With the current economic and health conditions, we can’t blame you if you feel mounting pressure in your life. Stress is a natural emotion that arises in response to difficult situations. But if the stress becomes a constant companion, then stress in family life is bound to result.
Your persistent stress can have a direct effect on your family as well. Within the family system, each member is facing their own worries. Often these external worries are carried into the family, like when a husband argues with his wife due to work stress.
To help families maintain a positive home environment, the members must be aware of the effects of stress and its management techniques. Through this article, we aim to provide the information and resources needed to help your family get a handle on the stress at home.
Some causes of stress in the family are:
- Marital dissatisfaction
- Disorganized home environment
- Health concerns
- Financial burdens
- Dissatisfying job
- Loss of loved ones
- Financial loses
- Emotional imbalances
- Unsafe neighborhood
How the family appraises stressors, i.e., how serious they think the situation is, determines the severity of response.
The Importance of Managing Stress in Family Life
You might wonder if it is of any importance to address the seemingly minor stressors in your family. Stress in family life is not only a collective test but also a test for each member. Allowing the pressure to settle like a suffocating blanket on your family will, eventually, strain your relationships. The stress will lead to more stress until you are all at your breaking point.
Healthy family relationships are those that foster love, growth, and companionship. Stress is like a fire that eats away at the emotional foundations of your familial bonds.
Stress is also a known factor in the development of depression and anxiety disorders. Apart from the emotional blow, the physical health of your family members might also be at risk. Chest pains, heart palpitations, confusion, diminished thinking ability, insomnia, and negative emotions are consequences of persistent stress.
The most hindered by the stressful home environment are the children who need positive and supportive space to grow into healthy adults. Studies suggest that children exposed to high levels of parental stress are highly likely to show aggressive behavior, slow immune response, and cardiovascular risks.
To build a healthy and positive family environment conducive to a child’s growth, managing stress in the family is necessary. As an individual, you should also take care of your physical and emotional states so that you can live a fuller life with your loved ones.
Therefore, check how you respond to stress. Do you start avoiding the object or situation of your worry? Do you skip meals or overeat? Do you begin hyperventilating? Reflect on how you act in difficult situations and determine if it can be called healthy or not.
Many people engage in unhealthy coping mechanisms. In family settings, you must practice healthy coping mechanisms – how you react is how your children will learn to react to their difficulties.
How to Manage Stress in the Family?
To break free from the shackles of stress, effectively managing it is of utmost importance. There are many techniques for managing stress – you have to test out which works well for your family. Some of the healthy coping techniques you can try for managing stress in the family are as follows:
- Identify the culprit behind your stress. Often, we can recognize major stressors like moving to a new place or divorce. But we are quick to overlook our emotional state and thought processes. Before you start managing your stress level, you must know what factors are causing you distress. After focusing and evaluating yourself, try to identify the causes of stress in the family.
- Keep the communication open. In a family setting, working on yourself is not enough; each member must participate in identifying their stressors. These stressors should then be communicated to the family members. Talking about your stressor to your loved ones will make them more mindful of how their activities might be causing you distress.
- Be accepting of emotions. When we feel sad, anxious, worried, frustrated, we immediately try to quash it. Encourage acceptance of emotions in your family. It is perfectly normal to feel and display negative emotions. Talk to your family about their emotional needs in every situation and be mindful of what they require.
- Fix sleep patterns. Lack of a healthy amount of sleep is enough to make anyone feel anxious and stressed. Make sure you and your family members don’t often miss out on shuteye due to work or entertainment.
- Practice deep breathing. When it all gets too overwhelming, stop your negative thoughts and take a deep breath. This strategy freshens your brain, allowing you to think more clearly about the situation. Continue to take deep breaths until you can calm down. Teach this to your family members so that they don’t act rashly in stressful situations.
- Don’t give up on family activities. Difficult situations are a bittersweet opportunity to come closer to your family. By braving the hard times together as a unit, you strengthen your bonds with resilience and love. You must take a few hours from your week and spend them together in an activity that brings you all peace of mind.
TedX featured an insightful speech about stress management:
How Can You Avoid Stress in the Family?
It is impossible to avoid stress entirely in your daily life. You can always learn to manage or cope with your stressors and worries. That being said, your individual stress need not cause stress to your family. So, how can you avoid stress in the family? Here are some strategies you can consider.
Share the load
When it starts to get overwhelming, lean on your family – that’s what they are for! Family supports one another in the good and the bad. So, if you’re up to your chin in work and family chores, communicate with your family members and ask them to share the load.
These acts of kindness and consideration help enrich familial bonds. It also sets a good example for your children to ask for help instead of drowning in worry.
Limit media exposure
If watching the news is the source of your stress, then do yourself a favor and limit your screen time. Try not to focus too much on the bad news; instead, seek out media outlets that give equal time to good news so that it doesn’t feel like the world is ending. Some media outlets provide coverage unbiasedly and without exaggerating the situation. Prefer these over gossip hubs.
Is your family the wilderness type or the beach type? Road trips or planes? Take some time from your busy routines to relax the way you love the most. Spending time away from the city is perfect for resetting your internal mechanisms and freshening your brain.
Take care of your physical health
Your physical and mental health are intricately interlinked. So, to ease your stress, it is better to engage in healthy activities than in alcohol or drugs. Try to encourage a healthy and balanced diet in your household. Go on family walks or runs on the weekends. Participate in sports or dancing contests to increase physical activity.
Respond in appropriate situations
If you are stressed or frustrated at work, try to address your stressor while at work. Don’t take that pent-up energy and release it at home. Many couples fight over small things because they are releasing their stress in their home environment. This kind of behavior will only serve as a strain on your relationships.
To avoid letting your stress and anxiety take over your family life, seeking help from a mental health professional is a healthy option.
Should You Concider Online Therapy for Family Stress?
If your family is not benefiting from the tips mentioned above or if the calamity you are facing is just too severe to solve on your own, it is time to seek help through therapy. In therapy, a professional assesses your family’s situation and its intensity. They then guide you through the best-suited intervention and help build the safe and comfortable environment needed in every home.
If the thought of making appointments and commuting to a clinic causes you distress, you could opt for online therapy. Online counseling is just as effective in providing help as traditional clinical settings. While taking your whole family to an in-person session might be difficult, some online therapy provides each individual to connect to the session from wherever they are. It is much more convenient and affordable than traditional therapy.
For family situations, usually, family-focused therapy is applied by the professional. In this intervention, the whole family is educated about the problem, i.e., stress, and possible causes and treatments.
If the source of stress is discord between the couple, then behavioral couples therapy might help. The type of intervention provided by the therapist depends on the unique situation of the family.
You Can Make Your Family Life Less Stressful
Your and your family’s health and well-being are more important than whatever is causing you distress. To create a healthy environment for your loved ones, make sure to minimize and manage your reaction to stressful events.
There are many sources of stress which you can identify and manage for a peaceful life. If you or your family members are unable to manage the many stressors of life on their own, don’t hesitate, seek therapy.
If going to a clinic is not your preference, there are many credible online therapy services that you can benefit from. DoMental is one such online counseling service that aims to provide you and your family with relief from any distresses.