Be sure to plan leisure time for activities and hobbies that you enjoy. After finding out that your child has been sexually abused, you may focus on the details of the disclosure, on your child's symptoms, and on the negative emotions and stress. You may get stuck in a downward, stress-filled spiral. The way out is to try to reduce your stress. This requires effort, but the payoff is significant. If you share some positive, fun activities with either friends or family, you will:
  • Reduce you overall stress
  • Improve your health
  • Increase your hope and optimism
  • Increase positive attitudes
  • Feel more satisfied with your life
  • And simply enjoy life more

Try something new and different. Take an art class or poetry class. Join a book club. Plan and plant a garden, either indoors or outdoors. Develop an interest in bird-watching or photography. Learn to ski or ride horses. Plan and take a mini-vacation or, if you can afford to, take a longer vacation. New activities enhance your joy in living.

Be sure not to give up routine activities that you enjoy. Work on arts and crafts. Listen to a book on tape. Read the latest publication of your favorite magazine. Take the time to sit by the fireplace and read a book. Make bread. Go out on Friday night and see a movie. Do some things you really enjoy doing. Maintain routines that are important to you. Take time for your favorite hobbies and interests.

Humor is healing. If you can incorporate humor in your recreation, so much the better. Funny movies are far more stress-relieving than dramas or action movies. Laughter really is like good medicine. It is healing. And when you laugh, endorphins, your own natural mood-elevating chemicals, are released into your body.
All types of recreation can serve to reduce negative symptoms of depression and anxiety. They can help you stay calm and can increase your overall function. Recreation of whatever type gets your mind off your problems and allows your to release stress. The goal of recreation ris to re-create you. 

You may be able to do some of these activities with your child or children. Your shared enjoyment of an activity will reduce family tension and help family members manage their stress. Plan a trip to the zoo or to a local community event or visit the children's museum. If you model healthy ways of dealing with your stress, your children will be more likely to self-regulate emotions, rather than acting out. And that will also reduce your stress.


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