Everyday life is filled with all kinds of stress we can’t prevent. Our family life should be the one safe haven we can escape to when life gets too tough – but let’s be honest, this is not always the case.
If your family life is stressing you out, take a look at our list of possible causes and some helpful strategies for coping.
Common causes of family stress
There are numerous things that can cause family-related stress. Here are some of the more common causes:
In short, any significant change in your life (good or bad, as it happens) will likely cause a certain amount of stress. How you cope with it will make all the difference.
Coping with family stress
The best way to deal with family-related stress will depend on its cause. Sometimes, you might just need a bit of rest, while at other times, you’ll need more comprehensive solutions.
Determine the cause
The first thing you need to do is realize what is causing your stress. It may be a combination of several factors – for example, you’re moving to a new home and you have an extra amount of work to handle. Or, you might have one single major stressor affecting you.
Once you’ve identified your trigger, consider what it is you can do about the situation at hand. For instance, you may believe that the best thing for you is a bit of rest and a good night’s sleep, but if your toddler is down with the flu, this may be difficult to achieve. In that case, you’ll need a different plan.
Focus on the weakest link
When one family member is under stress, everyone else will feel it too. This is why it’s important to provide family support to the person in question.
If your partner is the one having a tough time, try to take some of the load off at home and handle some of their chores. Try to provide little treats and surprise them with something that they love. It might be a meal, a book, or anything small that will bring a smile to their face.
If your kids are stressing over their exams, don’t give them a hard time about the state of their room. Give them the time and space they need to study and let them vent their frustration in a healthy way.
Take some time away
You may feel like you need to step away for a bit – and this is perfectly fine as well. It does not mean you care about your family less or that you are selfish.
Sometimes all we need is a walk on our own or a solitary meal. Maybe a night in with the TV will help you destress and unwind.
If this is the case, be open about how you feel with your family, and let them know what you need and why. Arrange a way for you to get your break without compromising the family dynamic.
Don’t hold a grudge
Stress makes us say and do things we don’t actually mean, which can lead to a lot of added frustration. In the spur of the moment, it may be difficult to prevent yourself from doing something you will later regret, but always make it a point to apologize as soon as possible.
Similarly, don’t hold a grudge against any member of your family for the things they may have done or said while under stress. More importantly, don’t use this against them in future arguments.
Dealing with family stress can be difficult, but it’s something all families have to go through. As long as you are ready to work on it, you can conquer it as a team.