3 Tips For Dealing With Stressful Family Members

Woman dealing with stressful family members while sitting at a table.

Well, here we are, at the tail end of October, which means it’s Halloween. Now for me, that has always been the big kickoff to the holiday season, leading to the bigger ones of Thanksgiving and Christmas. And that means family events with brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles, grandma’s and grandpa’s, and of course, the in-laws. Now that’s a lot of different personalities in one spot and the right ingredients for a heaping dose of family tension. So whether you are contending with a  Cousin Eddie, a nosy aunt, or a Marie Barone type of mother-in-law, there are ways of dealing with stressful family members.

You can choose your friends, but you can’t pick your family. 

And to that, we all say a hearty “Amen”! Okay, fess up. Did you just think of a family member you wish you could chop off from the family tree? Well, if you didn’t, take notice, because you just might be that someone in your family. You never know. 

All kidding aside, every family wrestles with dealing with stressful family members. But, all is not lost. I’m going to share three tips that can help you handle the family drama appropriately and allow you to enjoy your family time. And, I’m sure you will find the tips helpful, so let’s get to it!

3 Tips For Dealing With Stressful Family Members

1. Accept that you can’t change or control their behavior, but you can manage your own.

Unfortunately, some family members excel at being annoying and, in all honesty, are a royal pain to be around sometimes. If you have relatives like that (and who doesn’t?) And you know you will be spending time in their presence, save yourself some stress by accepting that nothing you say or do is going to change the way they are or behave. 

People are who they are. Difficult family members are well-known for their lack of ability to self-reflect and admit when they’re wrong. So don’t take it personally. 

Instead, accept that how they are acting has nothing to do with you but rather with themselves.

The best way to handle it is not to focus on their troublesome behavior. But instead, to focus on what you can control, which is how you act and react to their shenanigans.

2. Develop a strong sense of self

Being able to control your behavior and how you react is tied to having a solid sense of self. For when you lack a strong sense of self, it’s easy to fall in line with your family’s expectations for you. And if that means ignoring your own needs or desires, it’s a good possibility that you will experience anxiety and discomfort when you spend time with them.

The last thing you want to do is to drift through life feeling uncertain or indecisive about choices in life. Or being swayed by meddling family members and circumstances rather than your own momentum. 

That’s why it’s so crucial to cultivate a strong sense of self. For when you really know who you are and how you feel, you will less likely be able to be manipulated by your family’s emotions.  And it also enables you to manage your anxiety better when you are around them.

3. Manage your own expectations

Suppose you have a buttinsky for an uncle who always takes over conversations or always has to tell you how he thinks things should be done. Or a pushy aunt who, every time she sees you, feels the need to ask you why aren’t you married or have any kids yet.  Truly, having any expectation that they will be different at the next family event is a disappointment or a resentment waiting to happen. 

Alternatively, you might find it helpful to prepare yourself mentally for your interaction with your good ole uncle and aunty. For indeed, their past behavior is a good indication of what to expect. So use that history and think about how you might respond to them when that happens. For example, respond with “I’ll have to think about that” or “Thank you for your concern,” and then change the topic to something more comfortable for you.

Instead of making self-made traps of unrealistic expectations, being prepared ahead of time can help you handle any problematic interactions with less stress.

“You don’t get to choose your family, but you do get to choose how they’re allowed to treat you.” — Unknown

For sure, we all have those individuals in our family that we love yet know we can only take them in small doses—even in the best of families. Using these three tips to navigate your family dynamics will not only help you around them but with other difficult people as well. After all, you will encounter difficult people everywhere not just in your family.

Another great way to learn how to cope with stressful family members is to work with a coach .  A coach can help you discover other tools to put in your arsenal, helping you be ready for any future interactions you might have within your family relationships.

Hi, I’m Kris Henderson, LPC. I want you to know that I am here to help. If you would like more personalized support, I invite you to contact me or schedule your phone call. I look forward to helping you manage your stress by helping you find new ways in dealing with those difficult family members. I hope to hear from you soon! 

This article originally appeared at My Anxiety Link

8 Strategies For Discreetly Coping With Stress At Work

Frustrated woman sitting at desk trying to cope with stress at work.

