Covid-19 and Family Relationships
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the whole of humanity is at risk and we are stuck at home. Since the end of Covid-19 is unknown, many people suffer from obscurity, anxiety, and severe stress. In order to survive the pandemic, people try to take precautions such as putting on a mask, obeying the lockdowns, observing social distancing, and practicing hygienic measures. However, people had active and dynamic lives before the outbreak and they were involved in various roles and activities. After Covid-19 they had to change their lives and become more passive. They now have to stay at home and restrict their outdoor activities. All these sudden changes have caused many people to become anxious and stressful. Children and the elderly in particular experiences physical and psychological problems such as sleeping problems, over-eating, inaction, family conflicts, and the weakening of the digestion and immune systems. These problems put people at risk of various diseases and viruses.
This article will focus on the psychological impacts of the coronavirus, especially how Covid-19 affects relationships in the family, and how to solve the problems.
Changing Roles and New Responsibilities
The emergence of a pandemic, which is traumatic and negatively affects daily routines, might lead to severe changes in people’s lives. Nowadays, people’s lives are very different than that before the spread of Covid-19. For instance, children used to play in the park and go to school to be physically active; and adults used to go to work regularly, they were busy and socially active. Also, housewives used to have daily routines and gather with their neighbors. However, with Covid-19 many people start to suffer from the sudden changes in their daily routines and become more passive, isolated, and lonely. At the same time, Covid-19 has created new responsibilities. For instance, many people start to work from home and have online meetings. Children and teenagers receive their education through the internet or television. Meanwhile the elderly can only communicate with their relatives on the phone, technological devices, and the internet.
These new responsibilities and changes caused some advantages and disadvantages; many jobs could be done easily through the internet, meetings could be done with technological devices, meaning people do not have to waste their time to commute and can work at home with comfort. However, due to the intense use of the internet and other technological devices, many people suffer from immobility, lack of suitable working area, negative effects from looking at the computer or phone for a very long time, which can cause sleeping problems. At the same time, eating problems, internet or gadget addiction, disorders such as depression and anxiety, domestic violence, and divorce serve as the psychological disadvantages of the pandemic in this process.
Finally, every segment of the society is expected to face the impacts in one way or another from the pandemic. Unfortunately, most people do not realize that these changes might affect their psychological health gravely, and they do not pay enough attention to ways to prevent potential problems, or learn how to address such problems should they emerge.
The Quest for Meaning
In the process, the pandemic has turned from creating boredom, which in time would turn – in some people – into the process of seeking the meaning of life, as well as an episode of self-introspection. Many people commuted in heavy traffic before the pandemic, which causes many families could not come together for dinner at home and spend time as a family. However, nowadays most people have to spend time together at home, and in fact, it is as if the virus is telling the public to calm down, pause, and look into their souls.
This realization is a process called interrogative. Many people understood that this virus is fatal and dangerous and it does not make exceptions for the rich or poor, young or old, women or men. Everyone can suffer from this virus. For this reason, everyone understood that at the end of the day, health is the most important thing in life. If someone is not healthy, there is no meaning in the wealth or fame that they have. This virus reminds us of what really matters in our lives. It also wants us to ponder why we live in this world.
Solutions About Individual and Domestic Problems
The Covid-19 quarantine has made people’s lives become so much more difficult and challenging. Employee-employer relationships, friendship, couple, and family relationships are put to the test and some problems naturally occur. Solving these problems before it grows big is so important for the sake of individual and community health. For this reason, some suggestions are listed below:
- Even though this process is difficult and wearing, it will pass. This must not be forgotten.
- These days are hard for everyone but the most important thing at times like this is how we manage and take control of the situation.
- Being fair, merciful, patient, empathetic, and insightful is needed more than ever. Even though we are strained and anxious, we do not have any right to give physical or psychological harm to anyone.
- Everyone can be strained, angry, stressed, and anxious but these emotions are controllable. If a person can self-analyze his/her own feelings and express it properly to other people, many problems would be easily solved.
- Show respect to people’s thoughts, private spaces, likes and dislikes, as well as feelings; and exhibit love, accept people for who they are without being judgmental about them.
- Due to the uncertainty of when this pandemic will end, people should continue their daily routines as best as they can. Designate proper time for eating, sleeping, working, studying, exercising, and having fun and stick to them as much as possible. Through self-discipline, people can stay active even when they have to stay at home.
- In terms of daily routines, it should be remembered that we have new roles and responsibilities. These new roles should be shared equally and fairly with all the family members, and each member should take certain responsibilities such as cleaning, cooking, working together, and helping each other. Otherwise, if only the mother or father take all of the new responsibilities, physical and psychological exhaustion can be seen in time.
- Spending time as a family is so important during this period. The fact that all family members are together at home all day can be seen as a chance to strengthen family relations and bonds. For instance, eating together, playing games, chatting, watching movies, and reading books together can help empower relationships within the family.
- However, spending the entire time together is not recommended. People need some private space and private time to rest. Even though spending time as a family is a good activity, people need privacy to make themselves feel good and comfortable in their own homes. Take some time to do individual activities like listening to music, being busy with a hobby, resting or chatting with friends can make people feel recharged and more relaxed.
- Social media detox can help comfort a distressed person. Consuming too much sensitive news from social media or taking wrong and exaggerated information can make people feel sad, depressed and anxious. In addition, wasting too much time on the internet can lead to technology addiction. For this reason, limit time on the internet and technological devices and opt to be busy with more physical activities instead. This way social relations and psychological health of the family would thrive even in this period.
- Use technological device wisely like to chat with friends, family members and especially the elderly to give them moral support. The device can also be used to do research about a certain hobby, academic topics and other interests.
- Stress can cause people to fight or have tension with people at home. However, adults must not forget that children watch what they do, and subsequently, they will imitate them. Therefore they should control their reactions and discuss any issue that emerges in places a bit far away from their children.
- Finally, avoid taking critical and big decisions under stress.
The outbreak is affecting the entire world in more ways that people can imagine. It came into our lives unexpectedly and became the Pandora box of so many negative impacts on humanity. In order to survive it, take control of your life and master coping methods to face the problems that come with the pandemic. Be sure that these days will pass. The pandemic shall ease with medical interventions, and its psychological impacts could be minimized with the right psycho-social support.