and ten, then I know you know who Queen Elsa is. Let’s face it – she’s plastered all over your daughter’s pyjamas, her doona cover, her lunchbox, drink bottle, backpack, and any other flat surface able to be screen printed by Disney.
But for the uninitiated few, here’s the deal with Elsa – she’s a Disney princess-turned-ice queen, with this wee little problem of basically being an anxiety-riddled human slushy machine. A couple of decades of internalising all of her emotional demons ultimately results in her accidentally cursing her entire kingdom into an eternal winter. Oops!
She also has a killer set of lungs and proudly belts out possibly the best, most addictive, most karaoke-able Disney song ever written. Sorry Elton, Circle of Life was soooo two decades ago.
Let It Go.
Let it Goooooo…
See, I’ve only just typed those three little words and already the song is reverberating around my brain… howling, like a swirling storm inside. #sorrynotsorry.
However, what I’ve realised is this fine little ditty is something more than Disney’s latest power-ballad. It’s actually a rather helpful stress management guidebook. Clearly, something happened up there on the icy mountaintop and Elsa got a bit of clarity around her chronic stress disorder.
So in the interest of restoring the emotional wellbeing of a hundred-thousand “Elsa’ed out” mothers out there – I’ve compiled the best advice we can all take on board from the lyrics of Let It Go.
“A kingdom of isolation and it looks like I’m the queen. The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside. Couldn’t keep it in, Heaven knows I tried.”
1. Don’t bottle things up. Seek support and advice. Often, we worry what people will think of us if we own up to the fact that we’re struggling with stress, anxiety or depression – but the longer we keep on like this the heavier our burdens become and the more likely we are to buckle under the load and have everything come spilling out – often at the most inopportune time. Like in the middle of your Coronation ball…..
“Turn away and slam the door.”
2. Got something in your life that’s causing you nothing but stress? Something which provides you with no positive benefits at all, just negativity. Get it out of your life. It can be tricky to figure out which difficulties in your life are worth working on and ”fixer-uppering”, and which are simply a lost cause. But it’s an important decision process to go through – and once you figure out what it is that no longer serves you, give it the boot and slam the door behind it.
“I don’t care what they’re going to say.”
3. Pay less attention to what other people think or say about you. What matters is how you think and feel about yourself. Spend time actively working on treating yourself kindly and fostering positive self talk.
“It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small. And the fears that once controlled me, can’t get to me at all.”
4. Distance is a wonderful thing – when it comes to stress management one of the key things you can do is give yourself a little space before you respond to a situation. So this may mean literally walking away from a situation to mull it over – even for just 10 seconds. This helps to ensure that your response will be considered and thoughtful, rather than impulsive and brash.
“No right, no wrong, no rules for me. I’m free!”
5. Are you constantly living life by other people’s rules? Not living on your own terms and fulfilling your own goals and dreams? Try to listen to your gut more. Trust your instincts, live life on your own terms and not to the beat of someone else drum.
“Let the storm rage on. The cold never bothered me anyway.”
6. One of the most important things to understand about “stress management” is that we can’t ever “manage” those things that cause us stress. We can’t control other people, our environments, the weather – none of it. So what we need to do is learn to accept the situations we find ourselves in and modify how it is we deal with those situations. So yeah, bring on that storm, rain down the sleet and hail and just let it wash over you. Because once you learn to manage your internal stress response it doesn’t matter what the world throws at you.
“My soul is spiralling in frozen fractals all around.”
7. Yeah, okay this has nothing to do with stress management, but I never could figure out what this lyric is and now I know – so that’s one less problem on my mind!
“I’m never going back; the past is in the past!”
8. Are you always worrying about what you’ve done? Mistakes you’ve made? Bad decisions you regret? Certainly we should look to the past and learn from our mistakes, but we don’t want to dwell on them, don’t keep them stored up for future emotional self-harm. Don’t keep going back into the past and beating yourself up for stuff you can’t change.
“That perfect girl is gone.”
9. There’s no such thing as perfection. So many of us expend so much of our energy trying to attain perfection in whatever form we seek it – the perfect body, the perfect relationship, being the perfect mother, the perfect employee, the perfect daughter. Seeking perfection is a sure-fire way to stress yourself out, because you will never, ever achieve it. So go on and muss up your hair and peel off your gloves and accept yourself just as you are.
“Let it go, let it go.”
10. This. This is your permission slip to be yourself. To be totally and unapologetically YOU! We are all amazing and unique individuals. All with our own strengths and weaknesses. Our own skills, talents, faults and foibles. The most important thing is to know who you are – and to let yourself BE YOURSELF. Poor old Elsa found this out the hard way. The whole “conceal, don’t feel” advice given to her by her well-meaning, but clueless father? Worst advice ever Dad! Often, it’s those very qualities we hide which, if we had the courage to share with the world, people would love about us. It’s those qualities which would draw to us people who love, understand and accept us.