Faced with the appearance of the Covid 19 Pandemic, the whole world is experiencing a crisis like never or very few times it has experienced, not only due to its impact on physical health, but also due to the psychosocial repercussions that it entails in the face of generalized isolation measures that have been taken, which have a high impact on the economy and on people’s mental health.
Family and couple relationships, which establish an affective bond and a reciprocal interaction between two or more people, given the measure of prolonged social isolation, can lead to another crisis added to the Covid 19 Pandemic, since this concept implies a negative change , abrupt, difficult and unstable during a process, with an important modification in the development of daily life.
Given the above, it is extremely important to find and use the necessary mechanisms to face this change, since, if we mismanage our relationships, it can lead to a significant family and couple crisis, which can lead to deterioration and breakdown in relationships and even the dreaded and disastrous domestic violence.
For this reason, below, I will point out the main aspects that must be considered and the vital actions that must be taken to manage and cope with this crisis, with all its repercussions in the emotional and inter-relational field.
1. Communication, expression and reflection of feelings
Communication is the process of transmitting and exchanging messages between a sender and a receiver, which also has, among others, a code: a set of signs that will be used to create the message (words, gestures, symbols); with a message: what is the information or data set that is transmitted; with a communication channel: it is the physical medium that will be used to send the message and with noise: which are all the distortions that can influence the reception of the original message, and can be both from the sender, the channel or the receiver.
In such a way, if to the pressures and tensions of the Covid 19 Pandemic, we add social isolation, which comes to alter our daily activities and which “forces” us into an almost constant relationship with our partner and family members of coexistence, let’s to find ourselves facing very probable communication problems, with confusing interpretations and distortions in the messages, with the consequent appearance of aggressive attitudes and words out of context.
Therefore, it is important to maintain constant communication, express our feelings regarding the crisis situation, and expect others to listen, understand, and help us with those feelings.
The technique of reflecting feelings is used to try to understand the other’s point of view. It consists of communicating to the other what is being perceived of the feelings and emotions that he is feeling at the moment or that he says he felt while evoking certain situations.
To communicate with our partner and family it is necessary that we be clear, direct, timely, genuine, that we complete the message we want to give, that we be congruent between what we say and how we say it, and that we can give and receive feedback. We have to avoid: being evasive, inopportune, inconsistent, aggressive, insincere, and not giving or accepting feedback.
Here are some things that can hinder good communication:
Use of nicknames and words that generate emotional confusion
Finally, the requirements for adequate communication:
Being able to express acceptance: affective and friendly
Take into account the needs of the giver and the recipient
The message must be congruent
Plan the opportunity to speak:
Plan long enough
Disconnect the phone and do not allow other people to interrupt
Accept all the feelings that arise and the right of everyone to express those feelings
Really describe your thoughts and feelings
Start any conversation with both understanding that the goal is to improve communication
Know how to listen and make a real effort to understand the other person
2. Respect, tolerance and living space:
Always, but even more so in a crisis situation, respect is fundamental: respect for what I feel, what I say, my fears, my doubts, my concerns, my ideas and my feelings. In addition, we must be more tolerant with the other members, understanding that we are facing an unprecedented situation, unknown and for all, to a greater or lesser degree, distressing and stressful.
We must respect our physical and emotional space. It must be remembered that with isolation our usual activities have changed significantly and the human being needs his physical and emotional space. We must allow each one to have and respect their individuality and their physical and emotional space. Just as sharing is good, one’s own and individual activity is good.
3. Individual and couple substitute activities
By staying much longer at home, it is important, when work activity ceases and so allows, the search for alternative activities, both individually and as a couple and family. Individually you can resort to reading, the arts, cooking, arranging closets and rooms, gardening, exercise, etc. Some of these can also be done as a couple and add board games, television series, housework and many other tasks that we always leave as “pending”. All of the above will keep us busy and help clear the mind of the crisis issue.
Let’s exploit our imagination and creativity: let’s re-invent ourselves.
4. External communication
It is essential to stay in contact by phone, video calls or social networks. Whether you are working from home or not, it is important to take time to communicate with family and friends, not only to know your health status, but also to deal with various topics, preferably unrelated to the crisis situation and receive and give advice and ideas to better manage social distancing.
5. Sport and exercise
To the extent that time and work activity allows, it is very important for physical and emotional health to carry out a physical routine and if it is possible to walk or jog and cycle with all the necessary care to prevent accidents, which would be inopportune and nefarious in this age.
6. Personal care
We live alone, as a couple and / or as a family, it is necessary to maintain our personal care and grooming. It is important for our self-esteem and to feel good. Ignoring the above can lead to depressive states.
7. Exhibition of articles related to the virus
Likewise, to avoid anxiety and depression, we must not keep in sight or disorderly those items typical of the crisis, such as masks and gloves. Have them at hand, but not in sight, since they are stimuli that constantly remind us of the critical situation we are going through. Avoid the topic when it is unnecessary.
8. News information
Although it is important to keep abreast of the evolution of the crisis and the guidelines of official and authorized entities, we must limit the time we listen to and watch the news so as not to saturate ourselves and avoid reading a large number of social networks as much as possible. unauthorized news, unscientific and many of them false, which only generate anxiety, depression and above all confusion. The same is to avoid reading fatalistic, apocalyptic and unfounded opinions that provide us no good. Also avoid reading comments with a political tinge, which, instead of offering concrete solutions, are limited to insult and destructive criticism. And of course be very careful with the “Canarian ointment” and the miracle cures that non-scientific sources offer us. They can have serious consequences for our health, unless it is about hygiene advice and home “remedies” from our ancestors that do not carry any danger.
9. Meditation and spirituality
Meditation, yoga, relaxation are sources of well-being and stress reduction, with the consequent benefit for our immune system. Likewise individually or collectively, find a space every day to thank and ask according to our particular beliefs, for our health and for overcoming this crisis. Strengthen our spirituality and our values. Positive thoughts attract positive events; Negative thoughts attract negative events.
10. Search for balance
As in everything, it is necessary to find a balance. Keep us home when possible. Return from work directly home, when you are working outside. Discriminate between the sensible and the absurd. Do not believe in immediate recoveries, or in fatalistic and negative situations. Walk when our place of residence allows it, maintain constant hand washing and excellent personal hygiene and above all follow the instructions of the competent bodies. Only united as a country, will victory be achieved more quickly.
11. Reflections to live better
Accept the things you can’t change
Accept others as they are
Accept yourself with your limitations and your strengths
Take responsibility for your feelings and your behavior (do not attribute your discomfort to another)
Trust your own abilities.
Face difficulties by doing something (look for solutions).
Leave behind what once affected you strongly.
See in your work an opportunity to enjoy and develop your qualities
Control your emotions (exercise self-control).
There is no doubt that crises offer us a great opportunity for learning. Let’s take advantage of it. The crisis makes us see how fragile we are and also how banal we can be. It is our opportunity to start over and give value to what is really important: our family, our friends, our work, solidarity and our nature, which has been the great beneficiary. Let’s take the opportunity to be better human beings and value the simple things in life and to realize that the material does not buy health, or love, or inner peace. That we can spare material things and we can lack spiritual things. Let us thank our God for this magnificent opportunity.