how to deal with stress at home

These Are Our Top Picks For Calm and Connection at Home

We are going through a difficult time right now. Okay, that’s an understatement. You are worried about a lot of things right now – your family, your job, your health. You really miss being with others you care about, work with, play with, and grow through life with. With COVID-19 everything is disrupted. We’ve thought about how to deal with stress at home, and want to share some excellent resources we found with you.

As therapists, we’re used to the in-person contact that makes our work with clients so meaningful and interactive. All of us are missing seeing our clients in person right now.

Yes, we want to help keep people safe and avoid illness. Yet so much is out of our control. We can relate to feeling cooped up, maybe even sad and frustrated. Feeling these things is 100% okay. 

We have positive emotions too – like a strong desire to reach out.  We’re thinking of all the families, friends, neighbors and others around us.

We want to help in whatever way we can. So we came up with something a little different from our usual posts to share. We are sharing how to deal with stress at home from our own experience. We recently put our heads together (not literally – we connected through email, Internet and the phone) and gathered some resources for you.

They fall in to a few groups:

1.Resources for Couples

We hand-picked these resources for their great ideas for being together well. These can be especially helpful for couples who had to pause couples therapy during this time

2. Three Activities for Connection

Our therapists shared these ideas for connection. Try these activities when you are ready. Or just think about them to try on a perspective that may be comforting.

3. Entertainment

Just for fun, here’s what we’re viewing, listening to and reading in our lighter moments to cope with COVID-19.

And finally, we are still here for you.  We continue to work with our clients securely by phone or online. We are accepting new clients, and we can help you connect with us safely and easily.

So here’s our list of resources we’re sharing as we cope at home:

1.Resources for Couples

Rebuilding Love — Conversations with Dr. Sue Johnson  (video)

See How Sue Johnson Advises a Real-Life Couple

We like this interview with Dr. Sue Johnson, creator of Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples. Drew Marshall, actor and host of the Drew Marshall radio show, talks candidly with Sue about rebuilding his own connection with his wife Bev.  

Our favorite (24 minutes)

The whole series:

Articles for Couples and Families:

5 Science-backed Ways to Improve Your Relationship

Surprise is a key ingredient to falling back in love. So, even if we can’t have date nights out, you can still do something different and exciting. We love the positive tips to skip trying to fix the unfixable, and double down on what makes you happy.

How to Create Emotional Safety in Your Relationships.

When we understand how emotional safety matters in relationships, we can do more of what we need to manage ourselves. This article sums up how to calm ourselves when we’re triggered – especially when safety and connection is our goal.

New Evidence Shows the Calming Power of Reminiscing About Happy Times

Our old ways of calming our nerves or blowing off steam may be off limits right now. But there’s something else we can do to de-stress from an upsetting experience. This article is a great summary of how thinking back over good times can feel better sooner, right after a stressful experience.

2. Three Activities for Connection

From our therapists —

1. Reminisce about a time you felt happy.

Recall a fun moment or experience. It can be one you had as a child, or one you remember with your partner. Remembering something that made you glad can stimulates positive feelings about each other and a feeling of emotional safety.

2. Be gentle with yourself and each other.

Slow down to recognize what you feel. Make it okay for yourself to think about and recognize what’s bothering you deep down (primary emotions). 

Couples who can talk about their primary emotions tend to connect better and feel calmer. We want this for you.

3. Try to see and acknowledge primary and secondary emotions, in yourself and each other.

This situation naturally draws out two types of emotions. We fear getting sick, losing a job, or seeing someone we love suffer, for example. These are primary emotions.

We also have secondary emotions. We may get mad at loved ones for making a mess, being noisy, or having needs that we can’t meet at the moment, for example. The primary fears can end up triggering secondary ones more often. We may show more annoyance, frustration and anger than normal.

We need to talk about our primary emotions, so we can manage all our emotions better. But it may be hard to recognize and talk about our primary emotions.

Try to be more patient with yourself and each other. Your gentleness can help you find the space to access and express the deeper fears (primary emotions) so you can deal with them together.

Family members who talk from their secondary emotions tend to feel more alone and unheard.  When we can talk about our primary emotion conversations with someone, we can feel more calm and connected.

3. Entertainment

Here’s what we’re viewing, listening to and playing in our lighter moments as we manage how to deal with stress at home:

  1. The Adventure Zone, a podcast mixing comedy, adventure, and actual play based on the game Dungeouns and Dragons
  2. Ologies, a lighthearted science podcast that encourages us to “ask smart people stupid questions.” Alie Ward, writer, actress and CBS correspondent talks with experts in topics from anthropology to zoology and everything in between.
  3. Audiobooks from Farifax County Public Library.  Some of us enjoy books with  a supernatural or fantasy theme, (like as The Night Circus or Among Others). Audiobooks from your local public library are a free and wonderful resource for everyone! You can sign in with your library card number.
  4. This YouTube video from late show with James Corden, introducing a video clip of Ben Platt & Cast of Dear Evan Hansen performing You will be found
  5. These series on demand
    1. Schitt$ Creek (comedy, Netflix)
    2. The Office (comedy, Netflix)
    3. Modern Family (comedy, ABC)
    4. Blackish (drama, Amazon Prime)
  6. The Radio: Classical music on public radio station WETA (90.9FM and online).  

Bonus Resource: Anything from Brené Brown.

In a category by herself is Brené Brown: researcher, podcaster, author, speaker and expert on vulnerability, courage and connection. We like just about anything from her.

How are you doing?

How are you coping with COVID-19 stress? Feel free to share how you deal with stress at home on our Facebook page – click here.

While we are apart, we are working with clients and new clients by phone. Call us to learn if that can work for you: 703-768-6240.

We look forward to seeing you again soon when it is safer for everyone.

Meanwhile we are wishing you peace and wellness.