Apart from physical symptoms, the recent pandemic also has repercussions for people’s mental health. According to the Black Dog Institute, an Australia-based Mental Health Research firm, many people have been impacted by anxiety, panic and fear about COVID-19. That it followed the bushfire disasters last summer just adds to the stress.
The paper stated that over 25 per cent to 33 per cent of people in the country experience high levels of anxiety and worry during similar health crises. And this can happen to any person of any age. There’s a lot to worry about, including employment, finances, not being able to go out and possibly catching the virus when you do interact with people outside your household.
The stress of the pandemic, along with pre-existing family issues can cause intense conflict between members.
Even if you love your family members genuinely, living in close quarters with each other 24/7 can still be stressful. A New York Times article found that schoolchildren often find themselves more irritated than usual about their family members’ undesirable habits and behaviours during this pandemic. These include chewing loudly, loud sneezes and more. Conversely, when you’re living alone away from your loved ones, not being able to visit them when you want to may just extend the distance you already feel.
It’s normal to feel stressed or even frustrated about people you love. However, you shouldn’t let these emotions create long-lasting conflict. Here’s how you can handle family squabbles during a pandemic.
Prevent Problems Before They Get Worse
You should anticipate that there will be conflicts, during these highly-stressful times. Expect common feelings of fear, uncertainty, anxiety and helplessness and that your family members may feel the same, too. These feelings can manifest in physical signs, too. Anxious people may feel shortness of breath, headaches, irritability and an even an upset stomach. There’s also verbal queues like saying that they feel hopeless or that they can’t cope with the situation.
You won’t be able to handle family problems properly when you and your family members are hung up on these emotions. Acknowledge these feelings with them and request to resolve your issues in a calm and proper manner.
Don’t be afraid to get professional help
While some family issues can be solved by mindfulness and simply communicating with each other properly, others may escalate into overwhelming conflicts. If this is the case, don’t be afraid to seek help from a family therapist. They use proven techniques to help you and your loved ones reconnect and become happy in each other’s presence.
And if you go to court, you may need an experienced lawyer who practises family law by your side to help fight for your rights and get the compensation you need.
Process and Ease Your Stress Together
When you feel stress, you may feel like you need an outlet, causing you to lash out on your partner for snoring too loud. Make your outlet of stress and anxiety healthy for yourself and your family.
Here are some things you could try out:
- Do meaningful and relaxing activities — The different issues that come with the pandemic often cause people to forget to relax. Counteract your stress and anxiety by doing activities your family enjoys like movie nights and board games. You could also try new projects, like cooking a new recipe together. These can remind you that despite your differences, you enjoy each others’ company as a family.
- Step up your mindfulness game — One of the best ways to deal with stress individually or as a family is mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness involves being completely aware of your own emotions, thoughts, body and environment without pretence or judgement. Mindfulness allows you to focus on and appreciate the good things you have. This way, you don’t just react to negative emotions, you manage them in a healthy and positive way. Taking charge of your feelings can help reduce the stress and anxiety you and your family members may feel during these trying times.
There are many mindfulness exercises that you and your family can do together. Healthdirect’s one-minute exercise is a great starting point. This involves focusing all your attention on your breathing and how air passes in and out of your body. If any thought comes up, let them go and pour all your focus into breathing again.
Health crises, like the current COVID-19 pandemic, can create so much stress and anxiety for you and your family. If you’re not careful, these problems can create intense conflict between you and your loved ones. Use these suggestions to deal with rifts within your family in a proper and healthy way.