hello and welcome to the autism  360 podcast the 360 method a podcast  where we talk about everything autism  360.  each week we’ll be catching up with  what’s going on in the program chatting  with team members and talking all things  mindset  as well as exploring relevant ideas  that autism parents think about so i’m  your host ella bailey and each week i am  lucky enough to be joined by the  delightful renee welcome back renee  hello it’s great to be back ella i have  missed our podcast and all our wonderful  parents out there so hello everyone yes  welcome to you our lovely listeners um  we care about you we care about your  thoughts your experiences of the podcast  so please whether you’re a program  member or not  please do reach out to us at hello we would love to hear from  you and that is where parents can also  drop us questions comments anything that  you’d like to be addressed on the  podcast so  before we start um i’d like to  acknowledge the radical people of the  eora nation on whose land i live and  work and from where this podcast is  being broadcast today  today’s podcast does not substitute for  medical advice um if you’re worried  about yourself or your child please do  reach out to a medical or allied health  professional.

Topic of the day: Breaking the cycle Of stress and anxiety

So today what are we talking about renee  so today we’re looking at i think which  is a very common topic stress and  anxiety so i think everyone can relate  to that particularly parents um it’s  it’s a really important topic so we’re  going to look at how you can overcome  that how you can manage that and yeah  really reduce those those feelings if  you are struggling with stress and  anxiety  yes i know it is such a common one for  parents isn’t it we’re getting a lot of  parents on the program at the moment who  are really feeling that  sort of not quite halfway through the  year  feeling and feeling quite um overwhelmed  with  everything that’s going on  it’s something that i certainly see a  lot of in the program so what are your  main thoughts that we’re going to be  chatting about today yes so look you  know this is one that i think everyone  deals with on some level and um if it  gets to that point where you really are  struggling obviously reach out and get  some more support  but today we’re going to share some tips  with you how you can manage that.

Tip #1: When running empty, where is your cup right now?

So  my first tip is look i think sometimes  when we are running on empty that’s when  things really do get to us you know it’s  like when we’re feeling good and our cup  is full we’re able to deal with things  so much better and i think a lot of the  time our parents are just really running  on empty they are giving so much of  themselves in every way in so many  directions um that they’re just running  on empty and when we’re at that point  obviously everything feels bigger seems  bigger can start feel overwhelming and  um and our stress level is obviously  going to be higher so my first tip is is  to look at you know first of all where  is your cup right now look at you know  if you’re going to gauge that are you a  bit on empty are you a bit halfway maybe  you know you’re doing quite well and  it’s sort of almost full but just check  in with where you are at the moment and  then the key is to look at how you can  fill your cup up okay and the thing is  is that as parents i think sometimes we  think it’s selfish to do things for  ourself or you know we there’s that  guilt of oh no but i’ve got so much to  do i couldn’t possibly go out and have a  walk um once you know once a day or um  find that time just to you know for me  but it is so important because we can’t  pour from an empty cup and if you want  to be at your best and be able to keep  giving you need to replenish that cup  you need to fill yourself up and find  those things that help you feel good so  exercise things like that you know can  you get out and just find 20 minutes to  just walk outside get some fresh air um  maybe it’s doing some meditation i often  say to parents at night look you know  when you’re in bed at night five or ten  minutes just to have some meditation  time for yourself  they’re things that we can fit into our  day you know i know a lot of parents  don’t have a lot of time so it’s just  looking at where you can find that time  for yourself to replenish yourself if  you’re sitting on social media and  things like that not really going to be  quality time to fill your cup up it  probably leaves you feeling a bit more  empty if you’re honest at times because  then there’s that comparison about oh  well all these people are living these  great lives you know um and and i’m  dealing with this so i just wouldn’t  make that time you have for yourself  quality time look at you know where can  i get those small chunks of time for  myself to fill my own cup up because  when you do that you know when you feel  good and your child’s being difficult  it’s like oh i can handle that you know  i’m not totally i’m not feeling depleted  like you know i’m gonna break it any  moment so my first tip is to fill your  cup up and look at what you can do and  make that a priority because you’ll be a  better parent you’ll be a better partner  you’ll be you know a better person  you’ll be happier and everyone benefits  from that so  i think that it’s an obvious one but it  is one that i really encourage you to  just look at what can you do regularly  to manage yourself your state all of  those things are super important what do  you think ella that is a super  interesting point and my thought was do  you think parents know innately where  their cup is or do you think it takes  time to  learn how to read yourself to know how  stressed or not stressed you are what do  you think what do you see yeah look i  think it’s one of those things that when  you start being mindful of it you become  a bit more aware so anytime i ask in the  group session where are you right now  everyone knows straight away they’re  like i want empty  my cup has disappeared  usually not great um and it’s just  taking that time to just actually check  in with ourself and go where am i okay i  need to manage this and not when things  are at that breaking point but have  things regularly to fill it up that is  that is the difference so that each week  you go well i know that’s for me um i’m  not saying be unrealistic like go off  and have you know a three-hour lunch  things like that  nice if you can catch up with friends  and things but just look at what are  those things that really fill you up and  make some time for that during the week  make that a priority  yeah yeah  so that that is my first tip for today.

