Opinion: Love the ones you’re with | SteamboatToday.com

Opinion: Love the ones you’re with

Amy Gallagher
For Steamboat Pilot & Today

Even during the best of times, relationships can be complicated. Sometimes, the road of communication seems to be under construction. In uncertain times the road can get rocky, and cultivating positive relationships is vital.

We are all in uncharted waters, and many of us are suddenly faced with working from home. Children are now learning and studying from home, too, and there may be added household stress due to financial worries or sudden job loss.

Stress can compound when individuals are overexposed to negative and overwhelming information. Staying informed is important, but constant information overload will not help the situation, so try and limit your information gathering to specific times of the day and make sure the information you get is from reputable sources. 

During this unusual home confinement, these tips may help you to strengthen your relationships and keep them healthy.

First, check in with those at home. Ask each other how you are doing. Discuss your feelings, both positive and negative, about the current situation. It is likely that feelings will fluctuate. At times, anger and frustration may surface. Worry and anxiety may be common. Sadness or guilt may be felt. At times, you may even feel positive emotions like contentment or gratitude.

Offer each other assistance if you are able. It is important to remember that not everyone may be feeling what you are feeling at that moment. Practice kindness when trying to understand how someone else may be feeling or reacting.

It is also important to ask for what you need. If you are feeling overwhelmed or frustrated, take a break. This goes both ways. When someone else asks for a break, honor that request. Work together in order to create opportunities for time away from each other. As available, spend some time outdoors and focus on enjoying fresh air, nature and sunshine. If you need some type of assistance from a family member, specifically ask for what you need.

Schedule some time daily to practice gratitude at home, perhaps when sharing a meal or preparing for bed. Practicing gratitude is easily implemented and does not cost anything. As a family group, express what you are grateful for during this time. Tell why you are grateful for each member of the family. 

Be mindful about moderation. While it may be tempting to overuse alcohol or other substances while social distancing, limiting this behavior is recommended. Brainstorm positive coping skills with those at home. Examples include exercising, meditation or yoga, card or board games, journaling or even Netflix and isolation.

When there is uncertainty, keeping your daily routines can have positive effects. Continue to wake up and go to bed at the times that you typically would. Get ready for work, even if you are working from home. If you are unable to go to the gym find another way to exercise like fitness videos or jogging. 

Finally, if you are not feeling safe at home, use your resources. Colorado Crisis Services can assist with mental health crises: 1-844-493-TALK (8255) or Text TALK to 3825. Otherwise, call 911.

Additional information may also be obtained from Mind Springs Health at mindspringshealth.org .

Amy Gallagher is a licensed psychologist with Mind Springs Health. 

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