How to Keep Your Family’s Mental Health From Being Negatively Affected During COVID-19

 

COVID-19 has taken a toll on all of us, whether we’ve contracted the virus or not. The sudden shock of cultural and societal changes combined with the looming threat of the virus itself has changed our very way of life almost overnight. It’s understandable that adjusting to these changes so suddenly could create strife and negatively affect your family’s mental health.  

In this short guide, we’ll go over some tips to help your family navigate this crisis without facing the throes of depression, anxiety, and more. Family is sometimes all we have left when the world is crumbling around us, so it’s time to strengthen those bonds and ride out the storm together.  

Strengthen Family Bonds 

There’s never been a better time to strengthen family bonds. In fact, the stress of disasters and events like pandemics tend to bring people together. It’s easy to fall into the belief that COVID has brought out the worst in people, especially with news outlets focusing on things like grocery store temper tantrums and looting, but the truth is, we’ve seen the brighter side of humanity through this crisis as well. 

Spend more time with your family (if you already live together), talk more, eat together more. Get to know the people in your family; their fears, their favorite things, their hopes and dreams. Now is a great time to foster trust and new bonds that could potentially last a lifetime!  

Watch For Warning Signs  

Luckily,  deteriorating mental health often has warning signs that you can look out for. It can be difficult to focus on someone else’s mental health when you’re worried about your own, so be sure you’ve taken care of yourself first. Remember, you can’t help anyone if you don’t put on your own oxygen mask!  

Some warning signs or common symptoms of conditions like depression and anxiety are: 

  • Sudden appetite changes 
  • Mood swings 
  • Withdrawl from social activity or conversation 
  • Self-isolation 
  • Sleep schedule changes 
  • Constant self-loathing or dread 
  • Concentration issues 
  • Energy loss 
  • Lack of motivation 

If you notice any of these warning signs in a family member, don’t brush them off as symptoms of the current crisis. Check-in on your loved ones. Make sure they’re handling things ok, and if they’re not, get them help. There are online chat rooms that offer support and even online counselors available to help with newfound mental health conditions.  

Be Honest, But Comforting 

The worst thing you can do for your loved ones during a crisis is to lie to make things seem less serious; especially with something like COVID-19. Lying about the seriousness of the pandemic only increases the likelihood that your family members won’t take it seriously, thus increasing their chances of accidentally contracting the virus. 

When you’re being honest, you don’t have to be brutal about it, but tell the whole truth. Provide comfort, let your family members know that you’ll get through the crisis together. The best way to navigate such things is together. Stay strong, stay hopeful, and be there for one another. There’s no better way to get through a crisis than with those you love by your side. 

Know There Is Hope 

It’s all too easy to lose hope during a pandemic. The numbers are scary, the news is sensational in the worst way, and there’s seems to be a general sense of panic in the air. There is always hope, however. Even now, our scientists are synthesizing a vaccine against COVID-19, and the people around us are starting to come together to beat this thing.  

Humanity has been stricken by plague before, and likely will be again. But even during the black death of the 14th century, which ravaged Europe and claimed the lives of millions, society still bounced back. The age that followed was one of enlightenment, art, and prosperity. We will bounce back from COVID, and we’ll become a more conscious society because of it. If COVID has shown us anything, it’s that our systems are ever so fragile and in need of work; and that might just be an important realization in the coming years. 

Follow Guidelines 

Most importantly of all, follow COVID-19 guidelinesThe virus is not a hoax, scam, or political conspiracy; it’s a very real and very deadly contagion and we all have a social and moral responsibility to protect ourselves and those around us from it. Neglecting our social duties and refusing to wear a mask, practice social distancing, or follow the CDC’s guidelines is what will keep the virus spreading and prevent us from returning to a sense of normalcy.  

Keep your family safe by following guidelines and ensuring they’re following guidelines as well. These guidelines were put in place for a reason, but they’re only effective if everyone follows them!  

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