by Tamara A. Hull, LGMFT

November 3, 2021

Fall is traditionally a season filled with transitions and new beginnings. While there is excitement about growth, as well as opportunities to return to something that more closely resembles the “normal we used to know,” there is still much stress associated with the fall transition. Students are returning to school in person, as others make their way back to the office. People are returning to these public environments despite the ever-changing COVID-19 health epidemic. So, it is of utmost importance, now more than ever, to maintain a healthy balance in our activities and the expectations we have of ourselves and our loved ones. The states of our mental, emotional and physical health all impact our ability to manage stress and enjoy our lives. If stress is beginning to affect you and/or your family in a negative way, consider trying these tips that are designed to help get you and your family back on track:

  • Adjust Your Attitude – Recognize the added stresses you, your partner and your children may be experiencing and try to give yourself and others “a little grace,” (i.e. a little unmerited forgiveness; the benefit of the doubt; kindness and favor; easing of expectations). Shifting your thinking and easing the height of the expectations you hold for yourself and others you care about during periods of transition can provide everyone with a little more room to be “perfect in their imperfections” and reduce stress.
  • Stay Connected to Your Loved Ones – Taking time to talk about your concerns, joys and fears, as well as listening to the feelings of others can help. Even if you are unable to solve a problem expressed by a loved one, just listening to them can help relieve stress because they know that you heard them and that you care. If appropriate, you might try making a simple, specific request for, or offer of support, (i.e., “Would you help me fold the laundry while we watch a movie together? “ or “You look a little tense. Would you like me to entertain the kids while you take a 20-minute walk after dinner?”)
  • Stay In Tune with Physical Needs – When you prioritize getting enough rest and exercise and complete a short mindfulness meditation over finishing one more thing on your to-do list, you can greatly reduce the harmful effects of stress.
  • Seek Professional Assistance – If you feel the stresses are compounding and “getting out of hand,” know that it is okay to ask for help, and to seek professional assistance.

By allowing ourselves to prioritize care of our mental, emotional and physical needs as this pandemic continues, we are giving ourselves and our loved ones the best chance of riding the waves of stress successfully, while vigorously enjoying life during this unprecedented fall season of transitions and new beginnings.