In group and on Fet, you see a lot of Doms asking for help with their little when it’s too late. Their little has already reached a breaking point and they need help in how to fix their little’s anxiety and tension, but their little has already reached a critical meltdown. How do we prevent that from occurring and help them avoid breakdowns as Daddy Dominants? I hope you’re ready for a deep dive into relationship psychology and then applying D/s.
First we need to identify your little’s stressors. This should be done two ways. The first being an open dialogue with your little. What do they think causes them stress? Make sure to be actively listening. Take notes if you need to. I sometimes have an overactive ADHD brain. Notes help me a ton. Second, watch your little. There may be things she’s uncomfortable discussing, but if they keeps stressing out over something not discussed, help them find the root of their tension. Big or small, these things matter to them. Make sure while you are listening and observing to not make comments like, “but it’s not that serious” or anything else that can be viewed as dismissive. It matters to them and it stresses them out. Listen without judgment and validate their feelings.
What does stress look like? This will vary so widely, but some common identifiers include:
- Irritable, angry, impatient or wound up
- Over-burdened or overwhelmed
- Anxious, nervous or afraid
- Unable to enjoy themselves
- Excessive tiredness
- Uninterested in things that used to interest them
- Existing mental health problems worsen
- Difficulty breathing
- Panic attacks
- Increased headaches
- Constant arguing
- Pulling or pushing away
So we’ve identified the stressors and what to look for. You need to be dialed into your submissive/little, this is something I talk about a lot. The real magic in D/s happens when you know your sub/little better than they know themselves. Some littles when stressed, will respond better to the Daddy over the Dominant. Knowing when this change is needed is something you will gain with experience and through communicating with your little. We’ve got our list. Now what do we do?
- Promote a healthier diet. Now, that’s not saying take away all the goodies, but what we eat matters. Some people stress eat and this will cause more stress in the long run. Help create a meal plan that’s healthier. We all know of a few littles that will try to exist on coffee and sweets. Don’t take that away from them. Those are comfort foods. We will work on moderation, however. How that works for your dynamic will be up to you to negotiate.
- Introduce a workout routine. This may be a sensitive subject. Use tact and broach this carefully with your little. This will vary widely due to whatever physical limitations your little has, but modern psychology has shown us that even a little bit of aerobic exercise releases endorphins. If your little has physical limitations, check out “DDP Yoga”. The whole program is built around whatever limitations there may be. If you can, include your little in your workout routine or join them with theirs. Make it a bonding experience and encourage them.
- Work on and study relaxation techniques. This is something I learned recently. Did you know that coloring has the same impact on the brain as meditation? Color with your little. Look into mindfulness exercises and promote mindfulness with your little. I cannot recommend enough the “Mindfulness Coach” app. It’s completely free, has voiced guided meditations and has zero ads. As you progress with the app, you also grow a little digital tree.
- Reduce triggers of stress. Most of our stressful demands we have in our lives, we’ve placed on ourselves. Practice and reinforce time-management skills. Help your little set priorities, pace themselves and take time for self care.
- Help your little set realistic goals and expectations. We’re not always going to be 100% successful all the time and that’s okay. Be mindful of the things we can control and work on accepting the things we can’t.
- Establish healthy sleep routines. Help your little maintain a good sleep schedule. If that means limiting the phone at night, then negotiate for that. Make sure the bed and surrounding areas are comfortable and arrange the pillows to maintain comfortable positions. Make sure to avoid napping too much during the day and limit caffeine intake in the evenings. Maintaining a sleep schedule helps your circadian rhythm, your bodies’ internal clock. The American Sleep Association has a ton of useful advice on maintaining sleep schedules and other useful information. Like did you know a lack of sleep can contribute to migraines?
- Engage in scenes and play. Did you know that there’s been a direct link formed between stress relief and bondage? Both “Psychological Characteristics of BDSM Practitioners” from 2013 and “Hormonal Changes and Couple Bonding in Consensual Sadomasochistic Activity” from 2007 report lower stress levels in tops and bottoms that engage in play. Make sure you’re planning and engaging in scenes with your little. Not only will it help reduce your stress, but it will help your little as well.
One final bit of advice. The ultimate secret weapon in relieving tension in a relationship is called a repair attempt (Gottman Institute). These are especially powerful when you understand your partner’s love languages and know how to speak them. Repair attempts can include a hand on the knee or purchasing a small “thinking of you” type present. It all depends on your little’s love languages. Love languages are and will always be a recurring theme here. Take time to learn your little’s love languages and how to speak to them.