By: Melissa Barton, MA, LPC-S We are living in an anxiety-provoking time. There are a lot of unknowns. How long will I be working from home? When will the kids get to return to school safely? How am I going to help my kids with online school, and get my work done? When will things […]
By: Melissa Barton, MA, LPC-S
We are living in an anxiety-provoking time. There are a lot of unknowns. How long will I be working from home? When will the kids get to return to school safely? How am I going to help my kids with online school, and get my work done? When will things go back to normal? There are so many questions with few answers. Family members of all ages are feeling the burden of the pandemic. Although children may not understand the situation fully, they are experiencing the negative effects. To keep up morale and stress levels down, families may need to get inventive.
Here are some ideas for families to reduce stress and anxiety
Get Outside and Get Moving.
OK. It’s Texas and it’s hot. It’s still important to get some fresh air and exercise regularly. Depending on the age of your kiddos, early mornings or just before sundown might be good times to be outside and still beat the heat (at least a little). For families with older kids, visiting a state park and taking a family bike ride on the trails is a fun option. For families with young children, going on a “nature scavenger hunt” can be interesting and educational at the same time. I have a 4-year-old son, and he thoroughly enjoyed this bug scavenger hunt that I found on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/295126581831343750/. However you choose to make it work, being outside and being together can get everyone’s minds off the stress.
This could be interpreted in many ways. Families could plan a meal, cook together, and enjoy each other’s company at the dinner table. Others may find comfort in baking cookies or sweet treats. Depending on your family’s interests and your kids’ ages, getting creative might look like painting, sewing, crocheting, coloring, crafting, or building Lego creations. Another idea would be to engage the kids in Do-It-Yourself projects around the house. This could look like creating an herb garden, rearranging a bedroom, or getting handy with things that need fixing.
What do I mean by this? I mean, talk to each other! One of the best ways to beat stress and combat anxiety is to talk about how you feel and get supported. Understanding how your kids are feeling and relating to them by sharing your own thoughts and feelings can help normalize things. The situation is not normal by any means, but feeling worried and fearful about the future in difficult times is definitely a common response.
No, not grounded in the sense of punishment. Grounded, meaning refocused away from stressful thoughts and negative feelings. Grounding exercises in the mental health field are “techniques that help an individual bring focus back to the present moment” (https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/grounding-techniques/).
These techniques can be used in many situations, and can involve one’s senses or thoughts. One useful tool to try with kids is the “5-Senses Grounding Technique.” When children are feeling anxious, a parent or trusted person, can assist by asking them to identify 5 things that they can see, 4 things they can touch, 3 things they can hear, 2 things they can smell, and 1 thing they can taste. This exercise can help take the focus away from the negative. Other grounding techniques can include counting down from 100 together, or practicing deep breathing. There are many phone apps available that can assist families with grounding as well.
Get out the old photo albums, watch old movies, or even just scroll through your phone. Share stories about when you grew up, or tell the kids about funny things they did as toddlers. Enjoy a good laugh!
Seeking professional help from a family counselor can be beneficial. Therapists trained in working with families can guide all members to work together, communicate appropriately, and be supportive through tough times. Contact one of our counselors today.
Begin Family Therapy in Katy, TX
If you and your family are ready to reduce the stress in your life, the therapists at The Center at Cinco Ranch can help! We provide treatment for anxiety as well as cater to specific needs for adults, teens, and children. To begin counseling in Katy, TX follow these three steps:
- Contact our office to set up an appointment or to get more information about family counseling
- Meet with one of our compassionate therapists
- Find ways to create a more peaceful life with counseling!
Other Therapy Services We Offer
Here at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch we offer counseling services for people of all ages including: depression treatment, women’s issues, couples and marriage counseling, eating disorder treatment, counseling for kids, counseling for young adults, teen counseling, men’s issues, trauma counseling, and group counseling. Our therapists strive to regularly post blogs with helpful information on a variety of mental health topics. To learn more about our therapists and our counseling services, please reach out to the Counseling Center today!