I’ve never met anyone who hasn’t encountered stress in the workplace. And I don’t mean the good kind of motivating stress that encourages you to get the job done either. No, I’m talking about the kind that makes you feel as if you are on the brink of being totally overwhelmed. All too often, when that occurs, you’re usually surrounded by co-workers making it a challenge to handle it without bringing unwanted attention to yourself. But it can be done. And I’m going to show you how by sharing eight strategies you can use to discreetly cope with stress at work. 

8 strategies to discreetly cope with stress at work

Everyone needs a go-to trick to manage stress to allow your brain to stay flexible so you can think more positively. Therefore, I encourage you to try these strategies out and see which ones help you the most.

1. Count to 10, then count backward

When the pressure builds, take a normal breath, count to 10, and then back to 1 again. It’s a little hard to count and think about what comes after 7, so it works by interrupting the stress response in the moment, giving you a chance to calm down.

2. Get up and move around

Taking a short break removes you from the situation and gives you a chance to stop yourself from inflating stressful thoughts. Moving around and doing mundane acts won’t make anyone the wiser that you are trying to relieve stress. Here are some tasks you can try:

  • Go for a walk. 
  • Grab a cup of coffee or soothing drink
  • Get up and make some copies
  • Straighten up your workspace

3. Practice gratitude

Gratitude is something we should practice daily, anxiety or not.  However, when stressed, it’s a great way to shift your focus from the stressors at work onto things that are going right that you can be grateful for. You might find it hard at first to find things you are really thankful for, but if you look, you’ll find something, and slowly, you will see a shift in your attitude.

4. Set a stress boundary 

If something or someone starts to stress you out, excuse yourself from the situation. Take a moment and figure out if the stress is related to your situation. Or if it coming from someone else. Being aware of the source will help you to target how to handle it.

5. Look at relaxing colors to bring a sense of calm

You might not be aware of it, but your mind and body both have reactions to seeing colors. In fact, artists and interior designers are well aware of this fact. They know that color can dramatically affect feelings, emotions, and moods. So, discover what color brings calm to your mind and incorporate it into your workspace. 

6. Run cold water over your wrist

Your wrists have major arteries, and studies show that running cold water over them can cool you off and help you “chill out” simultaneously. So the next time you are stressed, head to the restroom and flip on the faucet. 

7. Do a breathing exercise

“Take a deep breath” is the advice you often hear when someone sees you stressed. But you might be surprised to know it’s on the exhale that actually relaxes our bodies. So it’s essential to learn the correct way to breathe to bring about the sense of calm and relaxation you need. 

Many breathing techniques are helpful, but box breathing is simple to do, and you can do it anywhere. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Inhale to the count of four slowly.

Step 2: Hold your breath for four counts.

Step 3: Exhale through your mouth to the count of four.

Step 4: Repeat steps 1 to 3 until you feel yourself calming down.

8. Do a progressive muscle relaxation exercise

Stress and tight muscles go hand in hand. It can be so normal for you that you don’t even realize how tight your muscles really are. Progressive muscle relaxation exercises are an excellent way to let go of that tension.

Here’s an easy method you can try at your desk:

Tense your toes for five seconds, then relax them for ten seconds. Next, progressively move up each muscle group. (calves, thighs, stomach, chest, arms, hands, etc.) and do the same until you reach your neck and head.


All in all, stress is normal, and yes, it can even be good. However, when  that stress becomes excessive, how you decide to handle it can make all the difference between success and failure. Therefore, when you feel the pressure building, I encourage you to try these eight simple strategies. Knowing there are ways to discreetly cope with stress at work should reassure you that you can gain control and lower your stress level no matter where you are.

And as always, if you want to learn additional ways to manage job stress so you can be more successful in the workplace, working with a coach is a great way to go. I’d love to hear from you.

Hi, I’m Kris Henderson, LPC. I want you to know that I am here to help. There are numerous coping skills that are helpful but not always one best way to proceed. If you would like more personalized support, I invite you to contact me or schedule your phone callTogether we can discover which strategy is likely to work best for you to get you feeling more confident, competent, and in control at work.

