Surviving the Summer Series: Family Reunions

Summer is a time for “baseball and apple pie”, for relaxing and being outdoors. Children are out of school and families take vacations. It’s also a time for family reunions. Although these reunions are exciting, they can also lead to increased stress for individuals and families. For some, family reunions are a time to reconnect with relatives and meet new additions to the family. For others, being with extended family is difficult. Whether it’s trying to maintain a happy facade when your marriage is struggling or enduring Uncle Bob’s lengthy stories, these gatherings can be highly emotional. If there has been discord or abuse in the family, reunions might reignite uncomfortable memories. These gatherings can also be difficult due to missing family members who are deceased. It’s important to be aware of your own state of mind and emotional well-being prior to entering this possibly stressful situation.

The Mayo Clinic recommends the following strategies:

1) Plan ahead how you will handle unpleasant situations – role-playing can help

2) Have realistic expectations – family members may not have changed

3) Limit time there – have a pre-planned exit strategy

4) Self-care – get plenty of rest and use exercise for stress relief

5) Avoid sensitive subjects – such as politics

6) Take a break while there – go sight-seeing or play a game

7) Spend time with family members with whom you are comfortable

8 ) Memorialize deceased family members – bring their favorite food or music, share memories, have pictures/slides, donate to charity in their memory Counseling can be helpful in preparing for and recovering from a stressful event.

Let us help you thrive, rather than just survive this summer. Call our office at 918-745-0095 for more information.

Krista Caveny, M.A

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