The Coronavirus has stopped us all in our tracks.
Normal day to day life has not been normal recently, so here are a few tips to stay connected with the people around you.
Having honest, vulnerable conversations has never been so important. Conversations in which you and your loved ones focus on one another and share your fears, needs and emotional truths, will likely help you understand each other better.
We are all worried about the virus in different ways, and we may not understand each others point of view about the virus, the level of risk it presents to you and others, or how best to protect ourselves and our loved ones, sharing openly will likely help your loved ones feel less "alone."
This in itself, is a protection against anxiety. Sharing how we handle unsettling emotions, navigating daily upheavals and uncertainties, and reorganising our professional lives has the potential to create a connection—even when doing so is uncomfortable, unkonwn or difficult for us.
- Prioritise your connection.
Now more then ever we need to stay connected.We are all worried about the Coronavirus espically with all the uncertainty it is bringing.
Let your loved ones know you're feeling vulnerable. Tell them that you intend to stay connected during stress, worry, and uncertainty.
- Make time to talk and agree to listen.
Agree on a time you're both open to talking, temporarily shake off your worries, put away your phones, and focus entirely on one another. Agree to listen first before responding.
Use “I statements” rather then “You statements” - Psychological shorthand for avoiding judgement and blame. What Jhon Gottman calls “a soft startup” Taking responsibility for your own needs and feelings.
A soft startup might sound like, " I would like to talk to you about how we are dealing with the Coronavirus. I think it's important for us to stay connected, especially now."
Try to respond with a validating comment before you say anything else, like, "I can see why you would feel that way and want that from me."
- Focus on your feelings
For example, expressing your feelings about the Coronavirus might sound like:
"I've been feeling scared, angry vulnerable and sad. I need your help as I want to stay connected with you. I want to do what I can to stay safe and keep others safe. It would help me if you observed social distancing and did not expose yourself to the risk"
This is very different from saying, "I can't believe despite me telling you how I feel and everything they are saying on the TV you're still going out and spending time with your friends!"
- Talk & talk some more.
Don't give up on your loved ones if your conversation about Coronavirus doesn't go so well. Try and try again, it may take time for the reality of the current situation to set in—and for your words—to sink in. Come back and have another conversation using these tips a different day.
Give these tips a go, I am not saying it is going to be as simple as that, some of these tips will require conscious effort on all our parts, but if we do try and try again we can help our relationships flourish during times of uncertainty.
With my best wishes for you and yours.