20 Best Inspirational Anxiety Relief Quotes

Blue coffee mug with the inspirational anxiety relief quote, "You can and you will." written on it.

As humans, when we suffer from something unpleasant or painful, we naturally look for something to bring relief. And if we don’t have what we need in our medicine cabinet, a quick trip to the local pharmacy or grocery store is sure to offer plenty of products promoting fast relief from anything. Be it a headache, heartburn, itchy skin, or whatever. And yes, you will even find products claiming to help anxiety, such as calming teas, weighted blankets, stress-reducing essential oils, etc. And I do believe those productshave their place in assisting individuals in dealing with stress. However, today, I offer you something you can always have on hand.  And that is twenty anxiety relief quotes that you can turn to for inspiration when you most need it. 

20 Best Inspirational Anxiety Relief Quotes

Anxiety relief quotes to relax your mind

1. “Not everything that weighs you down is yours to carry.” —  Anonymous

2. “Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.” — Charles Spurgeon 

3. “Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.” — Wayne W. Dyer

4. “Anxiety’s like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you very far.” — Jodi Picoult

5. “Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

Anxiety relief quotes to help quiet fears

6. “Keep walking through the storm. Your rainbow is waiting on the other side.” — Heather Stillufsen

7. “You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” —  Eleanor Roosevelt

8. “Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.” — Arthur Somers Roche

9. “I promise you nothing is as chaotic as it seems. Nothing is worth diminishing your health. Nothing is worth poisoning yourself into stress, anxiety, and fear.” — Steve Maraboli

10 “Trust yourself. You’ve survived a lot, and you’ll survive whatever is coming.” — Robert Tew

Anxiety relief quotes to help you overcome

11. “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

12. “Present fears are less than horrible imaginings.” — William Shakespeare

13. “P.S. You’re not going to die. Here’s the white-hot truth: if you go bankrupt, you’ll still be okay. If you lose the gig, the lover, the house, you’ll still be okay. If you sing off-key, get beat by the competition, have your heart shattered, get fired…it’s not going to kill you. Ask anyone who’s been through it.” — Danielle LaPorte

14. “Don’t believe every worried thought you have. Worried thoughts are notoriously inaccurate.”  — Renee Jain

15. “Slow breathing is like an anchor in the midst of an emotional storm: The anchor won’t make the storm go away, but it will hold you steady until it passes.” — Russ Harris

Anxiety relief quotes that lift your spirit 

16. “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” — Jon Kabat-Zinn

17. “Somewhere there is a past you, overflowing with so much pride looking at how far you’ve come.” —  Unknown

18. “Anxiety is one little tree in your forest. Step back and look at the whole forest.” —  Unknown

19. “Anxiety isn’t weakness. Living with anxiety, turning up and doing things with anxiety, takes a strength most will never know.” —  Unknown

20. “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was ending, he turned into a butterfly.”— Anonymous proverb

If you’re living with anxiety, you know the negative places your mind can take you. For indeed, anxiety excels at taking you on fear-fill journeys to all the bad things that could happen to you “if” something you fear happens. One of the problems with that is that it causes you to stress about something that hasn’t  even happened yet and possibly never will. 

The trick is to adjust the way you think, for doing so can help you lessen your anxiety. One of the ways you can do this is by redirecting your focus from your worries to skills that can help manage your anxiety today and in the future.

Managing anxiety takes work, but it’s possible. And there are many avenues to try. But you have to keep trying until you find the combination of treatments and strategies that work for you. 

You can and you will. You’ll get there!

To get you started on changing your focus, grab a pen and paper and write some of these inspirational quotes down. And then place them in prominent places at home or work so when you start to have those pesky anxious thoughts, you can turn to them to remind yourself you can deal with your anxiety and fears.

Another great way of tackling your anxiety is by working with a coach. An anxiety coach can assist you every step of the way as you train your brain to stay calm and look at life from a more balanced and less anxious perspective.

Hi, I’m Kris Henderson, LPC. I want you to know that I am here to help. If you want more personalized support, I invite you to contact me or schedule your phone call . I look forward to cheering you on as you become more successful and confident in managing your stress and anxiety.

