The coronavirus outbreak is dramatically changing our lives, including our relationships with our families, our friends and our workplaces.
Many of us have made sacrifices, had to find new ways of seeing others and found ourselves spending far more time than we’re used to with those who share our homes.
It can be helpful to remind ourselves to be extra patient and understanding with each other and ourselves.
You can download the article in PDF format – ADVICE Topic 8: Relationships
Many tips about how to maintain good relationships are as relevant and important now as they were before coronavirus. For instance, all five of the Mental Health Foundation’s top tips for nurturing healthy relationships are as important now:
Give time – put more time aside to connect with your friends and family
Be present – this means really paying attention to the other people in your life and trying not to be distracted by your phone or your work or other interests
Listen – really listen to what others are saying and try to understand it and to focus on their needs at that moment
Let yourself be listened to – honestly share how you are feeling, and allow yourself to be heard and supported by others
Recognise unhealthy relationships – harmful relationships can make us unhappy. Recognising this can help us to move forward and find solutions
It is important to be mindful of how we speak to others, no matter how someone looks or acts, you truly never know what’s happening in their lives.
During this strange and difficult time, it’s also worth considering additional ways to protect our relationships and try to cope a bit better with some of the relationship problems the virus creates.
Focus on communicating and listening to each other.
Create a time each day to connect – it may be to agree a time each day when everyone in our home can say how they are feeling – for instance, it could be what we have found most difficult and what we are grateful for that day.
Share and listen without judgement – sharing feelings, without fear of being criticised or told off, can help us feel calmer and closer to each other. It may help to remember that everyone is affected by the coronavirus situation and could be feeling more anxious and perhaps more irritable than usual.
At a time when we face the uncertainty about coronavirus, such changes in our relationships may be harder to cope with.
Schools and businesses have closed, incomes have dropped, jobs have been lost, alcohol and drug abuse has increased and domestic abuse victims are being forced to isolate with their abusive family members with no escape, break, external contact or support.
- Freephone 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0808 2000 247
- The Men’s Advice Line, for male domestic abuse survivors – 0808 801 0327
- Email Women’s Aid – for help and support email@example.com
For most parents, to say the COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful would be a dramatic understatement. The combination of financial pressure, loss of child care and health concerns are exceedingly challenging for families.
Here are some organisations that can offer advice and support to parents and/or children:
Family Lives offers a confidential and free helpline service for families in England and Wales (previously known as Parentline).
- Call on 0808 800 2222 for emotional support, information, advice and guidance on any aspect of parenting and family life.
- Email at firstname.lastname@example.org (Monday to Friday). https://www.familylives.org.uk/
Childline is available to help anyone under 19 in the UK with any issue they’re going through.
- Call 0800 1111 or
- via the Website https://www.childline.org.uk/get-support/contacting-childline/
Young Minds offer advice, emotional support and signposting for young people up to the age of 25.
- Parents helpline is free on 0808 802 5544 from 0930 to 4pm, Monday to Friday. If you are concerned about a young person
- Young persons can text YM to 85258 for free 24/7 support.
- More information https://youngminds.org.uk/
As hard as it may feel at times, maintaining friendships is important for our overall health and wellbeing. The current situation is making us seek out new ways to stay connected, keep our spirits up and help one another through these unprecedented times.
Some ideas to help us to keep in contact with those we care about and our mental health:
- Starting your day chatting to a friend or loved one can put you in a positive mood.
- Arrange Virtual meetups – video calling, whether that’s with Zoom, WhatsApp, FaceTime or similar methods.
- Virtual pop quizzes, to live-streamed yoga classes and online after-work drinks, dinner date
- Play games such as video games, board games and charades online with your friends virtually
- Start a film at the same time and have a shared WhatsApp group for everyone to comment in
- Sharing the small and simple pleasures of life by sending each other links to music, photos, jokes or videos. These can all help keep that sense of togetherness that we all need right now.
Relate can offer support, if you are experiencing problems in any of your relationships or are struggling to communicate, joint counselling or mediation can be a great idea. Relate offers relationship support to everyone whether it is romantic, family or friendship.
For more information https://www.relate.org.uk/about-us/contact-us
Construction Industry Helpline – Those working in the industry, as well as their families, can contact the Construction Industry Helpline and will be able to call the 24/7 confidential Construction Industry Helpline on 0345 605 1956 to access:
- Support and advice for sufferers of stress and addiction-related illnesses
- Advice on matters ranging from divorce to employment
- Help to manage and reschedule debt
- Find more information on https://constructionindustryhelpline.co.uk
More information on Mental Health, Domestic Abuse, Isolation and other topics compiled by the ADVICE group – https://safety.networkrail.co.uk/healthandwellbeing/a-d-v-i-c-e/