- Get a headache
- Stomach feels upset
- Tight chest or like something heavy is on chest
- Chest, neck and face gets blotchy
- No appetite
- HUGE appetite (give me all the food!)
- Feeling very tired but not being able to sleep
When can worrying be a positive?
- When you want to do well on something, like a test or a big project
- When you are worrying about someone because you care about them
- When it’s in preparation for something like a vacation or event you’re excited about
- Usually when there is worry, it means there is care
When can worrying be a negative?
- When all you can do is worry
- When worrying takes up all your time
- When worrying causes other feelings like anxiety and depression
- When worrying leads to feeling isolated from friends and family
- When it is overwhelming and feels impossible to cope with
What’s a “Worry Doll?”
Worry Dolls originated in Guatemala. The indigenous people from the Highlands in Guatemala created Worry Dolls many generations ago as a help with worrying. According to the legend, when worrying keeps a person awake, he or she tells a worry to as many dolls as necessary. Then the worrier places the dolls under his or her pillow. The dolls take over the worrying and the person is then able to sleep peacefully through the night. When morning comes, the person awakens without worries as their dolls have taken them away during the night!
Does it have to be a doll?
No way! There is no right or wrong way of creating your worry dolls. They could look like a person, a superhero, an animal, a fantasy character… anything you can think of! They can have no face, they have can lots of different coloured hair, they can have lots of eyes! They can look like anything you want. Some of our younger campers got creative by creating “Worry Bugs” using clothes pins, which hold onto the worries so you don’t have to.
Does it really work?
Wouldn’t it be great if all our worries could actually disappear overnight? Even after using these Dolls, worries will still be part of our lives. Before campers delved into making their own interpretation of Worry Dolls, our Camp Staff facilitated discussion on what worry is all about. We asked our campers:
So What To Do With Worries?
The reality is that EVERYONE WORRIES! We all do it, even if we do not even realize we are doing it! A lot of the time our worries come and go throughout the day, and do not always stick with us the entire day. Daily worries can be seemingly insignificant, like trying to remember if you shut the lights off, or worrying you will be late for a meeting. But as Young Carers, many of our members have worries that are heavy – “How will I ever be prepared for the test of Friday with my brother in the hospital?”, “Will my sister ever be able to be independent?”, “Is mom okay when I leave her alone during the day?”, “What will happen to our family if my dad dies?”
Many of our campers say they worry the most during down times, like when they are trying to fall asleep at night, when they are on transit, or when they are trying to concentrate on homework. Other members say they worry the most when they are trying to get themselves and their family member organized in the mornings, or when they are helping their family with daily tasks. Other members say they worry all day long, especially if the person they care for is in hospital, starting a new treatment/routine, or home alone.
While Worry Dolls do not work to get rid of all your worries forever, they do seem to help in the moment, especially to help relax right before bed. So what’s that all about? Well, have you ever heard of something called “worry time”? It is exactly what you probably think it is – a time specifically set aside for worrying! A time when you give yourself the freedom and permission to worry about everything and anything.
A key component to worry time is saying your worries out loud, so that you are not just thinking about the worries, but also hearing them. Because we rarely give our worries full attention it is easy for them to continue going around in our heads endlessly. By saying worries out loud, this allows you to think, hear and watch worries in your own face and body, making you a better observer of your worrying. Some people write down their worries, say their worries out loud and then rip up the paper at the end of worry time. Some people use stones to represent their worries and scatter them into a garden or back into a pile (like at a park). Other people tell their worries to Worry Dolls before bed, or even at the start of their day.
Worry time typically lasts 10 minutes, and you give it a chance by engaging in worry time at least 5 times. If during that 10 minutes you run out of worries, go over them again – the idea is to concentrate on your worries during this time so they can feel less pressing during the rest of the day. Some pople find success by scheduling in worry time into their day, rather than trying to find time spontaneously. Many people schedule it twice a day to start, and move down to once a day once worrying lessens throughout the rest of the day. It is important to set aside this time when you know you will be uninterrupted by other people, your phone, the TV, or any other responsibilities - this is time just for you!
So if you are finding yourself worrying a lot, or more than usual, give worry time a try! Carve out some space and time to acknowledge and be with your worries, giving full attention to the thoughts, feelings and physical reactions you experience alongside your worries.
By: Ashley Mikitzel