In recent months we have had to deal with some incredibly worrying times as the Covid 19 Coronavirus has swept across the world, resulting in some form of lock down being imposed in most countries. This has resulted in families spending a lot more time in each others company and significantly fewer opportunities to do the things we normally enjoy. While some families have thrived in these circumstances, others have found it increasingly difficult and so in this article I want to look at some family stress management strategies to help anyone who needs help to manage family stress and keep your loved ones living in harmony.
Family Stress Management
You might be wondering why this is even an issue or why some people dread the thought of spending time with family. Family is a wonderful thing. Quite possibly, they know you better than most people in the world. Together, you have shared memories, pursued dreams and made hopes for your futures. And while family is one of the greatest gifts in life, it can also be a source of stress.
Good stress, of course. But when it comes to family get-togethers, sometimes things get a little more complicated. Family get-togethers, as joyous as they can be, often bring a sense of stress. This is particularly prevalent when you don’t see eye to eye with someone in the family, or if your family has a history of starting arguments.
If you can identify with this situation, you are probably looking for a way to ease the stress of dealing with family in any number of situations. And the good news is that there are a number of stress management techniques available to combat this type of stress.
Causes of Family Stress
Let’s start first with a few family situations that have the potential to get your pulse pounding. Anyone with a family, either nuclear of extended, can relate to the feeling you get after a family argument. Especially if you have relatives barking down one another’s throats, you know all too well how important it is to maintain peace. Even the most peaceful, tightly-knit family can relate to this scenario.
When you are involved in a family argument, it can be easy to lose your temper. As they say, you only hurt the ones you love, and this holds true in most situations. If a family member loses their temper with you, try your best not to fire back with a pointed statement. Instead, pause and take a deep breath. Think about your feelings and think about the possible outcomes of anything you are thinking about saying.
Sometimes it’s best not to say anything at all in response; sometimes it’s better just to take the blow, and realize you love the person. Yes you might feel hurt right now but look at the bigger picture and think about how hurt you might be if things escalate.
In the end, the problem will blow over, and things will go back to normal again. If you find yourself stressing out before a family gathering, try making a mental list of things to talk about. As a stress management technique, this will prepare you to interact with family members you may not have seen in a while. And it will help you keep conversations going.
Manage Family Stress
Offer to help out. A lot of people are more comfortable getting involved in activities, rather than mingling in a crowd. If you are one of these people, you may want to offer help with cooking or serving food. Even an offer to help tidy up and clear up clutter can relieve stress both by creating a more pleasant environment as well as doing a job that perhaps nobody else wants to do.
Now don’t become a hermit. Even the busiest people can take a few minutes to socialize with guests or family members. Then, of course, there’s the stress of meeting new people. If a relative has recently started dating someone new, chances are you’re going to be introduced.
Try to be cheery. It will make you seem more sociable and easy to approach. You might have heard the expression “fake it until you make it“. It is usually used to refer to people pretending to be more successful than they actually are but you can apply this idea to cheerfulness too. Force yourself to be happy and cheerful and often it actually results in you feeling happier anyway. It also tends to rub off on people around you too.
The Stress Of Dealing With In-laws
If you’re married, you may have to deal with the stress of seeing in-laws. For some people, this is a huge cause of discomfort, especially if there is tension between you and your extended family.
Stress management, in any situation, does not have to be complicated, and in-laws are no exception. When getting together with your spouse’s family, mingle with people. Talk to family members you may not have met before, and chat to the ones you are most comfortable with.
After a while, you will find yourself feeling a lot more comfortable. By talking, you will make a good impression on people you may not have met before, and you make the get-together a pleasant one for those who know you well.
This will make you seem more fun, and you will enjoy the experience a lot more. As a result, any apprehension you may have had about future gatherings with your in-laws will begin to disappear.
Estranged Family Members
If you’ve been at odds with a family member for years, and have even stopped talking, chances are it is weighing on your heart. The stress of this situation can hurt you and drive a family apart.
Perhaps a family member refuses to talk to you. This is a significant cause of stress. Deep down, you may want to get back in touch with your loved one. If so, give them a call. Even if they won’t call you, be the first one to take the initiative. You will feel a lot better. You will be surprised at how often a situation of estrangement within a family could be overcome simply by someone taking the initiative and making the first move to build bridges again.
Not only will this alleviate the guilt you feel about the situation, but it may also spark a wonderful reunion between you and a fellow loved one.
Family Stress Management
One important thing to remember is that wherever there is family, there is stress. Finding some family stress management methods that allow everyone to come out of a situation feeling good about it, is something we should all make a priority.
Even the most healthy and happy situations can cause you to stress out. But often in a good way. When you know how to deal with the positive stress of spending time with family, tackling the difficult stress is a piece of cake. Now go have a slice!
By the way…
If you have not yet downloaded a free copy of my book “Simple Solutions For A Stressful Life” then you can get a completely free copy by clicking the image below