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Maintaining Mental Wellness During Family Crises

Updated: May 30

Family crises are inevitable and can significantly impact our mental wellness. Whether it's a sudden illness, financial troubles, or relationship issues, these events can throw our lives into turmoil. Recently, I’ve had to navigate such a crisis firsthand. In this post, I'll share how I manage to balance my responsibilities while supporting my son during a particularly challenging time. We’ll explore the emotional and psychological effects of family crises, practical strategies for coping with stress, the importance of self-care, and how to seek support. Let's dive in.


Illustration of a family dealing with stress and emotional turmoil.

The Impact of Family Crises on Mental Health


When a family crisis strikes, it's natural to feel overwhelmed. Common emotional responses include anxiety, sadness, anger, and frustration. Psychologically, we may experience difficulty concentrating, sleep disturbances, and a general sense of helplessness.


Recently, my son experienced a severe bipolar manic episode. As a mother, entrepreneur, and coach, my primary focus was on supporting him through this difficult time. The constant worry, sleepless nights, and emotional strain took a toll on my mental health. I had to break my 75 Hard challenge and felt myself spiraling emotionally.


According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress from family crises can lead to significant health problems, including depression and anxiety disorders. Understanding the seriousness of these impacts is the first step in managing our mental wellness during tough times.


Person sitting with their head in their hands, depicting emotional distress during a family crisis.

Practical Strategies for Coping with Stress during Family Crisis


Immediate Stress Relief Techniques


Breathing exercises: Deep breathing can help calm your nervous system. Try the 4-7-8 technique: inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds.


Mindfulness practices: Staying present can reduce anxiety. Practice mindfulness by focusing on your breath or using guided meditation apps like Headspace or Calm.


Quick physical activities: Physical activity releases endorphins, which can improve your mood. Even a short walk or stretching session can make a big difference.


Person walking in the park to relieve stress.

Long-term Strategies for Maintaining Mental Wellness During Family Crises


Establishing a routine: Consistency can provide a sense of normalcy. Establish a daily routine that includes time for work, relaxation, and self-care.


Seeking professional help: Don't hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional if you're struggling. Therapy can provide valuable tools for managing stress and emotions.


Developing a support network: Surround yourself with supportive friends and family. Lean on them during tough times and offer your support in return.


Group of friends offering support and comfort to each other during tough times.

The Importance of Self-Care during Family Crisis


Self-care is crucial during crises. It helps recharge your mental and physical energy, allowing you to better handle stress.


Examples of self-care activities:

  • Hobbies: Engage in activities you enjoy, like reading, gardening, or crafting.

  • Exercise: Regular physical activity can boost your mood and reduce stress.

  • Meditation: Spend a few minutes each day practicing meditation to clear your mind.


Illustration of a self-care activity like reading.

Tips for integrating self-care into a busy schedule:

  • Schedule it: Set aside specific times in your day for self-care activities.

  • Start small: Even five minutes of self-care can make a difference.

  • Be flexible: Adjust your self-care routine as needed based on your current situation.


Systems and Procedures for Maintaining Mental Wellness During Family Crises


Keeping our systems and procedures in place is essential. Running two businesses, maintaining a blog, recording a podcast, and coaching clients all demand a high level of organization. During my son's episode, having these systems allowed me to delegate tasks and focus on my family's immediate needs.


Constantly having lists available: I rely on detailed lists to keep track of tasks and priorities. This helps in delegating effectively and ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks.


Detailed task list and planner for staying organized.

Delegating tasks: With clear procedures, my team can handle various responsibilities, ensuring the businesses run smoothly even in my absence.


Seeking Support


Reaching out for support is a sign of strength, not weakness. Talking to friends, family, or support groups can provide emotional relief and practical advice.


How to identify when professional help is needed:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness or anxiety

  • Difficulty functioning in daily life

  • Thoughts of self-harm or hopelessness


List of resources:

  • Hotlines: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255)

  • Therapy apps: BetterHelp, Talkspace

  • Community services: Local support groups and counseling centers


Person reaching out for help, symbolizing the importance of seeking support during tough times.

Family crises can be incredibly challenging, but by understanding their impact, employing stress-relief strategies, prioritizing self-care, and seeking support, we can maintain our mental wellness during these tough times.


Remember, you are not alone. Many others have faced similar challenges and found ways to navigate through them. Stay strong, and take it one step at a time.


I'd love to hear your experiences and tips for maintaining mental wellness during family crises. Please share in the comments below.


Subscribe to the "Structuring Chaotic Minds" podcast for more insights and strategies on maintaining mental wellness and structuring your life amidst chaos.

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