As we continue exploring supporting the family during this challenging pandemic, the focus of this article will be on strategies for developing supportive relationships with spouses and partners. It is important to recognize that even if your relationship is not at its best, you can make a determination to act in ways that support healthy interaction. Do note as well that this is not a good time to address major difficulties.
These can be addressed in therapy at a more opportune time.
- Agreeing to avoid sensitive topics of conversation that historically lead to violence and emotional hurt in the household.
- Ensure that there is consistent application of the rules in the family. Boundaries between individuals are to be honoured. If these rules and boundaries are not there, they should be discussed and created.
- Consistently treat family members with respect and build a level of flexibility that caters to the individual needs of each family member.
- Ensure that all family members feel safe and secure by avoiding emotional, verbal, physical, or sexual abuse.
- Focus on self-care. Practice meditation, exercise and be patient with yourself and others.
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting (CDC 2019).
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling (CDC 2019).
- Become self-aware. Pay attention to your actions. Consider addressing one negative pattern that has the potential to put you and other family members at risk of harm.
- Have contact information for the protective and social support agencies in your area.
Remember, having a safe family environment allows persons in the family unit to support each other, and feel supported, especially through this difficult period. If we practice self awareness or mindfulness, we will use our thoughts, words and actions to build each other up. Let us take this unprecedented opportunity as families to re-establish healthy families. Let us be kind in our interactions with each other and in our communities. Remember to create practices of gratitude, forgiveness, compassion and acceptance of each other. Continue your rituals that bring healing to the family and the wider society.