No matter how well your family gets along under normal circumstances, spending more time at home together amid a global pandemic has likely put your relationships to the test. All that extra time in close quarters can not only lead to strained relationships but also physical, mental, and emotional health challenges for everyone, and more so for seniors. With that said, there are plenty of ways that you can relieve any ongoing tension and reduce the stress in your home. Few things you can do to preserve and strengthen your relationships during this time of crisis.
None of us is above getting help when we need it. If you and/or other family members are dealing with depression, anxiety, chronic stress, or other mood-related issues, it’s essential to get help. Whether it’s scheduling an appointment with a therapist or working with a health coach, help is out there for the taking. Depending on your family circumstances, you may even need to work with a mediator. Families with divorced parents might be experiencing a more significant toll right now. Norman Spencer, Ph.D. says that regardless of the situation, taking steps toward improving your physical, mental, and/or emotional health will pay off for you and everyone around you. And the benefits will carry over well past the pandemic.
Freshen up your living space.
Oftentimes, your environment is a contributor to tension and stress. For example, if you notice people in your household criticizing one another, arguing, or complaining more than usual, take a close look at your living space. Is it dirty? Is it messy? If so, take steps to fix it. Declutter your entire home room by room, getting rid of any items that you don’t want or need. Deep clean your home from top to bottom. Make sure you are changing your air filters, put out some air-purifying houseplants, and take other steps to improve the indoor air quality of your home. Maintaining a clean living space can do wonders for relieving tension and stress.
Plan outdoor activities.
Another way that you can improve your overall health and well-being and foster the relationships in your household is to spend more time together outdoors. Over the past several decades, children and adults alike have been spending less time in nature.
However, the good news is that there are many outdoor activities that will allow you to unplug and reduce stress. Whether it’s setting up games in the backyard, hiking in the wilderness, or planning a weekend beach trip, getting out in the sun together may prove to give your family the boost of health and joy that you need.
Connect with other seniors, help in the community, reach out.
As Bob Shannon, from Seniors Meet, says: people of a certain older generation should get together and chat about the stuff their kids have no interest in.
On the other hand, it is not only self-agency but as a society, there is the level of social responsibility and action that can take place vis-à-vis the consequences of this pandemic around seniors. Support for older people, their families, and their caregivers is an essential part of the countries’ comprehensive response to the pandemic. The World Health Organization-Europe, states that “dissemination of accurate information is critical to ensuring that older people have clear messages and resources on how to stay physically and mentally healthy during the pandemic and what to do if they should fall ill”.
Give each other grace.
Finally, remember that this continues to be a stressful time for pretty much everyone. For a year and a half plus, everyday routines were upended for countless households across the country (and the entire world). And spending more together with other people is a breeding ground for tension and stress. But just because you and your family are having problems doesn’t mean that they can’t be fixed with a little work and determination. A piece of advice from ZenBusiness’s article on stress management for business owners translates well here — Everyone in your household should make a list of their stress triggers. That way they know exactly what can send them spiraling and take steps to avoid or walk away from situations where they know they could lose their cool.
And as we move forward and (hopefully!) fully emerge from the pandemic, make a point to show grace, patience, and understanding to one another, even when you don’t feel like it. And each of you will benefit both in the short term and long term.
Don’t let the COVID-19 pandemic continue to negatively impact your closest relationships. Remember to consider seeking professional help, clean up your home, get outside, and cut each other some slack, reach out to your community centers, start new zoom-classes when possible and talk to your friends about it, reach out, and with focused efforts, our relationships will begin to become stronger than ever.