Spending time with your family can bring great joy and strengthen your connections, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, families have been confined together for months, which can put a strain on relationships. In addition, parents and children are using technology like social media, video games, the internet, and other digital diversions to entertain and distract themselves, which isn’t always healthy. Seeking therapy can help you understand how these circumstances can impact your mental health and allow you to learn coping tools that can improve the quality of life for everyone in your household.
Some parents and children are now using their homes as spaces for work and school, which are major interruptions to how a household may have operated in the past. The stress of dealing with these changes can lead to more conflict and escalation of arguments. It’s important to check in with each other often to see what’s working and what isn’t and talk about possible solutions for the issues you may be experiencing.
During these tough times, it’s more important than ever for home to be a safe place for everyone. The way you and your partner treat each other has a huge impact on your kids’ mental health and well-being. If you or other members of your household are struggling, individual counseling or family therapy can help you learn how to cope with stress and conflict in positive ways.
Although technology is a useful tool that allows you to work, go to school and communicate with others remotely, too much of it can be detrimental to your overall well-being. With all that’s going on in the world today, consuming too much media can cause anxiety, depression, and skew your worldview to the negative. Social media has also become a place that can be hostile. When you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through social media or playing a game for hours, it’s probably best to shut off your device and leave it alone for a few hours.
Children often use video games to tune out and blow off steam, which is fine in limited amounts. However, limiting your child’s screen time (and your own) every day can help improve their mental health and allow them to better concentrate on things like schoolwork. For as much as technology may connect you with others, spending too much time wrapped up in it can actually create division and make you feel isolated. Getting outside for even an hour a day can allow all of you to release pent-up energy and find solace in the healing of nature. Other activities such as creating art, reading, crafting, and other hobbies can also improve mood and give everyone a break from technology.
If you find yourself getting annoyed or irritated with your spouse or children, it’s okay to take some time for yourself by taking a walk or a drive or shutting yourself away with a good book for a while. When conflict arises, take a few deep breaths before reacting, and remember that emotions may be running high for everyone. Setting expectations about chores, work and school, and sticking to a routine, can also help make things easier. Being kind to yourself and others can help you all learn how to share the spaces in your home. If you need to vent, call a trusted friend or consider seeking therapy. Don’t forget to have fun with game nights, creative projects or outdoor activities.