COVID-19: How To Make Home A Stress-free Place For Your Family When "Circuit Breakers" Kick In
Experts share tips on how to make home a stress-free place for your family as "circuit breakers" kick in for a month in Singapore.
Quratulain Zaidi, a clinical psychologist based in Hong Kong, says family members’ empathy and patience can run low during stressful times.
“It is difficult to be confined to small flats in the city ” and the weather is unhelpful,” Zaidi says.
Her main piece of advice? “Limit time on social media and separate the reality of the virus pandemic from the pandemic of anxiety that’s being created due to the virus.”
Zaidi says keeping communication lines open is vital. “It’s extremely important that family members are mindful of effectively and actively communicating with each other with regards to their schedules and online meetings, and of the use of space if someone needs to be online or on a phone call.
“And it’s important family members express their feelings and concerns respectfully and kindly to each other and are responsibly managing their own stress rather than taking it out on each other,” she says.
Zaidi says setting aside time at the end of each day to check in with each other and discuss practicalities for the following day is a good routine to follow.
How To Make Home A Stress-free Place For Your Family
In December last year, a poll found text messaging is a popular means of family conversations as opposed to face-to-face communication or phone calls, with 53 per cent of respondents saying it had become their most commonly adopted method, compared with 31 per cent in a similar poll in 2013.
Professor Lam Tai-Hing, principal investigator with the Jockey Club’s Smart Family-Link Project, which carried out the survey with researchers from the University of Hong Kong, says using technology to improve the family home environment is more crucial than ever as the city deals with the health emergency.
“Under the current situation, families must embrace what I call smart exercises ” younger family members using video and other technology to connect with older family members, thus increasing communication and ensuring personal and family happiness.”
Zaidi says parents must try to stay sane and fortify themselves so they can be present for their family in these stressful times.
She shared some advice for parents on how to maintain a happy home environment:
1. Structure and routine in times of uncertainty create a sense of security, so it’s important to have routines.
2. Schedule “family time” and “work time” and share this with family members so they know when you are going to be available.
3. Establish physical boundaries when you are working, and make sure you are in a separate space from each other.
4. Ensure children are being kept busy when you are working, either with their own routine or their own online learning.
5. Ensure you have scheduled breaks and take the opportunity to eat meals with your family.
6. Allow for your own self-care and ensure you and the children are getting physical exercise and are engaging in other activities as a family, such as playing board games or watching some quality TV together.
7. If you are feeling overwhelmed, allow yourself some time and space.
This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2020 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.