How to Connect to Family Instead of Stress
There is no doubt that this is a scary time. Everyone is feeling overwhelmed, thrust out of their routine – their normal. Schools are closed, so kids are home. Work is closed or remote, so parents are home. The whole family system is completely in disarray during this frightening coronavirus pandemic. How do you keep the family connected when this coronavirus situation has everyone stressed, distracted, confused, and scared?
Take a breath. There is plenty of time to take the space to figure this out. No one is going anywhere for the time being, so you will have a lot of opportunity to trial and error your way into a system that works for your family. There’s a balance of schedule and freedom to be had. Schoolwork still needs to be done, but if the kids have the ability to take more breaks and need them, that’s not going to hurt anything. Worry less about keeping everything the same as before and more about making the most of what is, because things are absolutely not the same as before. They won’t be for a long time, if they ever truly are. So it’s time to get creative.
Technology. It will be the savior and the biggest stressor in a lot of homes. Technology will keep us connected to friends – which will be incredibly important to young people – and academic needs, but it will also keep us disconnected from those we are physically near and focused on the constant stream of information and updates. While this is obviously important, dedicating a few hours a day to each other with electronics turned off is also a good idea.
In our Spring Break series of blogs, we were talking about memories. We can still make memories now. Hopefully later this year our kids can look back and reflect on that time we were all quarantined inside and say, “Oh my. Remember that fort we made in the living room to do our homework in?” or, “How about when we let the littlest sibling help with dinner and they put sprinkles in the mac and cheese?” These small moments will make huge impacts on how our kids remember this wildly different, unprecedented time.
But, we can also take a moment to validate our fears. This situation will likely produce anxiety in the calmest of our family members, and depression often spikes in isolation. There is so much uncertainty, loneliness, and fear right now. Parenting and behavioral issues are more difficult right now. You might feel angry, resentful, and frustrated. And that is okay to admit, and it’s okay to seek help. You may not be able to get into a therapist’s office, and you may not have the quietest space at home, but our friend technology is back in the position to be of service. Telehealth options are available. You can get online mental health services for yourself or another member of your family through video and phone calls. In that way Relate Family Therapy can help you and your family in this time. COVID-19 may have us all physically separated, but we are still able to support your mental health needs from a distance with online therapy.
Give us a call and otherwise know we are thinking about you, hoping for your safety, and wishing you all the peace and hope you can find in this time.
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