Managing Relationship Stress for Families
Living with a house full of people can be stressful under the best of conditions. But during a pandemic, it can be especially challenging. There are fewer social connections outside of the family, as well as disruptions to our normal routines. Here's how to cope.
- Try to stay on a regular schedule.
Keep things as normal as you can by keeping to your routines. For example, go to bed at the same time each day. And wake up at the same time.
- Try new things together.
Play a new board game. Discover a new craft. Or try different foods. Choose a night each week for movies and games. Let the kids help make decisions about new things to try.
- Keep moving.
Exercise can help reduce stress. Have a family dance party. Set family exercise goals. For example, you could see how many pushups or jumping jacks you can each do. If you can go outside, take walks together.
- Laugh together.
Find things to do that will make you laugh. Choose a funny movie to watch together, or read a favorite book.
- Talk to each other about your feelings.
Let others know if you're scared, sad, or frustrated. Help them understand what you need. You or your child might be worried about the pandemic and want to talk about it. Or maybe someone just needs a hug.
- Safely connect with friends and family.
Make time to connect with friends and family by phone, email, or video calls. Staying in touch with people outside of your home will help you feel less isolated.
- Limit media time.
It's easy to feel stressed when you spend too much time watching the news or reading about the pandemic on social media. Set limits on how much time the family can spend doing those things. And reward the family for sticking to their goals by playing a favorite game or doing another fun activity together.
- Learn how to stay calm.
When you're angry or upset, take a few deep breaths before you speak. Teach your children to do the same when they have strong feelings. Have your child lie down and place a stuffed animal on their belly. Show them how the stuffed animal slowly goes up and down with their slow, deep breaths.
Current as of: February 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Lesley Ryan MD - Family Medicine