The COVID-19 pandemic has taken such a hold of our collective consciousness that it can be easy to neglect things. Even things that in our and our families’ everyday lives were, at one time, practical routines that we had to keep ourselves healthy and happy. But it is essential to maintain a regular daily routine that involves all family members to support both good relations, mental health, and physical well-being. To this end, there is a set of tightly-linked needs that should be fulfilled during this tumultuous time.
General Medical Care
It is easy to slip into a mental state where anything considered non-essential gets shut down for fear of exposure—only heading to the doctor when there is a health issue that is dire enough to necessitate a doctor’s visit. But this can leave us neglecting primary health-care for both individuals and our families stuck at home.
Especially in the case of regular check-ups with our physicians or even the minimal biannual visits to the dentist, even though this should be perfectly safe. In fact, in a recent report by the American Dental Health Association, the rate of infection among US dentists, once considered very high risk, was less than one percent.
The implications for this are quite serious. For fear of infecting each other, families might forego regular check-ups. This is especially dire for those with chronic illnesses or those who need regular care for non-COVID-19 related illnesses. Thus, it is generally advisable to maintain all regular check-ups and appointments for all family members. This will ensure no one is blindsided by a sudden medical emergency that requires a trip to the hospital.
One issue involved with the pandemic is mental health. It is often hinted at passing when people talk about their moods or their general state of boredom. A deep, earnest conversation about the actual mental burden of dealing with the consequences of the pandemic is often not discussed. This is because mental health issues are often seen as secondary to clear and present a physical risk.
Yet, some risk suffering loss of livelihood, anxiety for their prospects, and feeling stifled in their sense of freedom. This can exacerbate existing conditions. And with no real end in sight yet to the pandemic, mental health issues still have time to do severe damage to people’s quality of life.
As individuals, each family member needs to recognize and address their unique mental challenges when dealing with stress. Remember to trust one another enough to depend on each other for emotional support and companionship, even when we do not feel our best.
In general, mental health is essential, but it is not a phenomenon that can be fully understood in isolation. It needs the involvement of those we live with and care about. As a family unit, it takes some effort and patience to establish close relationships with friends, partners, and family members. With this in mind, it bodes loved ones well to support one another. This also means that if a conflict should happen, it is better to cool off and address the conflict not as a problem but as an external issue that can be tackled together.
It is therefore imperative for families to focus on bonding. Find ways to improve communication and learn to enjoy activities with each other. Such activities could be creative projects, chores, assignments, games, and simple sports.
Closely linked to mental health is physical health. In the current tense pandemic-influenced environment, physical and mental aspects are both heavily stressed and impinge on each other. During this time, physical activities must be kept up as regularly as possible, not just for the general physical health benefits but also for controlling stress and moods.
While exercise and other physical activities are possible even during a movement restriction, it can get tricky when either stuck at home or in quarantine. However, finding a way to stay active even while indoors is useful to supplement whatever physical activities can be done outside. Doing exercise and sports together as a family gives added health and psychological benefits and collectively improves and bonds family members together in a shared fun activity.
Upon close inspection, the factors that ensure our quality of life, health, mental well-being, and interpersonal relationships are tightly linked in an interdependent network of needs and goals. This tight interdependence mirrors the relationship between the members of a family that is healthy and happy. Like the individual members who make up a family, no one factor can be left behind.