Tip #2: What are you focusing on? 

The second one is like what are you  focusing on okay because whenever we  feel like you know we’re going into  anxiety or stress or um that sort of  negative mindset it’s usually when we’re  focusing on what’s missing or what’s  lacking in some way and this is where  things like social media like i just  mentioned can really  make that so much worse because all of a  sudden we’re focusing on this child’s  doing that someone says child’s doing  this and and i do hear a lot of that on  the program like people comparing their  children to what other people are doing  our you know their where they’re at so i  think the key is to look at rather than  what’s missing what’s lacking um to turn  your attention on to what is working  well for you and your child um what are  your achievements and what you know what  can you build on that is positive  because when you shift your mindset and  go well actually my child’s got really  lovely qualities they’re really kind  they’re very caring you know they have  got all these lovely gifts that um is  unique to them and i think when we focus  on those things we we we feel so much  better we feel happier and there it  reduces a lot of that anxiety about  worrying about our children or you know  what what’s their life like all of that  stuff that we project into the future so  i think it’s just looking at you know  what can i be grateful for and um coming  back to focusing on those positive  things rather than what’s missing to  what what’s working for us oh well  actually you know what when i start  focusing on all those things there’s a  lot that’s going really well and i’ve  actually got a lot to be grateful for so  i think that’s something that a lot of  us get caught in that trap so i really  encourage you to focus on what are your  achievements what have you what’s your  child achieving what are their lovely  qualities and and what are you grateful  for so shifting your attention you’ll  notice you’ll instantly feel better and  what we focus on is what grows the more  you’re focusing on that the more you’re  going to see that as well rather than  all those things you know that feels  like it’s not how you want it to be or  is missing in some way  what do you think yeah i think um it’s  so interesting what you said about that  social media thing and i think um  that that experience of fomo that people  get that fear that they’re somehow  missing out that they’re i don’t know  being held back in some way is so  exacerbated by that social media thing  and i like to reclaim fomo and turn it  into a jomo  the joy of missing out on things that  aren’t for us  you know reclaim  reclaim that experience of you know what  maybe their life is like that maybe it’s  not it’s social media but even if it was  the joy of missing out on things that  aren’t for me and claiming what is ours  you know i love that’s my thought i love  that  so good and um you know just by shifting  our focus it really changes how we feel  um so you know try it and just see how  you instantly feel better so our mind is  very powerful.

Tip #3: Projecting the future 

And the last one is really  um you know anxiety is really just fear  that is projected into the future when  we’re focusing on what we don’t want or  what you know what we’re worried about  for the future and this is something i  see a lot of parents on the program  doing where they’re really worried about  all these things in the future um  and really looking at what they’re  scared of happening so one of the things  i like to do is get them to look at we  do a future vision session where we step  out towards the end of their life and  just actually see what you know if you  were to have achieved everything you’ve  wanted living your best life what is it  that you see and you feel in the future  for you and your family and as soon as  they go out to that place it is just  beautiful you see that instantly shift  their focus they feel peaceful they feel  calm and they see that bigger picture  again and i think that’s so important  because we can get a bit stuck in the  weeds like this is never going to change  my child’s never going to get this or  whatever all those things that are going  on so i would suggest first of all take  a step back look at the bigger picture  again  look at that future that you want to  work towards because what we’re focusing  on is what we’re moving towards so the  more we focus on what we don’t want what  we’re scared of the more we’re actually  moving in that direction and creating  that so shift your focus even if you  have to literally get your head and go  we’re not going that way we’re going  this way what is it that you want for  your future for your family and really  just stay focused on that you will  instantly feel better more positive more  in control but you’ll also be creating  the things that you want  rather than moving in the direction of  what you don’t want or what you’re you  know fearful of so that is a really  powerful exercise obviously we won’t do  the whole exercise here today but um you  know maybe it’s one you just want to try  at home and and step out and just see  that bigger picture again what is it  that we want this is our you know us  living our our life that we want to move  towards our vision for our family and  really then break it down okay what do  we need to do towards that that’ll just  give you that different perspective so  um i think that’s an important one as  well  absolutely.

Elle’s Book suggestion:  The Confident Mind Dr N, Zinsser.

