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ADVICE Topic 8: Relationships

A.D.V.I.C.E Topic 8 – Relationships

In this article, we look at Relationships and how the coronavirus outbreak dramatically changed our lives and relationships with our families, friends, and workplaces. Many of us have made sacrifices, had to find new ways of seeing others, and spent 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 maintaining good relationships are as relevant and important now as before the 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, work, or other interests.
  • Listen. Listen to what others say, try to understand it, and focus on their needs.
  • Let yourself be listened to. Honestly share how you are feeling, and allow yourself to be heard and supported by others.
  • Recognize unhealthy relationships. Harmful relationships can make us unhappy. Recognizing this can help us 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 never know what’s happening in their lives.

During this strange and difficult time, additional ways to protect our relationships and cope better with some of the relationship problems the virus creates are also worth considering.

Romantic Relationships

  • Focus on communicating and listening to each other.
  • Create a time each day to connect. It may be to agree on 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 judgment. Sharing feelings without fear of being criticized 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 and could feel more anxious and perhaps more irritable than usual.

Family Relationships

At a time when we face 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 have 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 helpline@womensaid.org.uk

Parenting

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 organizations 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).

Childline is available to help anyone under 19 in the UK with any issue they’re going through.

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 4 pm, 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/

Friendships

As hard as it may feel, maintaining friendships is important for our health and well-being. The current situation makes us seek new ways to stay connected, keep our spirits up, and help one another through these unprecedented times.

Here are 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 with Zoom, WhatsApp, FaceTime, or similar methods.
  • Virtual pop quizzes, live-streamed yoga classes, online after-work drinks, dinner dates
  • Play 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 life’s small and simple pleasures by sending each other links to music, photos, jokes, or videos. These can all help keep the sense of togetherness we all need.

Other Support

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 at 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/

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