Upon a recent diagnosis of a food allergy for you or your child, learning how handle the stress that comes from this new change is just as important as learning how to cook to accommodate your allergy. Below are 7 coping strategies to help you adapt to your new lifestyle:
1. Take Time to Grieve
Upon a recent diagnosis, it’s important to recognize the stages of grief you are feeling, accept them, and work through the grieving process until you reach a healthy level of acceptance.
2. Find Support
Reach out to others in similar situations who can provide you with tips and advice. If possible, join a support group in your area.
3. Unite the Family
Involve your immediate family and unify them together in purpose. Siblings and other parents or caregivers should all be dedicated to helping keep your food allergic child safe and happy. As your dinner menus change to accommodate the new allergy, communicate with all family members so they understand what is happening and why. The more united you are with others in the household, the less alone you will feel when dealing with your allergy.
4. Look for the Positive
There is a positive side to every situation. Find it. For every “cannot” you come up against, find 2 or three “cans” to counter it. Focus on the “cans” rather than the “cannots” and you will feel more confident and empowered as you deal with your situation.
5. See Your Child As He Is
Your child is more than a food allergic person. Your child has a unique personality, talents, and abilities. Get to know the whole child and enjoy everything that he is. Don’t let his food allergies overwhelm everything else or stand in the way of your ability to see him as the dynamic person that he is.
6. Set an Example
Remember that your attitude, good or bad, rubs off on others around you. If you want support, be positive rather than hopeless and pitiful. People will be drawn to your positive attitude and have a desire to reach out and uplift you when you act like someone they want to be around. Your food allergic children will also mimic your attitude. Show them by example how to help themselves fit in and feel normal. As they implement coping strategies on their own, they will also empower you to feel more confident and positive about the situation.
7. Search out Resources
Search out and find as many allergy free resources and recipes as possible. The more information you have, the more empowered and confident you will feel about your ability to handle your situation.