I’m reading this excellent  book at the moment which i think you  would really like it’s called the  confident mind by dr nate zindler  zinzler rather  and he talks so much about the  neurological underpinnings of things  like envisaging your future of the  things about  not focusing on on what you want and  it’s so interesting the more that we  um establish those neurological pathways  those neuro neurobiological tracts  thinking about the things that we that  we do want that we do want to focus on  that we do want to move our lives  towards the more our brain responds and  becomes efficient in creating that  reality for us absolutely right how’s  our brains it is amazing and we all have  a reticular activating system which is  like our filter system so once it’s  programmed to look for something it will  find more of that so it will find a way  to achieve those goals once you have  those goals um and so it’s so powerful  to really as you said to focus on those  things because that your mind will find  a way to help you achieve that rather  than moving in the direction of what you  don’t want um and it also comes back to  what you’re focusing on because when  we’re focusing on the lack and the  negative our reticular activating system  looks for more evidence of that so again  that’s why it’s so important to shift  our focus because then we’re programmed  to look for things that are working and  what we want and more positive things  and that breeds that success cycle um so  yeah it’s it’s great sounds like a great  porkela yes it’s such a good one  absolutely  yeah so there they would be my top tips

Tip #4: Self Talk  

I guess one last one i just wanted to  point out was our self-talk um because  self-talk is really powerful as well and  so i guess i’ve got four tips today love  it but um i do an exercise with people  in the group where we go through their  day and they actually close their eyes  and look at what do i say to myself  throughout the day when i’m getting  ready when i’m going through the day and  looking at how positive or negative that  self-talk is because if you’re  constantly saying to yourself i’m so  stressed i’m so anxious my anxiety you  know those things are actually really  creating more and more of that whatever  we’re saying to ourselves we are  programming ourselves so we need to  really keep that self-talk positive so i  would really encourage you to have an  affirmation something that where you’re  saying to yourself over and over again  that something like uh you know i am  safe and all is well in my world that’s  just a really beautiful one that i think  resonates with a lot of people another.

Ella’s tip: What your role in your child  emotion 

Nice one might be i’m feeling calmer and  karma every day now at the moment maybe  that doesn’t feel real but the more you  say it the more you are programming  yourself at the subconscious level and  that becomes your new reality so you  start saying those things so if you go  into that i’m so stressed no stop i i’m  feeling calmer and calmer every day so  that self-talk really important and i  would really encourage you to write down  an affirmation something that feels good  to you and use that as often as you  possibly can  yeah yeah so um what about you ella what  are your tips for today well i mean  there was a lot of areas that i feel  like we could talk about in terms of  stress and anxiety and i wanted to kind  of mention  the relationship that parents and their  kids have  kind of in  reference to stress and anxiety so my um  my clients talk a lot about the role  that their stress and anxiety plays on  their children’s stress and anxiety and  i think that that is you know part of  the journey of being an autism parent or  you know a parent in general i would say  um and understanding okay well what role  do my own emotions play in my child’s  emotions absolutely right it’s such a  big part of the puzzle so i kind of want  to bring in all right well we’re  stressed we’re anxious we’re kind of  elevated  what’s happening to our kids where are  they at how is it affecting them so  there’s some really interesting research  uh by dr steven porges and he’s put  forward a couple of theories around the  way that  um not just parental or caregiver um  agitation stress levels but really any  interrelational stress levels are  affected by  um  uh by each other by anybody who we’re in  relationship with in in whatever form  that might be so that could be a teacher  or a psychologist it could be a  colleague  and most primarily especially for  children and in our context it’s that  carer-parent relationship  so he talks a lot about co-regulation um  and the polyvagal theory which  you can google it it’s you know this  isn’t that’s not the time but  um i want to kind of um  get our parents to have a think about  okay when my child was an infant um  we  were so  uh connected with how that that child  was feeling and we knew instinctively or  you know with practice and understanding  them ways that we could use our own  regulation to regulate our child so the  most common example of this is something  like  breastfeeding or cuddling and rocking or  humming and singing to a child having  eye contact skin to skin contact a  cuddle  any of those things were so key to  regulating our child’s emotions right  and so there’s a whole lot of complex  hormonal stuff that goes on there but  the key endocrine element that goes on  here is the release of oxytocin and so  oxytocin is our bonding and calming uh  chemical we love oxytocin over here  we’re big fans  and um  oxytocin can continue to be released by  any interpersonal um positive  interactions for you know the length of  our child’s um development so often  after they lose that really physical  physiological dependence on us to help  them move around feed themselves those  sorts of things we also  can get in this cycle of  not realizing that they’re still really  emotionally dependent on us to regulate  them they don’t need us to move them  around anymore but they need us to move  their emotions around  so  my big things are have a look into  where your emotions are at with  uh with respect to your child  does you know when you’re you’re feeling  anxious and stressed you’re in a rush  that kind of thing what does your  child’s behavior do  when you’re feeling super zen you’ve  just had i don’t know a long weekend  full of chocolates um you’re feeling  like you can handle anything  how’s your child’s behavior looking what  do their meltdowns look like are they  shorter because you’re able to bring  them to you and soothe them  what does that mean you know  um there’s a really interesting  uh process called neurosection which um  lac rene mentioned before goes on at a  kind of pre-conscious level which is  your child’s um  neurobiological  receptors in their brain um called  neurons  kind of vibrating to use a kind of  metaphor at a similar frequency to yours  right they have this sense of okay this  person is calm they’re they’re reading  your facial expressions subconsciously  they’re reading your body language the  tone in your voice  to know am i safe or am i unsafe in this  situation so be conscious of the message  that you’re sending them you know be  aware that you are their  emotional  um their emotional bedrock you know and  use that to help both yourself and your  child so i’d really um urge you to look  into  um your own emotions your own stress  levels and see how you can um connect  with your child to co-regulate um and to  make the most of that connection that  you really can have with your child  through co-regulation because it can be  incredibly powerful and also incredibly  um unhelpful if we’re not super aware of  it so that’s kind of my little um  adjunct there but we have a really.

