Covid crisis is back with a bang! And this time it's not just the old aged and sick people, but it's taking its toll on every age group. When is normal for anyone to feel anxious and worried in this time of uncertainty then what to say of anyone living in an abusive or a dysfunctional family. Even if you left one, the residual symptoms don't make you feel safe and at peace anywhere, as suggested by psychologists and psychiatrists who work in the field of trauma and its effects on the body.
Anyone with a history of trauma(physical or emotional or both) is very likely to suffer from mental illness o personality disorders or both. Covid crisis time is very heavy on such families because more than one dysfunctional or mentally unhealthy or disordered people restricted together inside a house with so much panic and uncertainty going on on the outside in society as well as everyone's mind can be very horrible, damaging, miserable and even dangerous.
What you can do on your part is to try to stay calm, keep your kids feel safe, and keep an emotional distance from an abusive spouse or other abusive family members which could cause further damage to your mental and emotional well-being and the safety of the family.
Here are a few tips that you can follow for having the most peaceful life while being locked down with your family in this pandemic:-
1. Wake up early.
According to Indian sacred texts, 1 hour 36minutes before sunrise is the best and most productive time to start meditating, doing mindfulness, or studying. Basically, this is the time that best suits our body and soul if we want to do something for our mental and spiritual health. It has been my personal experience that it is the most productive time of the day and as soon as the day progresses, laziness and negativity start overtaking.
It would be excellent if one manages to wake up around this time and start the day with some mental healing exercises of their choice. According to physical as well as mental health experts exercising in the morning can have amazing effects on not only your mood all day but also your body's metabolism.
2. Go early to bed.
Going early to bed will ensure a good amount of sleep. According to www.hosbeg.com, going early to bed helps you lose weight, live longer, reduce symptoms of depression, improve memory, regulate emotions and have a better social life. The website www.thegoodbody.com says that sleeping early can help one getting quality sleep, great immunity, a healthy heart, more energy, great hair and skin, healthy levels of alertness and reaction time, productivity, better athletic performance in addition to the above-mentioned benefits.
Last but not the least, to achieve the first point of "getting up early in the morning" you will need to go early to bed. Isn't a little sacrifice and discipline worth it if you are getting so many benefits for improving the overall quality of your life?
3. Watch less news.
News channels will do anything to get TRPs. It's very sad that most of them prepare highly sensational headlines to thrill and attract viewers for ratings and views. However, if you watch the news till the end, there will be a pinch of ambiguous information at the end of the half-hour show. You may feel relaxed at the end of that half-hour but the chemicals released in your body during that half-hour will adversely affect your health and mood for the rest of the day because of their way of sensationalizing the information and the intermittent promos of other upcoming sensational news programs.
It's okay to be updated on important news and for that one or two news bulletins on TV are sufficient for the day. According to Psychology Today magazine not only are negatively valenced news broadcasts likely to make you sadder and more anxious, but they are also likely to exacerbate your own personal worries and anxieties . And make sure to not watch any new item or any discuss any catastrophic issue after sunset because in many people anxiety and depression get worse after sunset.
4. Keep distance from social media.
Social media is the only distraction sometimes when we are highly anxious and also it is the only means of connecting with people and checking on our loved ones. But the rumors and exaggerated posts can cause panic in someone who is prone to anxiety. You must ignore forward posts, as most of them are from inauthentic sources. Neither read nor forward anything that comes from an unknown source. Use messaging apps to keep connected with loved ones only, and not to create panic in each other's life. Ask for support and offer support and do not spread misinformation. Social media apps have features of customizing news feed as per your preferences. Do not open the post you do not feel like reading and in some time your news feed will push such posts and stories very down on the feed and you will see only the type of posts you like and mostly open.
5. Do your pending works.
There might be a lot of things you always wanted to do but never had time for them. Do them on lockdown days. This will improve your quality of life and living style and keep you distracted from catastrophizing thoughts and unnecessary anxiety and also boost your mood.
6. Reap the benefits.
Every situation has some upside. Find out what you can gain from this situation. Focus on good things happening to you only because of this covid. It could be having the comfort of staying at home while working, not feeling obliged to meet people you don't like or not going to places and events you always wanted to avoid, not feeling the necessity to always looking groomed up or getting time for hobbies etc.
