During the COVID-19 pandemic, families were either forced to stick together or forced to be apart. This all depended on each family’s setup; families who all lived together at home ended up spending more time together than ever, whilst families who were spread out around the country, or around the world, were unfortunately separated for a long time. Globalized lockdowns meant that travel was, and in some places still is, heavily restricted. This meant that family get-togethers, birthdays and anniversaries were transferred online. This has taken its toll on our ability to take care of ourselves and those we love.
So, how can we keep our family units strong during this time? Many families have struggled either from cabin fever or separation sadness at this time. What can we do to stay together, emotionally, physically or both?
- Being Understanding
Taking care of yourself and others in a rough time requires patience. A whole lot of it. When we don’t have the time to connect in person with those we love, it’s hard to gauge how someone is really feeling – even if you speak to them all the time. Perceptiveness is important. Your brother or sister may look totally fine on social media, and say they’re fine when you call. But using your intuition, you may have the feeling that they’re finding things hard, too. Ask. Let them know you’re there.
Similarly, people may be more prone to lashing out or taking out their frustrations on you. While you have to set your boundaries for the people in your life, don’t assume that this is personal, and try not to get upset by it. Many people deal with stubbornness, such as dealing with parents who refuse help or frustrated kids who miss their friends at school. Instead of responding with anger, open up to them. Ask them why they’re being like this. It is likely to do with the fact they, just like you, are feeling the weight of the world on their shoulders.
- Making Time
Even though quarantine is a drag, we are all still busy. We may not always feel we have time to connect with the people we love, even if we live under the same roof! Ensure that you take the time to put personal projects aside and check in with your people. They will appreciate it – a small gesture, a text, a call or a hug can go a long, long way.
If you find yourself looking after everyone in your life but yourself – join the club. This often happens when things become stressful and you feel the need to care for those around you. That need is great, it shows you care, and it should be honored. But don’t forget to take some time to be completely alone, just with yourself and your thoughts. Switching off your phone and closing the door, even for ten minutes, can do you and your family the world of good.