During a pandemic, the world can seem like a scary place. You may be restricted from seeing your friends and family as much as you normally would, which can have huge effects on your mental health. It’s important to know how to stay in touch with family during a pandemic.
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Why is it important to keep in touch with family?
Family can act as a great support network, especially during times of turmoil and uncertainty, such as during a pandemic. It’s important to make a conscious effort to maintain your relationship with your family, even if you can’t see them in person.
As human beings, social connections play a huge part in looking after our wellbeing. However, if social-distancing measures are in place, we can really begin to feel the loss of human contact, which can have negative effects on our mood and overall mental health.
How can I have a better relationship with my family and friends?
Times of isolation and uncertainty often encourage us to seek out new ways to stay connected with loved ones. If you don’t adjust the ways in which you connect with your family during a pandemic, you’re at more risk of suffering from loneliness and low-mood.
To improve your relationship with your family during a pandemic, you should be open-minded enough to get involved with technology in a variety of ways.
In the absence of being able to see your friends and family in person, a video call could help to bridge the gap. Scheduling a regular catch-up can give you both something to look forward to and helps to add structure to your day.
You can make the most of video calling by using platforms such as Zooms, Whatsapp, Skype, Facetime, as well as many more. Many people find themselves completely alone during a pandemic, this is usually the case for those who live alone.
Seeing a loved one during these times, even just through a screen, can have far-reaching positive effects on the family member’s mood and wellbeing.
If you’re sick to death of daily video calls, consider spicing things up with a fun online activity. During uncertain times, it can be great to have some light relief and joke around with your loved ones.
Use technology to get creative and take part in activities such as virtual trivia quizzes, live-streamed fitness classes, or even plain old charades.
Alternatively, consider suggesting a virtual movie night with your loved ones. As you probably can’t head to the cinema right now, a Netflix Party allows you to stream a movie at the exact same time as your family.
It even has a small chat window so you can all express your opinions throughout the movie, just as you would if you had invited them over.
It’s also important to address your thoughts and feelings, no matter how negative they may seem.
While activities and distractions can make life bearable during a pandemic, it is fundamental that you’re still able to express how you feel in order to feel less alone and gain useful advice from people that you trust.
Try to check-in on family and friends whenever you get the chance, and reflect on whether they’re doing the same for you, too.
You don’t always have to discuss the pandemic, mindless chatter can often provide the basic comfort that we require as human beings.
What keeps a family together?
Family isn’t limited to your parents, children, siblings, grandparents, aunties, and uncles. You may consider some of your close friends as family, too. It’s important to remember that the definition of family is subjective to the individual, and each is just as important.
Regardless of whether your family actually related to you, researchers from the University of Nebraska have conducted a study on the characteristics of strong families. They outline the 6 most important ways to keep a family happy and together.
Commitment – As a family, your relationships with each other should be a high priority. Familial relationships are built on love, so make an effort to show your loved ones just how much you care, as often as you’re able to.
Communication – You need to be able to talk to each other about anything, big or small. Try to always keep communication positive and laughter always helps to clear any awkward tension.
Appreciation – Using both language and gestures, show your family how much you appreciate them and all they do for you. This establishes a system of gratefulness, that is more likely to be reciprocated in the future.
Quality Time – If you’re not the best at thinking up creative plans, a great place to start is mealtime. Consider asking a family member to come shopping with you, or take some time to cook a hearty meal together.
Spiritual Wellness – Familial relationships depend a lot on acceptance and tolerance. Whether you share the same beliefs as your family or not, respect their views and ask them questions about their beliefs.
Crisis and Stress – Be mindful of how other members of your family may be feeling during difficult times, especially during a pandemic. Encourage your family members to share their feelings when things get tough.
What are three ways to build and keep strong family relationships?
It won’t always be possible to do things like family reunions, so here are some ways to keep a strong family bond.
- Overcome issues with compassion and understanding
As life unfolds and parents get older and new additions keep arriving, different challenges can arise that put your family to the test. It’s important to practice forgiveness, as best as you can.
When your familial relationships seem on the rocks, remind yourself of how your time with them on this earth is finite and try to look at the bigger picture, helping you to choose compassion over conflict.
- Open the channels of family communication (and keep them open!)
At the root of every strong relationship is good communication. In almost any situation, reacting in a truthful, respectful, and caring manner can prevent conflict and subsequent pain and suffering.
Actively listen to your family members, and encourage them to do the same. This allows every member of the family to talk through their similarities and differences in an empathetic way.
- Make some time for yourself
Although spending time with family may make you happy, we all require some solitude from time to time.
Even during a pandemic, ensure that all your own needs are met and try to set aside some designated time for yourself each and every week. The more content you are with yourself, the more benefits you bring to your familial relationships.