During uncertain or stressful times, it can be really hard to get your bearings. Normal routines are shifted, and there may not be a clear timeline on when things will start to feel easier. While there is no cure for stress, there are some ways to make it feel more manageable. Here are some ideas on how you can not only survive but thrive during stressful times.
By: Laura Lebovitz | LAMFT at Grow Counseling
All of us are able to function better when we have an idea what is going to happen next. Create a schedule or routine that you can stick to. Get input from your kids on what they would like to see included, too! It’s OK if this needs to shift over time as your family’s needs change. Once you have an idea of the schedule, post it where everyone can see and go over it as a family so everyone has an idea about what is to come.
Find a balance.
Having the news on 24/7 or trying to digest every article you see online is enough to make anyone feel anxious and stressed. Everyone is a little different and our capacity for taking in news may even differ on a day-to-day basis. Try to find the balance between being informed and knowledgeable and having a break to recharge. Recharging is just as beneficial as being informed! When taking in a lot of news at once, try to make a point of finding positive stories to highlight for your family. Look for examples of people helping others, examples of charity work, or even just a cute dog video!
Feeling disconnected from others can intensify feelings of stress. You also may feel like your conversations start to revolve primarily around the source of stress. It is important to not only get creative about ways to stay in touch with loved ones but also make sure you are talking about fun or silly things, too! Call family and friends. Write goofy letters to your kids and neighbors. Set up video play dates for your kids or dinner dates with friends. Allow yourself to take a break from trying to have the perfectly cleaned house and have a chore vacation every now and then. Take the opportunity to build fun, happy memories with your family by having a themed movie night complete with a pillow fort. With a little creativity, we can all make the most out of more family time.
Check in with yourself.
It is normal to feel overwhelmed and emotional yourself as you are trying to be strong for your family. Recognize when you are reaching your limits, and find ways to put that burden aside for a bit. Journal, do some yoga, or even set up a phone or video session with your therapist. Prioritize taking care of yourself so that you can continue to show up for the ones you love. Remember to go easy on yourself. Some days will feel harder than others and that is OK!
Take good care of yourself.
While washing your hands and cleaning surfaces is important, you also have to take good care of yourself mentally and emotionally. Get some sun, play a game as a family, learn a new craft, or even read a book. Prioritizing sleeping, eating well, and getting regular exercise helps everything feel more manageable.
Laura Lebovitz is a licensed associate marriage and family therapist that works in the Suwanee area at GROW Counseling. She received her Masters of Family Therapy from Mercer University School of Medicine. She works with children, adolescents, young adults, and families dealing with a variety of concerns. She specializes in working with anxiety, autism, self-harm, life transitions like divorce, and building healthy relationships within families.