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Stress management for families, strategies for success

BY: Dorcas Acherekoh
Picture credit: Shutterstock
Picture credit: Shutterstock

Stress is a normal aspect of life that people go through in reaction to threats. We all encounter stress differently; however, managing it allows us to live a better life and maintain physical, mental and emotional health.

Stress can be any event that triggers emotions in our daily lives: taking care of the family, work, financial challenges, relationships, diseases or illness; a significant life event like the death of a loved one and the recent COVID -19 global pandemic may hurt a person’s life, hence stress.

Families must adopt strategies to manage or decrease their stress levels which contribute to potential health problems like fatigue, immune deficiency and depression.

Here are some strategies for successfully controling family stress:

Strategies

• Practice deep breathing. As a family, it is essential to learn to exercise deep breathing often, if not daily, to decrease anxiety or stress.

Practicing at night improves sleep, and families can cultivate this habit together.

For instance, anger may contribute to shortness of breath, and you must practice deep breathing to calm the situation.

• Be health conscious. Yes, you can eat anything you crave for and follow your heart’s desires, but you should remember that not all things are good for you.

You are unique in your own way, and so are your family members. Consider what goes into your body and be mindful of the choice of meals you serve at the table.

• Engage children in house chores, develop a positive attitude, and take education seriously. Parents should not perform all the house chores; instead, they must have a shared responsibility.

Children must understand and take their education seriously too because education is paramount. Family members must communicate effectively to share their thoughts and assist each other.

• Be open-minded. We live in a global village, and there is the need to understand and welcome new ideas from different backgrounds to build your social network and acquire knowledge. I encourage families to connect themselves to new ideas.

• Have adequate sleep. Seven to eight hours of sleep protects from diseases, because when you sleep well, your body and brain get the opportunity to recover from the stress of the day. You’re happier when you sleep well and feel motivated, therby increasing your energy level to perform your daily activities.

Sleep helps support your health by boosting your immune system and managing stress levels. Sleep experts say that daytime naps can decrease stress levels and increase your brain functioning. But keep it shorter to avoid sleeplessness at night.

• Accept the unexpected situation. Life is full of risks, and you must learn to accept unforeseen circumstances. You have every right to be angry, shocked, sad, depressed or anxious because you lost a loved one, got divorced, have been diagnosed with a medical condition, lost a job, etc.

However, it is essential to challenge yourself to accept the situation as part of life. A helpful strategy is to come together as a family, put your strength together and design a new life to limit the stress. Also, you need to identify and understand children’s feelings and talk to them with love.

• Seek professional help. You shouldn’t lean exclusively on your own understanding of the challenges creating unmanageable stress in your life. It is vital to seek professional or medical attention when needed.

You should communicate the cause of your stress with your partner, a trusted person or an expert.

The writer is a certified nutrition/wellness coach/master’s student at Ball State University. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.