Avoiding Stress at Home

Student Studying Outdoors

If you’ve been stressed lately, I feel for you. Being at home with my whole family for the last three months has been tough!  Between the coronavirus, protests, my sisters bursting into my room when I was trying to do schoolwork, and not being able to attend church in person or see friends, I’ve been stressed too. And I’m not even a working adult; I’m just a teenager who has a part-time summer job, so I can’t imagine how tough it is being an adult right now.  (And hats off to you, parents, for dealing with us, your kids, while trying to work from home and keep the house clean!  You rock!)  However, in times like these I think it’s important to focus on the good things, and try to find ways to manage our stress, as tough as it may be.

Because I wasn’t feeling super confident about giving relaxation advice all by myself, I asked my family members what helps them to manage their stress. So here are a few suggestions, from my crazy family to yours, on ways you can manage stress at home. I hope you find them helpful.

1. Exercise

Many people exercise to build their muscles, but regular physical activity can also help you cope with stress.  During exercise, endorphins are released and interact with your brain receptors to trigger a positive feeling in your body. (Source: WebMD;  webmd.com/depression/guide/exercise-depression ) My mom and sister are both big believers in the power of exercise.  They say it “gives them something else to focus on besides their stress”.

2. Writing

I’m someone who, as you can tell, likes to write. I always feel better after writing down what’s frustrating me.  Oftentimes, it helps me to work through and understand my feelings, as well as figure out what to do next.  Sometimes I realize that, hey, I was overreacting.  Other times writing helps me make a plan to be more organized, achieve my goals, or avoid stressors in the future. There’s a quote that I really like from Anne Frank’s “Diary of a Young Girl”: “Paper has more patience than people.” I’d say that quote pretty much sums up this point.

3. Managing Expectations

This suggestion works best when dealing with young kids or annoying siblings.  It comes to you courtesy of my dad, who says that it’s better to go into something expecting that part of it won’t go smoothly.  That way, if you’re right, well, you’re right, and if you’re wrong, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Take a family trip, for instance.  If I expect that everything will go perfectly, that my sisters won’t argue or annoy me at all, well… you can guess how often that’s happened.  But if I start out the trip with an attitude of “Hey, nobody’s perfect, and my sisters might get on my nerves some, but it’s okay,” I won’t be let down when there are a few bumps in the road.

4. Power of Laughter

They say laughter is the best medicine, and it’s true. It can really help us cope with our situation, and find the humor in it.  Recently my family sat down together and watched the family-friendly comedian Jim Gaffigan’s Netflix special “Cinco.” And it was hilarious!  It felt so good to just laugh and laugh and forget about being stressed for a while.

5. Just Talking to Someone

When all else fails, sharing your feelings with someone removed from the situation helps a lot.  If I’m frustrated, I’ll text a friend about what’s going on.  Just having someone there who says “That sounds frustrating, and I’m sorry that it’s stressing you out. I’m here for you,” is comforting.

Talking to a counselor or therapist is helpful as well, especially if you are experiencing anxiety or depression. As I’ve gone through multiple health issues, talking with a counselor has been really helpful for me. At first I was wary, but over time, I’ve grown to appreciate and look forward to it.  I think everyone can benefit from sharing their problems with a therapist, counselor or friend who will listen and offer support.

In conclusion, everyone manages stress differently.  By giving you these ideas and tips, I’m not trying to tell you how to live your life.  But I hope they remind and encourage you and your family to take some time to unwind during this trying time.

About Sarah Ray:

Hi!  I’m Sarah, and I’m 16.  I have always liked to write, and have kept a journal since the age of seven.  I also enjoy gardening, reading, and playing the piano.  I’m very excited to reprise my role as guest blogger this summer!

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Categories: Guest Blog