By Kelsi McClaflin, MS, LPC | The Village Family Service Center
Stress. In today’s world this is a word that you likely say out loud or in your head on a daily basis. More energy is going into everyday life, which can be exhausting. So, how are you taking care of yourself and your family? In what ways are you de-stressing?
Here are some ways you can de-stress as a family:
When talking to one another, take time to really listen. This allows an open conversation from one family member to the next and helps everyone feel understood. Asking questions about each person’s needs and wants opens the door to hear what is causing stress and can hold ideas and answers as to how each person de-stresses. Be honest when communicating with your family members about how you are feeling, what is causing you stress, and what your family can do to help.
Also communicate what each member of the family enjoys doing in their free time. Talk about how each member of the family would like to spend time with each other. Write these ideas down! This will serve as a guide later.
Family time is in no shortage these days. By establishing a foundation of strong communication between one another, it allows family members to let each other know when they need space. Honor each other’s space. Taking a set break from the family can de-stress the whole system. Each family member should have one or two spaces in which they can spend time by themselves to recharge. When someone in your family says they need a break, acknowledge the communication and time they have requested.
SET TIME ASIDE & ESTABLSH A ROUTINE
Remember those ideas you wrote down earlier? This is where they come in handy! Set time aside every week – a specific day of the week and/or time of the day – to spend together as a whole family. Plan in advance what you will do so all members are prepared for the activity (a walk, a movie, a game, etc.).
Utilize the list of how each member would like to spend family time, rotating in some of your members’ individual interests. Allow the person whose interest it is to teach the family about it; be patient with one another on these occasions! This is where establishing a strong foundation of communication can also come in handy, as members are listening to one another and asking questions related to the activity!
Time spent de-stressing and recharging as a family can strengthen the bond between all members and will be in no shortage for the foreseeable future. Enjoy it while it is available!
Kelsi McClaflin is an In-Home Family Therapist at The Village Family Service Center's Moorhead office. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from North Dakota State University and Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Minnesota State University Moorhead and is a Licensed Professional Counselor.