Broken Families: The Effect of Lockdown
Lockdown has been hard for all of us, with 56% of us feeling anxious or stressed as a result of the pandemic. And, as of June 2020, nearly one in five adults were experiencing depression, a severe mental health condition which can have lasting effects if not addressed. With added financial stress and kids being home 24/7 as a result of schools being closed, it’s no surprise to see that many families are experiencing a breakdown during these trying times.
With no alone time, a lack of communication and everyone facing their mental health issues, families are drifting further apart and not closer during the Covid-19 pandemic. As restrictions ease, people go back to work and schools are looking to reopen, you might think that your family life will return to normal. However, Covid-19 has left a lasting impact on all of us, and it will leave its mark on our family relations too.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and your family relationships can be repaired to be stronger than ever before. Please keep reading to learn more about why your family may be experiencing some difficulties, as well as my advice on what you can do to repair your relationships.
No Alone Time
When the lockdown was first introduced, businesses were closed, schools were shut down, and everyone was expected to stay at home. These restrictions thrust families together in close quarters for a lot longer than they were typically used to. Parents haven’t experienced such a long time in their children’s presence since they were babies, and many couples are used to only getting the morning and evening hours together. But with lockdown, whole families are experiencing each other’s company all day long, seven days a week for the first time.
Our alone time is vital for taking care of our mental health and giving us a break from stresses in life. Without these moments where we can focus on ourselves, we can often get caught up in the world and forget about our own needs. With everyone home 24/7, this alone time has become practically non-existent for most of us, and as a result, we are facing depression and anxiety, and with that irritability, sleep issues and uncontrollable anger and sadness.
A significant impact of Covid-19 contributing to family breakdowns is financial stress. Businesses have gone bust, jobs are being lost, and thousands of others are uncertain of how the future will pan out for them. If you or your partner are facing financial struggles, then this could have had an impact on your relationship. You are so caught up in the negatives that discussion turns into arguments and cooling-off periods are days long. This lack of communication is detrimental to your relationship. You need to be working through your struggles together and not alone.
Financial struggles can have an impact on your children, as well. If they catch wind that you are worried about money, they can worry too. They are reliant on you to provide for them, and, as children that care for you, they can be concerned about your happiness. Similarly, if they witness you and your partner fight, their minds can run wild with scenarios of divorce and separation. As a result, they may become depressed or anxious and start to argue more and distance themselves from everyone else.
Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help from family and friends. As lockdown and restrictions continue to ease, you can visit your family more. Take advantage of this and ask if they could watch your children for a weekend or even just an evening. This will give you and your partner the time to connect and talk about your relationship. This open communication will allow you both to understand the situation you are in and be on the same page. You can make an action plan, talk about what you need to improve on and reassure each other you are dedicated to the relationship.
By both openly making time for this conversation and alone time, you are showing a willingness to get back on track in your relationship. Acknowledge this step by being prepared and eager when the kids are away to spend time with each other. Know what you want to address so you can make the most of your time – but don’t forget to give your partner the right to respond and communicate their thoughts and feelings too.
Talking openly with one another may be hard for you if you or your partner are closed off people. By bringing in a therapist, you can have an expert help mediate and guide the conversations so that you are both being honest about your thoughts and feelings. Also, group therapy can introduce any children into the discussions, so they feel involved and heard as well.
Therapy isn’t something to be afraid of as a family. Instead, you should think of it as a useful tool or outlet for understanding your emotions and building happiness as a unit. By regularly visiting or talking to a therapist, you can start to overcome any worries or concerns by understanding why your partner is struggling or helping your partner understand your struggles.
By having an expert help, you come to terms with the reality of your family relationship. You can see that there is a way out of darker times with dedication, understanding and effort on everyone’s part. The experience of therapy, as well as the issues made apparent during the lockdown, can become a lesson for the future and help you prevent your family falling into such situations again – or at least be prepared for them.
Please check out my website to learn more about my services as a therapist in the North West and how I can support your family’s needs. With experience in group and family therapy, I can use my knowledge to provide you with the support you need to repair your relationships and understand each other’s mental health struggles.