This article originally appeared on My Anxiety Link

3 Ways Successful Parenting Isn’t What You Think It Is

A young family on the road to successful parenting with the dad training his young son how to ride a bike and the mom walking behind them.

There’s a good chance that most people can agree on what successful parenting looks like, give or take a few ideas. However, it’s also likely that if you surveyed parents, you would get a wide range of opinions on how to achieve that status. Now, I won’t tell you how to raise your children. But what I can share with you is three ways successful parenting isn’t what you think it is. And here they are:

Successful parenting isn’t about:

1. Who is in control

You technically have eighteen years to teach, grow and support your child. And that includes setting standards and expectations for your child and holding them accountable. 

And yet, it’s quite common to hear parents lamenting, “I can’t control my kid.“ Meaning, they are frustrated with their child’s behaviors or inability of making their child acquiesce to their demands. 

The expectation of always being in control leads parents to struggle and worry when what they see in front of them seems to indicate the very opposite.

Now here’s the truth; as a parent, while you do have a profound influence on your child, your actual job is to set expectations of how you would like them to behave but that it’s up to them to be in control of their actions.

2. Making your child fit all your expectations

I think most of us parents have certain expectations in mind about who our children will become.  And as the child grows, we check the milestone charts to make sure they are on track. Or we compare our child’s progress with other parents or with other kids in our children’s classes. Why? Because we have expectations of how we think our kids should be.

But what happens when our child appears to be “different?” Are we okay with that, or do we worry? Or worse yet, try to force our child to be something he isn’t just to fit in with our expectations.

Of course, it’s okay to make sure your child is on track with the normal progression of growth and maturity. However, it becomes a problem when it morphs into the parent being embarrassed, angry, or unaccepting if the child doesn’t fit into the mold the parents expect the child to fit into.

Most parents want better for their children than they had. And that’s okay. Unfortunately, though, for some children, that means being coerced into fulfilling the unmet dreams of the parents.

We as parents should be an encourager and guide for our child to become their own unique individuals.

Every child is going to be different and has their own dreams. They should be free to follow their calling—not those of their parents.

As a loving parent, if you can accept their uniqueness and work with it, you and your child will feel much better.

3. Raising perfect children

You can raise thoughtful, respectful, and loving children. But in truth, even if you have been the most successful parent out there, you will never be able to raise a perfect child. No one has. Besides, what would you classify as being a perfect child? A child who never talks back and does everything they are told to do? Or gets straight A’s and excels in everything they do? How long could this list go on?

Believing that being a successful parent means raising perfect children is a falsehood and harmful. There’s a difference between doing something perfect versus doing something with excellence. Children that think they have to be perfect set unrealistically high standards for themselves. And when they don’t achieve their goals, they berate themselves unmercifully.

Look, there’s nothing wrong with wanting your child to succeed in school, in sports, and everywhere in between. However, when you get caught up in expecting perfection, it’s going to backfire, sadly. You have to find the fine line between wanting and helping them  succeed and pushing them too hard.

Children perfectionists grow up to be adult perfectionists who will never be satisfied with their efforts no matter how well they perform. One might think of being a perfectionist to be positive. However, researchers are finding evidence of it leading to harmful health  issues—both physically and mentally.

“It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings.” —  Ann Landers.

At the end of the day, whichever road you choose to take to become a member of the successful parenting club, I hope you will be able to say that you have done your best in raising your children to become the best version of themselves they could be.

The road to successful parenting is sure to contain some bumps and pitfalls. However, there are also many joys along the way. Sometimes though, we just need a little encouragement to keep going, don’t we? And that’s what working with a coach  can provide.

I’m Kris Henderson, LPC. I want you to know that I am here to help. If you want more personalized support, I invite you to contact me or schedule your phone callTogether, we can work on strategies to manage the stresses that family life can bring as you journey on to reach the goal of being a successful parent.

This article originally appeared on My Anxiety Link

How To Be Less Stressed At Work

Anxious woman on phone wondering how to be less stressed at work

Regardless of what type of work you do, more than likely, you’ve experienced stress on the job. In fact, according to The American Institute of Stress, 83% of American workers suffer from work-related stress. Of course, stress levels vary according to age groups and genders. But the bottom line of this survey shows  there’s a whole lot of work-related stress going on out there. And so, unless you happen to be in the 17% who reported no stress, keep on reading to find out how to be less stressed at work. 

