In these challenging times, it can be hard to reduce stress in your family. You’re busy, stressed and tired. But there are some things you can do that will reduce the amount of stress your family feels. In this blog post, we will talk about how to reduce stress as a family in challenging times!
Create a daily routine
Many of us, particularly children, thrive in a lifestyle of routine. By creating structure and a daily routine you can reduce stress for your family. If you have kids, set a bedtime routine that includes bathing and reading before they go to sleep. As an adult, try waking up at a scheduled time and going for a run or eating a healthy breakfast every morning.
Create a sense of spontaneity
Living a life that’s too regimented quickly becomes mundane. We need a sense of fun and something to look forward too, particularly in challenging times. Science has shown a creative lifestyle can reduce stress. Games, hobbies and a sense of humour are all ways to reduce the amount of stress you feel.
Essentially, it’s about having balance in your life and a creative outlet. Having fun together as a family is a great way to bond. The stronger your family relationships, the better off you’ll be mentally and physically.
Exercise is not only beneficial to our physical health but our mental health too. Exercise releases endorphins which help to reduce the effects of stress and depression. It’s a great idea to make exercise a part of your daily routine by setting fitness goals and involve all the family.
Have meals together
Regular meals can also help to keep a healthy mental state. Set time aside for the family to come together to share a meal. Make sure you eat regular times throughout the day to help minimise emotional eating and try not to eat too much before bed so it doesn’t affect your sleep.
Staying hydrated is important especially in stressful times. While there can be a tendency to drink alcohol as adults when we feel stressed, this is counter-productive. Alcohol is a depressant and harms your body, making you more prone to headaches and dehydration which effects our mental health. Having too much coffee can also lead to headaches and dehydration so try and limit your intake or at least drink water more.
Limit screen time
When we are stressed, often times our default coping mechanism is turning on a TV or scrolling through social media feeds. Research suggests, excess screen time is impacting teen mental health. The reality is, it probably harms all of us in various ways. While these activities seem harmless at first glance, they have been proven to negatively impact our mental health. Social media is a breeding ground for negative comments and news stories.
We are more likely to compare ourselves with others when scrolling through feeds or reading about their lives on social media, which only serves to make us feel worse. TV is also not as innocent as it seems, so be mindful of what your family is watching in stressful times.
Sleeping well is a large contributor to mental health. This is because sleep helps our brains recharge and process the events of the day, which in turn can reduce stress levels.
More sleep isn’t always better either. The most important thing is the quality of your sleep. Get out of bed at the same time every single morning regardless if you slept well or not and you’ll find the routine helps you sleep better in future.
Take time for yourself
To be a positive influence on your family, you need to take care of yourself. It can be tempting to put on a happy face when you’re feeling stressed but it’s important not to ignore your own mental health needs in order to take care of your family. Take some time out from caring for others, spend some quality one-on-one time with your partner, or take a long bath.
If you or a family member are really struggling, talk to your doctor or a therapist about possible solutions. They may recommend some type of therapy such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or mindfulness meditation.
Even in times of chaos, it is important to create a sense of order and control. If you’re in a location where you need to work from home and organise home-schooling, healthy habits will reduce the number of decisions you need to make throughout your day so it doesn’t all become overwhelming.