Families share everything from groceries to gripes to the very air they breathe. Living together behind the same four walls knits people’s lives together on every imaginable level. It comes as no surprise, then, that stress is also infectious among family members. When one person works to ease their anxiety, they work on behalf of everyone; on the other hand, when anxiety spikes in one corner, it quickly spreads through the household. Managing stress is thus at once both an individual and collective effort.
Stress Management Techniques for Families
The most effective way to teach effective stress management techniques is to model them, yourself. Those who are parents know that children do more based on what they see versus what they hear. Simply put, actions speak louder than words. What follows is thus a list of 5 actions you can take to help ease anxiety and manage stress.
1. Nip It in the Bud
All of us have stress cues. Maybe your back muscles grow tight, or you grow distracted, or you clench your jaw. Maybe your temper grows short or you cry easily. Whatever your cues are, it is important to recognize them and treat them at the source. Likewise, if you have children, learning their stress cues is crucial. When you can spot their acting out as a symptom of anxiety you can intervene effectively with stress management techniques.
2. Build Healthy Routines
Managing stress is easiest when you’re not feeling its weight. The best way to ease anxiety is to prevent it from ever reaching crippling levels. Routines play an important role as they build space into your day to decompress. Make reading a book for 30 minutes a part of your bedtime routine; play a game of cards on the porch; schedule a family movie night. All of these activities bring closure to the day’s stresses and help you start fresh tomorrow.
3. Be Mindful
Recognizing stress is only helpful to the degree to which you know how to respond. One of the most effective stress management techniques is mindfulness. When you notice you or a loved one is feeling stressed, make a practice of taking a minute to simply sit and breathe. By focusing on slowing your breathing, the part of your body that harbors anxiety is able to release that stress. Release your jaw, draw your shoulder blades down your back, and let your tongue drop from the roof of your mouth. Likewise, teach your children to take a mindfulness minute when they notice their own stress cues appearing.
4. Prioritize Sleep
Experts agree that when you get more than 8 hours of sleep you experience less anxiety and are better at managing stress. If there’s no way you can fit this in overnight, build a nap into your schedule. If this isn’t possible, adjust your routine. However important other commitments may be, they don’t outweigh the value of your mental health.
5. Seek Support
Stress is a family problem and, likewise, a family project. Relying on other adults in your family is crucial but not always enough. Sometimes, professional help is needed to help ease anxiety and reinforce healthy stress management techniques. A holistic mental health clinic provides you with the tools needed to effectively manage anxiety and limit the way it impacts you and your family.
To learn more, do not hesitate to schedule a consultation today at Aloha Integrative Health, a mental health clinic treating and assisting in the healing of depression with a combination of traditional therapies and innovative, holistic modalities.