7. Pursue Hobbies.
Pursuing your hobbies you always wanted to will help you keep in good mood and you will feel confident when you achieve little things. Engaging in creativity also does healing to your mental health.
Connecting with someone who is the supreme controller can give you a sense of protection and confidence. We feel good even when a living organism of the lowest consciousness and intelligence shows any signs of love and belonging to us like a bird or a rabbit, what to say of the feelings and emotions that we can experience when we CONNECT with someone infinitely intelligent and powerful who is ultimately holding the power to whatever happens around us in this magnificent and majestic infinitely vast universe created by him only. What is covid in comparison to that? People who meditate on a regular basis, have reported experiencing feelings of immense peace and safety even at times of adversities.
9. Surreneder to destiny.
Just remind yourself whenever you or anyone you love(kids etc) feel panicky, so many pandemics and epidemics came in past but did not wipe the entire human race, some people always survives, even when there were no medical facilities and hospitals. Do you know why? Because they were destined to live. Some people will always survive any catastrophe, no matter what. Just remember that we all are bound to our destiny, the sooner we accept the better we are with peace.
Feeling gratitude towards God and people helps reduce stress as established by psychological studies. Every day at least once, think about ten good things in your life that you are very happy about. It could be as small as eating a delicious meal to as big as having a loving child. Writing down them and reading them is more beneficial.
11. Do not discuss deaths and other distressing issues in front of kids.
Kids are already traumatised with so much negativity around them and uncertainty around them. They have a very delicate mind and brain which are still developing and they may not be able to fully understand and process the information and hence it can adversely affect them in many ways. Kids may develop physical symptoms of anxiety-like stomach ache, nausea, fever etc without you or them even realising it further deteriorating the atmosphere and increasing the stress for all.
12. Have a covid management meeting with your spouse.
have a meeting with your spouse and discuss the plan that will e executed if a family member falls ill with covid. Discuss separate plan for each member's illness, like which room will be used for quarantine, who will cook or where will the food come from, who will look after which kid, what will be sanitation routine who will do what etc. An abusive spouse will not cooperate but having a preplan will help at least to some extent. Older kids should be told about the plan to prepare them for their roles in the time of a family member's illness to avoid a panic situation at that time.
13. Keep distracted and busy.
Keep yourself away from unnecessary non-productive terrorising and misleading discussions and catastrophising thoughts. Read something that calms your mind, watch reaxing movies and tv shows, engage in hobbies,
14. Organise your work and living space
Organised space helps organize your thoughts and keep them positive. An organised and clean kitchen motivates me to cook and eat healthily. A clean and organised bedroom improves the quality of sleep. A clean bathroom makes bathing time quality time with yourself and so on. Asking kids to help you will keep them engaged, teach them chores and reduce your burden.
15. Focus on your life.
Live like you are going to beat the pandemic. Think of ways to improve the quality of your life. Make short term goals and keep yourself busy in accomplishing them. Appreciate and reward yourself for accomplishing these goals. Support yourself and love yourself unconditionally even when you are not able to accomplish something. If you don't have your back then who will? Do little things that make you happy and feel better about yourself.
16. Spend time with your children.
Try to teach and help your children also in engaging and following all of the above points in their lives as well. But only one thing a day, because they will be stressed by too much information at a time. Just pick one thing a day and help them carry it out. Half an hour of quality time with kids will do wonders with them. Allow them to explore their own ways also to fight the pandemic stress. Let them create the mess around the house if it helps them, help them clean it afterwards.
17. Practice mindfulness.
There are various resources available. Choose the one that suits you. Mindfulness practice gradually brings you to a level when you are mindful about your feelings and emotions in a given situation and you can give your best and healthiest response in a circumstance that will be in the best interest of you and your family.
18. Help others.
While maintaining social distancing and safety of yourself and your family offer help to others who are suffering in ways that don't affect your own quality of life or without compromising the safety of you and your own family. This way you will not only make other lives better but also set an example for others to follow and it may come back to you through someone else when you need it.
I understand that in abusive or dysfunctional it is not always possible to have a healthy schedule as per your choice and needs but you can try to achieve as much as it is possible in your circumstances and when you get benefitted from that you will automatically feel better and more functional and then you can try for more.