With summer now a distant memory, temperatures continuing to dip as days get even shorter, and back-to-school and work schedules well underway, is your family starting to show the signs of stress?
Stress can impact everyone in the family both psychologically and physiologically, from young children with tummy troubles over a challenge at school to adults with tension headaches juggling the multiple facets of home and career.
Managing and preventing stress and anxiety involves everyone in the family too. Connection, communication and family support are key to identifying, minimizing and relieving stress before it becomes a bigger concern.
Look, listen and get curious
Everyone gets busy but we can always make time for the things that really matter. This begins with family connection. Breakfast, dinner time, evenings and weekends are prime time to check in with family members, observe, listen and get curious. Ask open-ended questions that encourage open and honest dialogue about anything they’re struggling with and invite the whole family to get creative about possible ways to help minimize stressors. For more serious concerns related to school, reach out to your child’s teacher, and if needed, consult with your health care professional.
Get a good night’s sleep
It’s not just the kids that need a consistent bedtime and adequate sleep – did you know even teenagers still need up to 10 hours of sleep per night to maintain optimal concentration at school? While adults tend to slough off the importance of getting some extra shut-eye in favour of checking one more item off the to-do list, even an extra 15-30 minutes of sleep per night can be enough to ward off the effects of stress and keep you clear-headed for the day ahead. Couples can also benefit from some quality time together after the kids are tucked in bed.
If possible, aim for that consistent sleep routine all seven days of the week, as late weekends make it hard to transition back to your regular schedule come Monday morning.
When you map out schedules and activities in advance, it’s easier to figure out how to best manage your time and anticipate potential challenges before they occur, resulting in less stress for the entire family. Set up a visual schedule and put it in a common area of the house — a great tool for both adults and kids to help with tracking and monitoring. Work together with your child to design a homework agreement that manages their time and stress level, builds their confidence, and invites them to come to you if they run into difficulty.
Build in time for play
We’ve all seen the stats — children are spending less time playing and more time in front of the screen. Play and downtime are no less important to adults. While having a plan for the week is a great idea to manage stress, don’t forget to build in time to play for every member of the family, both separately and together. Turn off your devices and take turns choosing a weekly or bi-weekly family activity. From board games to bowling, there are many options for screen-free fun.
Crisp and colourful, fall is one of the best times of the year to get outside and enjoy some fun time as a family. Our local area offers a wide array of parks and trails, whether you’re into frisbees and picnics, walking, hiking, or even canoeing. Being in nature has multiple health and stress-busting benefits and as an added bonus you’ll be reconnecting and strengthening your relationship as a family, which further reduces stress. Visit conservationhalton.ca to learn more about all the Halton Region has to offer.
by Jerry Balice
Article provided by NEX Wellness. You can find them at NEXWellness.com