Sunday, June 8, 2014

Anxiety Relief Through Swim Lessons

I mentioned in my last post that Lucy and Tag are taking swim lessons!  Monday through Thursday for 2 weeks ... intensive 30 minute lessons.  One big pool roped off for different swim training specifically for children.  
Our daughter goes in the water with Tag ... at the same time Lucy is in her class.

Tag is pretty much fearless once he gets into the water ... he's getting used to going under the water ... he loves splashing ... and he blows kisses to his Granny as she divides her attention and phone camera between him and his sister.  I think it's safe to say that Tag is definitely our little fish!  He is so very eager to "schim" in our pool in our backyard!

And our Lucy ... not quite as fearless as her little brother ... she was very excited at the "sound" of taking swim lessons ... 
she loves her new bathing suit and swim cap ... and she is our anxious one.

Everyone at the program loves Lucy and wants to see her succeed and conquer her fears. By Thursday, Lucy was actually volunteering to go first in every new activity the instructor planned for their class.  She was still on the verge of anxiety as she went through the glass doors and beyond our reach. But it helped calm her (albeit a "little") when she saw her Grandad coming in to watch her and Tag.

Later that evening when she and I were talking at home, she said "Nanny, I just don't like to go under water. I have anxiety issues about swimming."  Okay, so I just heard my 5 year old granddaughter say the words "anxiety issues" in the same sentence during her apparent confessional with her Granny --- 
oh my...
  So, I did what every other Granny would do ... I sat her on my lap and prayed that God would give me a way to relate to her on her level ... and let her know that her "anxiety issues" are real, yet can be overcome with God's help. I sure did not want to make light of her insecurities and fears.

Okay ... with a 5 second prayer rushed in those moments ... it came back to me.  You see, just a few days prior, Lucy and I had watched one of her American Girl movies --- McKenna.  McKenna is a promising gymnast who is falling behind in her reading comprehension.  Her teacher recommends a tutor yet in the meantime McKenna breaks her ankle so no gymnastics through her recovery period. She is forced to focus on her school work ... then she returns to the gymnastic competitive team finals.  She is filled with anxiety and fear that she may break her ankle again while performing her routine.  Then she remembers what her coach had told her during other gymnastics meets ... inhale blue skies in --- exhale gray skies out.

So, within another 5 seconds all of the movie flashes in my mind and I retell it Lucy.  I tell her that one of our past Presidents of the United States once said the only thing we have to fear is being afraid of something (my paraphrase for a 5 year old).  She tilted her head and asked "So I don't need to be afraid of anything except just being afraid?" 
Well ... pretty much.

She and I had already had "the" talk earlier that day ...  
"Lucy, who made the water?" -- "God did."
"Lucy, is God with you when you're outside of the water?" -- "Yes." 
"Lucy, is God with you when you're under the water?" -- "Yes." 
"So what do you have to be afraid of?" -- "Nothing."

So ... as she sat on my lap on my bed with me, I told her another little exercise ... we talked about McKenna and how she focused on her school work and she returned to gymnastics & made the competitive team.  I told Lucy a little exercise to do when she feels any anxiety creeping around her ...

inhale God's peace ...
exhale all anxiety

and repeat until she actually feel the peace of God overtaking her anxieties.

And she did.
And she told her Mommy and her Grandad what she was going to do to get rid of her anxieties.

And then Granny thought ...
If this works on my 5 year old granddaughter, then it can surely help bring a
49 year old Granny back to a peaceful reality when my anxieties begin to overtake me...

inhale God's peace ...
exhale all anxiety

I know that Lucy will enjoy swimming more and more as she gets more used to the water and learning how to control herself and the water around her. I also hope that she remembers that God is always with her no matter where she is or what her circumstances.  If God is for her, then what can possibly be against her?  And Granny just may need to get back to these basics when it comes to relieving any anxiety that may find its way into my path as well.

inhale God's peace ...
exhale all anxiety

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