When COVID-19 first hit, people got whacked by a spectrum of emotions.
On the one hand, workers placed on leave got an impromptu sabbatical. The circumstances weren’t ideal, but it meant having a once-in-a-career opportunity to take months off work to pursue other projects.
On the other hand, the shutdown of the economy made a lot of people feel nervous. Nobody seemed convinced that business would be coming back any time soon. And that meant job fears came to the fore.
The media was quick to pick up on both these themes. Journalists talked about how people were enjoying spending more time at home with their families, searching for a silver lining. And workers themselves seemed mostly happy with the setup, with the majority reporting that they were okay with being stuck indoors, so long as the government continued paying their wages.
But speak to any domestic violence attorney, and you’ll discover a different picture of family life. The reality isn’t as rosy as many would like to believe. And COVID-19 may, actually, have made things worse.
Families often struggle to stay together at the best of times. But the emotional turmoil brought by COVID-19 is hurting matters.
There are two main issues. A minority of families are directly affected by deaths from the disease, especially of older relatives. But the issue for most is economic uncertainty. You simply can’t shut down an economy for months and expect zero disruption. It’s not realistic.
Many workers are still on furlough and unsure whether they will have jobs to return to once various support schemes end. Millions have already seen depression-level unemployment and fear for their future.
This worry is trickling down into family relationships. Where there were money problems before the crisis, they are likely much worse now.
Being stuck at home with people all day long is also challenging, even when finances aren’t a worry. Simply managing conflict and keeping everyone happy is a massive task in itself.
Problems are often intergenerational. Parents have to spend time with teenage children home from school for long periods – something that they wouldn’t ordinarily do.
Partners are also finding that their work commitments papered over many of the problems in their relationships with their significant others. Again, this is causing consternation.
Working From Home
Working from home is another issue with which families have to contend. Most people traditionally went out to places of work before the lockdown began, providing them with a change of scene and allowing them vital breathing space. Now, though, families have to tip-toe around those working from home offices and conduct conference calls. And it’s not always going to plan.
So what are the solutions?
The general advice is, as follows:
- Take regular walks out of the house in local parks or countryside
- Indulge in a little self-care, such as long baths or incense
- Practice mindfulness where possible
- Work with online therapists to improve relationships that are breaking down
- Give everyone in your household the extra space they need