It’s back to school time and there are a million things to get done. Picking out notebooks, the pencils, getting haircuts scheduled so our children don’t look like feral beasts. It adds to the daily stress of work and home duties that many are already juggling. In the midst of all of that change and added activity tempers run short and there we are, lashing out at those closest to us.
This is a reaction to stress that can happen to even the most even-tempered person. When all the things build up it can be even the littlest thing that will trigger a reaction. That toothpaste cap, wet towel, or misplaced item is only a symptom of what we have going on internally in that moment when yelling at the roommate, kids or partner.
So, why do we lash out so easily at those who are the closest to us? On a normal day, with normal stresses and duties we may be able to greet each other with smiles and conversations about how the day went. When those stressors build, then who do we feel the safest with? Usually it is those same people. Partners especially can forgive us even when we are at our worst and that can cultivate a culture of lashing out when frustration hits, followed by hurried apologies. The trouble comes when it becomes a repeating cycle. Apologies no longer feel honest or even worse, no longer are believed. Do we know our own triggers? Is it that discussion about who went out to lunch on the last ten dollars in the checking account? Is it when homework and activity schedules start to rule our lives with driving from place to place and no down time? Is it feeling out of control of a situation, or a need to have everything be just perfect? Knowing what it is that can trigger our frustration is the first step in rewriting our reactions. When the after-school schedules take over having a plan ahead of time for meals, and days where the schedule is free for everyone to relax can go a long way to relieving the feeling of constant running. Planning ahead by packing a lunch can help money stress and the budget. Being able to step back, take a breath, and look at situations when we feel the stress rising can help us to see what can and cannot be controlled. Finding outlets for frustrations can also be ways to help us in coping. Exercise, hobbies, even pets can be great ways to refocus stress into more pleasant outlets.
How can one look at our lives and do some pre-planning to alleviate stressors before they even begin? How can we assure that we are reaching out to partners and family with kindness?
Take a moment …
Find a way to step back and focus on all that is good with our friends and family. In the end our blood pressure and our relationships will benefit from remembering who it is we feel safest with and nurturing them rather than lashing out with frustrations.