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Family in the time of Corona
Family in the time of Corona
We are witnessing a unique situation in our lives. The outbreak of a new virus has forced us all into living a new way of life. In stressful and crisis situations, resilience, that is, a person's ability to adapt to new conditions in spite of adverse life circumstances is mentioned as a psychological concept. Of course, this does not mean that they will not experience difficulties or negative emotions. What happens to a family that spends time at home? People in general, and even families, have different ways and capacities for adapting to new situations. The common thing for all of them is that in this new situation, most of the time, and most often all the time, families spend together, without the usual routines of going to school and / or work. Family dynamics are changing in terms of being more aware of one another, without the earlier mechanisms of relieving tensions that may arise from relationships.

Here are some recommendations on how to deal with the new situation more easily

Please be aware that only by showing patience and tolerance can we overcome this unique situation in which we have found ourselves. Agree together on how you are going to function, taking into account both own and other person’s needs, while being aware that this also may require some time. It is important that parents, i.e. partners are aware that each person has its own way of responding to stress, and that everyone is entitled to react differently (fear, anxiety, panic, denial). Show empathy, that is understanding to others, and while expressing your feelings, take care of others. Parents – you are the role models to your children. Children will look up to you, so it is important how you behave and react. Children’s way of handling emotions largely depends on how adults manage their emotions. Children listen to you even when you talk to other adults and they can become confused if you don’t adequately explain the information that is new to them. Encourage free communication about Coronavirus, talk to children in the way that is adequate to their age and try to answer their questions. At the same time, fill them with optimism and hope, educating them beforehand about ways in which they can protect themselves and others.

Routine - It is important to spend days in a structured manner. Make a plan and schedule of activities, make balance between obligations and leisure, and make time ‘for yourself’. Routine ensures the structure and feeling of security to all family members. Try to do things that you have planned during a day, and you will feel success and satisfaction. Undertake joint activities, start doing something new and try finding inspiration!

If possible, create special areas in apartment: for studying, for playing, or e.g. for spending time either together or on your own. We can feel as drowning if there are no physical boundaries; it is certainly more difficult for those people who have to spend a lot of time in confined spaces.

Physical activity – apart from being important for physical health, it is also important for good mood. This can be an amusing family activity.

Isolation can be especially difficult for people living alone. Advice on routine and physical activity is applicable here too, but the most important thing is perhaps – stay connected with others, keep regular contacts and take care of others. Join solidarity actions, let philanthropy be the priority! If you must be quarantined, remember that it is for the common good. The fact that you do good to others can make sense and inspire in people the ideas of the ‘common good’. Do the things that make you feel good, use humour, rely on credible sources of information, and be patient!

And finally, if you feel the need to do so, consult the experts. Every day more and more colleagues are beginning to offer organized, free-of-charge help to families or individuals facing crisis.
Ivana Vukmirica Baćanović