Home is supposed to be our refuge, so when stress and anxiety crop up there – it can be especially distressing. One thing to pay attention to is whether you might be inadvertently contaminating home with stress from work or school or some other area of your life. It’s often helpful to compartmentalize parts of our life to some degree so that we leave work at work and school at school and maybe perhaps don’t return emails in the evening, etc. And instead allow ourselves the ability to savor the non-work or the non-school parts of our lives. Now at the same time, it’s also important to let people in when we’re experiencing distressing thoughts or feelings so that we don’t feel that we’re shouldering that burden all by ourselves. So if you open up to the people around you, you’re accomplishing a couple of things at once: one, you’re alleviating some of that stress and anxiety, and two, you’re cultivating intimacy with that person. So it’s important to try to find a balance between these two. Compartmentalizing and sharing and being open with people about the struggles that you face. Also consider carving out some time every day, even if it’s only 30 minutes for you – for self-care activities for you. So what is it that you like to do to take care of yourself? Do you like to take a bath? is there a hobby you like to do? What is it that calms and soothes you? Just you. Some time that you can claim for yourself because taking care of yourself can relieve stress and anxiety and also help you show up more for the people in your life. So it’s a win-win situation. And finally I’d recommend considering starting a mindfulness meditation practice. This is a practice of orienting more toward our present moment experience and letting go of the future oriented thoughts that tend to worry us. So again, this can produce direct improvement in stress and anxiety, but notably empathy and compassion also naturally arise when we practice mindfulness meditation. And so the practice can help you be a better family member too.
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