Family life has changed for all of us. The need to stay at home and limit contact with others is important right now, but it can be lonely and isolating. Having schools closed or only partially open leaves us juggling work and caring for children, perhaps loss of income, the stresses of caregiving may be increased. This can take its toll on both our mental and physical health, and staying connected to our loved ones.
We need to be intentional about staying connected in order to “keep the ship floating”.
- Staying connected to yourself – check in with yourself regularly and focus what is going on in your mind and body. Are you feeling stressed to the max and you need some time on your own doing something calming and refreshing? Are you feeling anxious about you or your family’s health and finances? Are you “overconnected” digitally and need a break from your device, social media, unhelpful news feeds?
When you’re stuck at home, and feeling overwhelmed by children, online school, life in general – it is easy to wear out a path to the fridge, bed, couch TV, repeat…. You’ll feel better if you try to stay in a normal routine. Get up and go to bed at your usual times. Eat healthy foods and be active. Take the break, chat to a friend about emotions that are getting too big and overwhelming… look after you.
- Staying connected to your family by being present, not just there! Don’t allow yourself to become consumed with ticking the work or online school boxes. Be aware of where your spouse and children are at emotionally and be intentional about closing the computer, putting down the phone, switching off the TV and chat. Talk about how they are feeling and why and provide any comfort, understanding, support or help that’s necessary. Be mindful that this is a temporary state, and we will get through it. How well we figure things out together will help determine the well-being of our marriage and children now and in the future, as well as their memories of this time.
Put in the time and effort to create and maintain good family relationships. Prioritise family meals, family games, family “sports” events in the garden, family teatime breaks, family story time, dates with each child, dates with your spouse – be creative.
- Staying connected to extended family and friends
- video call granny and grandpa, cousins, and special friends
- let granny help with online schoolwork, read stories or babysit via a video call or other connecting app
- virtual playdates, coffee dates
- Host a virtual family gathering or happy hour (lots of helpful apps out there)
- Host a virtual movie night (Netflix has this option)
- Host a virtual games night or book club
- Staying connected to your community: find ways to help! Giving out when you don’t feel particularly generous can really help to keep you in the right mindset and keep the focus outward instead of inward.
- Deliver groceries to neighbours who aren’t able to get to the shops
- Volunteer to deliver food and clothing parcels to people in need
- Check into donating blood—it’s an urgent need in many areas.
- Give online to food banks and other aid organizations.
- Buy online gift cards from local businesses. This can help them survive until they can open again.