Coping with stress: How to be less stressed at work

Even though you can’t control everything in the workplace, it doesn’t mean that things are hopeless and you have to stay stuck in a difficult situation. But just the contrary, when the stress starts to interfere with your work performance, health, or personal life, it’s time to do something about it. Fortunately, learning effectively to cope with job stress can benefit you both professionally and personally. So, let’s get started.

1. Figure out your stress triggers

To know how to tackle your stress, you first have to figure out what and where it is coming from. Here are some common work-related stressors:

  • Work pressure
  • Poor organization
  • Conflicts with Colleagues/Manager’s
  • Lack of information or support
  • Endless emails
  • New technologies
  • Personal problems
  • Constant interruptions
  • Poor communication

Once you get a handle on the causes of your stress, you’ll be in a better position to assess each situation and look for solutions.

2. Implement time management skills

Set realistic goals

Setting goals is great, but more so is keeping a balanced schedule.  Attaining your set goals isn’t going to amount to much if you burn out in the meantime. So, yes, go ahead and set some goals, just remember to find the balance between work and family responsibilities while leaving time for social and personal pursuits as well.

Create a daily plan and write it down 

This might seem simple, yet it can be so helpful and effective. For example, when you have a busy schedule, and your mind is full of everything you have to do, sometimes by writing down the things you have to do, you can free up your overwhelmed brain. It also helps you look at what needs to be done so you can organize your day.

Assign an order of importance to each task

You can also ask yourself if each task is getting you closer to or further away from reaching your goals. That can help you ascertain if it is a priority or not.

Set a deadline  

That is, set a realistic and attainable deadline for your task to be completed. If you don’t, it typically will get pushed aside for one that does. 

3. Protect your time

Overcommitting yourself is a sure-fire way of becoming overwhelmed. So don’t take on more than you can handle. If you find you have too much on your plate, re-evaluate your tasks and identify the “shoulds” from the “musts,” and then drop the tasks that aren’t truly necessary to the bottom of the list.

4. Establish healthy boundaries 

Being available 24/7 is not only unhealthy but can put you on the fast track to burnout. So, it’s important to set healthy boundaries between your work and home life. Yes, it can be challenging to ignore those texts and emails just begging for your attention. But, you have to be determined and set a designated time aside where you won’t think about work, touch your phone or computer for work-related things. Your family, friends, and doctor will thank you!

5. Break bad habits

Consider and change any bad habits you have that could be contributing to the stress you feel at work, such as:

  • Being a perfectionist 
  • Looking at things from a negative perspective
  • Focusing on things you can’t control
  • Poor sleep habits
  • Not getting a proper nutrition
  • Having a cluttered or messy work environment
  • Working through breaks and lunch hours

Breaking bad habits such as these can help you to be less stressed at work significantly.

6. Know when to reach out

Stress and overwhelm can manifest in ways that are often overlooked or blamed on other things. These are some signs and symptoms of excessive stress:

  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Feeling depressed
  • Anxiousness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Stomach problems
  • Fatigue
  • Problems sleeping

When you realize you are dealing with stress, sometimes the best way to tackle it is by sharing your feelings with someone close to you. That someone can be family, friends, co-workers, or even your supervisor. They don’t necessarily have to fix your problem, but just be a good listener and maybe help you see things from a different perspective.

“A job is a job. It’s a way to pay for a living, but that’s it. Don’t let it define your happiness. You work to live, not live to work. Work on what makes you happy.” — Unknown

While dealing with stress in the workplace can be a real problem, it’s definitely solvable. Often, all it takes is to take a few simple and practical steps to regain control and be less stressed at work. 

Working with a coach is a great way to learn additional ways to develop more coping skills to manage job stress which can help you be more successful in the workplace. I’d love to hear from you.

Hi, I’m Kris Henderson, LPC. I want you to know that I am here to help. If you would like more personalized support, I invite you to contact me or schedule your phone call . Together we can work to  bring your stress level back into a healthy range so you can feel confident, competent, and in charge at work.