Every family seems to have one. That go-to person everyone turns to when they need something, want something, have something that needs to be fixed or done RIGHT NOW. Some of us who are go-to people embrace the responsibility and find ways to juggle everything and keep all those plates spinning in the air. But every now and then, something comes along that adds more, unhealthy stress and that needs to be addressed to ensure that it doesn’t overwhelm.
Some families have added dynamics that can affect relationships and inflict added stress. For example, family members might be geographically dispersed, which can make caring for an elderly or sick family member even more difficult, putting added strain on the individuals closest to the affected relative. This can create resentment of, and sometimes anger toward, the other family members.
Journaling can help you understand that every person is unique and not every person has the same values as you do. If circumstances put you in a situation that requires you to accept added responsibility, you can use journaling to explore that responsibility, what it means to you and the person receiving your care and attention, and ways you can come to better terms with it. By coming to the realization that being the go-to person is the right thing to do, you can reduce – or even eliminate -- the stress of it and discover ways to lighten the burden.
Stay-at-home moms can feel overwhelmed because they have to deal with all of everyone else’s issues and activities. If that’s you, it’s easy to feel that you don’t have any time for yourself to just relax. Through journaling you can explore these feelings and learn ways to manager your own expectations while developing strategies to raise awareness among family members to help them recognize the value of your contributions to the home.
Today’s economic reality often requires both parents in a family to work out of the home to provide the necessary level of income. That also means that often one spouse has the added burden of managing the lion’s share of household chores and duties with less time and flexibility than a stay-at-home parent. If you’re a double-duty spouse, therapeutic journaling is an excellent coping mechanism enabling you to mentally step back and examine all your responsibilities in and out of the household. Writing provides the opportunity to explore ways to calmly and reasonably raise awareness with your spouse and discuss alternatives to address the uneven burden.
If you’re the family go-to person and you find your stress levels ratcheting up on a regular basis, combine therapeutic journaling with some calming techniques to bring your stress down. It will allow you to take a longer, deeper look at your situation and options to address and improve it.
Need a little help to calm down? Try one or more of these techniques:
Conjure up calming imagery. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and think of peaceful scenes and situations that bring a smile to your lips, such as lying in a meadow full of flowers, cuddling a puppy, or relaxing on the beach, to name a few.
Take a nap. Naps are highly underrated. For many people, even just fifteen minutes of closing your eyes and relaxing can be enormously restorative.
Listen to music. Put something on that encourages you to dance or sing your way through daily tasks. If appropriate, put in your earbuds and let some peaceful, calming music wash away the cacophony that surrounds you.
Get rid of clutter. You’ve probably heard the old saying, “a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind.” That holds true for households as well. Whether you realize it or not, a cluttered home can cause anxiety and frustration, which can raise stress levels. Getting rid of clutter can also enable you to operate more efficiently as a go-to person.
Slow down. Don’t worry, you’ve got time. Really. Slow down so you can do things right the first time. You’ll be less frantic. You’ll also be surprised at how much MORE time you’ll have to do other things because you aren’t wasting time rushing around.
Sometimes being the go-to person is unavoidable because of family constraints and dynamics. By journaling, you can gain greater insight into the source of your stress and come to terms with it while developing an approach to gain support from other family members to make life’s journey more enjoyable for all of you. If you want to learn how to manage the stress of being the family go-to person, and we know who we are, please download the free eBook titled The Journaling Guide to Manage The Stress and Strains of Life.