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Beating Stress



Authors as Published

Karen DeBord, Virginia Cooperative Extension Specialist, Family and Human Development, Virginia Tech; Crystal Tyler-Mackey, Extension Specialist, Community Viability, Virginia Tech


Introduction: Identify It

  • There are many kinds of stress: -Normal and Sudden Stressors
  • Stress results from the stressor, your reaction and your resources
  • Understand stress and then consider how you react
  • Determine what resources you have available such as friends, family, time, money, coping skills

Coping Mechanisms:

  • Stopping, breathing, thinking and developing a plan
  • Write down a plan
  • Find a healthy outlet such as music, reading or socializing
  • Forgive someone who is involved
  • Seek trained professional help

Daily Living

  • Day to day stress can be healthy
  • Pile-up can create a tipping point

Coping Mechanisms:

  • Planning a menu for the week
  • Creating a grocery list in advance
  • Using a calendar to organize events
  • Packing lunches the night before school
  • Making a to do list
  • Find helpful apps
  • Designate a time to shut down laptops or screen free time
  • Build and rely on social relationships
  • Go outside
  • Reflect on how you decompress

Family and Business Relationships

  • Bowen’s Family system theory: Triangles of people in business or family relationships
  • Difficulty relating between generations
  • Importance of understanding family history

Coping Mechanisms:

  • Some people emotionally distance themselves from the situation
  • Focus time and attention on another person or relationship
  • Attempt to understand family history of oneself and partner
  • Separate one’s personal feelings and thoughts from that of the family
  • Consider your role in the misunderstanding
  • Choose a different response for the future


  • Money is central to many misunderstandings and pressures
  • Money carries emotions with it and it is important to understand how you and those in close relationships (personal or business) value money

Coping Mechanisms:

  • Don’t spend what you don’t have
  • Create a savings account for emergencies
  • Know your balance in banking accounts and on credit cards
  • Talk about managing money in the beginning of a serious relationship
  • Make a plan to meet goals that cost money
  • Don’t keep secrets about expenditures and have ground rules about discussing money
  • Have regular financial meetings and make charts and lists to work through details of goals and money management


  • Although many people like to help others, caregiving takes a toll on the individual providing care
  • It is difficult to find time for personal wellness but caregivers are at a greater health risk than loved ones because caregivers neglect personal needs to care for others

Coping Mechanisms:

  • Caregivers need to care for themselves
  • Exercise, eat right and have regular medical check-ups
  • Reduce stress through deep breathing, laughing, talking with a friend and exercising
  • It is not necessary to have a gym membership, power walking around your home or in the neighborhood is still helpful
  • Call a friend or family member on the commute home
  • Find a quiet place at home or work to close your eyes, calm your breathing and reflect for 5 minutes
  • Set personal goals for socializing or earning an additional certification to prioritize the caregiver’s goals
  • To avoid caregiving burnout, ask friends or family for help with caregiving or access local support resource

Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Virginia Cooperative Extension is a partnership of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments. Its programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, military status, or any other basis protected by law

Publication Date

May 10, 2021