Ways to Deal with Family Stress

Posted by Amina AlTai on

This time of year is such a challenge.  And it's not just because we're tempted by the crazy desserts and adult beverages.  We're often forced out of our environments and thrust into situations where tempers run high and patients run low.  I'm talking about family time.  But this year, let's put the drama on hold, or at least our reaction to it.  
 
1. Know your triggers: If you're from a type-A family who love to control certain situations and you know that behavior usually sends you running for the hills, jut be aware of that going in.  If you feel pressured or like you're about to have a freak out, press the pause button.  Call the situation by it's name and visualize yourself pausing before you say or do anything. Think of a response you'd be proud of and proceed that way.  If the first thing that comes to your mind doesn't make you proud, then don't do or say anything that all.  Doing nothing is a response too.  
2. Breathe:  If you feel yourself getting flustered and your mind is reaching for a whole host of unflattering expletives, take some deep breathes.  I extol the praises of 4-7-8 breathing all the time because it really does work.  If you're curious about other exercise that might work for you, you can find a few more breathing exercises here.  
3.Take some alone time:  Never be afraid to excuse yourself and take a walk, a hot bath or same old fashioned alone time.  When we're alone and quiet we can hear ourselves and listen to what we really need.  In those quiet moments we can get a better sense of what we're reacting to and often find the solutions too.
4. Journal: I'm a big fan of a good free-writing sesh.  When I put pen to paper, I see what's really in my mind and bothering me.  It's also such an awesome way to see my own role in something and how I may have contributed to the discomfort.  The way forward also becomes glaringly obvious as well.
5. Forgive:  If you're feeling overwhelmed, so is the rest of your family.  But, they might not have the same tools that you do.  So forgive, and let it go.  Instead of holding onto anger or hurt, chose to focus on all the reasons you love your family. Coming from a place of love will take you out of hurt and fear and will immediately disarm them.  
family stress stress stress management

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