Community Question  

Interesting question um that i’m going  to ask renee from one of our lovely  listeners her name’s rachel um and she’s  from fremantle and she asks i feel like  i have so many plates spinning that when  my son who’s 12 can’t cope with  something i don’t have time to talk him  through it and he ends up escalating  further  any advice what do you reckon well i  think it comes back to  um  that  maintenance of of um  managing yourself to start with to the  point where you know we’re talking about  filling our cup up so that when  we can cope better just in general with  things so you know if you are taking  that time out for yourself and as ella  said like you know our anxiety levels  actually infla impact our children i  know myself when i’m um in the past if  i’ve been really stressed or anxious my  children are mucking up like and it’s  crazy you know like i’m sure every  parent goes yeah so i can see that  direct correlation  so i think the key is to get manage  yourself ongoing manage your state um  because when you’re managing yourself  filling your cup up consistently you are  able to manage things better and it’s  not getting to that point where you just  can’t be there for your children because  you’re so stressed out or um you know  you’re not coping yourself and that’s  why it’s really important to manage your  own emotions your own  well-being  self-care extremely important because it  will help you go oh you know what i  actually have got something to give here  because i’m not running on empty and it  sounds to me like maybe that’s what’s  going on is that you know maybe rachel  you are feeling like you’re a bit on  empty so i would look at what can i do  to to fill myself up regularly look  after myself because that’s where you  can have more time and energy for your  son without feeling like you’ve just got  nothing left to give so i think that  would be the um  the key thing there obviously  prioritizing our time and being  organized things like that come into  that as well but i i feel like the  biggest thing with that is probably just  filling your cup up um so that you’re  able to give more when you know whenever  your son needs that  yeah absolutely and i think um the only  thing that i would add rachel is that um  examine your plates  how many plates do you have why are they  there are they serving you are they  serving um mr 12 year old and um what  are the structures that are underpinning  that  how are you creating your life to  yourself and success mr 12 year old up  for success in terms of being able to  cope you know there’s a lot of pressures  on families and i think if we can at  least really critically engage with the  things that we’re adding into our life  that you know our big rocks that renee  talks about examine your big rocks can  we throw some of them out we love to  throw out a big rock over here and i  think um  you know really addressing it at that  fundamental level do you know what is  the this big shift that we can make um  is really going to have the most massive  trickle-down effect rachel i hope that  helps please um reach out to us if you  would like to um get some more detailed  advice or you know get some coaching  sessions happening we would love to be  able to support you  um so finally renee did you have any  quickfire action points for our parents  this week  well i you know i always like to ask the  parents what is the biggest thing that  you’re taking from today’s session uh or  what we’ve shared today i’m sure there’s  more than one but just want you to  reflect on that for a moment and also  what can you action from that today so  even just putting into place at least  one thing that you go right you know i  know that i need to start doing that or  i’m going to action that straight away  so my question is what can you action  from that today uh get that happening  you know that momentum creates momentum  so just even making one change can  really make a big difference  great  and i think um  uh i think i would say that um if you  are worried about this kind of thing um  the most important thing you could do is  to slow down you know if we can do that.


even just um a few minutes to give  yourself some time to think that’s going  to be a great step in the right  direction so  thank you so much for listening  to the autism 360 podcast 360 method  today we will see you back next week um  and until then  360.


The 360 Method:  Stress: Breaking the cycle
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The 360 Method: Stress: Breaking the cycle
This podcast hosted by our team member Ella Bailey and our mindset coach Renae Tate, is about The Stress: Breaking the cycle
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Autism 360
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