Improving Family Mental Health During a Pandemic

mother and child

When every day you are reminded of increasing COVID-19 cases and potential health risks, it can take a toll on your mental health. People can become more recluse, depressed, and anxious because of the uncertainty. For sure, your family is feeling the pressure of the pandemic.

Although going out used to be one of the best ways to boost everyone’s mood, there is still something that can be done at home. Canceled plans and vacations may be hard for the kids, but you can always cheer them up by being more creative at home. If you want to lighten up the mood in your home, here are some tips you can follow.

Create a family room

Every member of the family is their unique person with their interests. With such differences in the family, sometimes it can be hard to find time to connect. A family room can encourage everyone to get together and bond. Having fun together can greatly boost their mental health and make them feel less alone.

This room can be just a general recreational room where you can watch movies or play games as a family. Living rooms tend to be a bit impersonal because we tend to dress it up to impress guests. A separate family room can be as weird and eccentric as you would like.

There are a variety of different construction companies. A small renovation building company can help you transform a space into a family room even on a budget. It doesn’t require a lot of complex planning, and you can complete the paperwork overnight.

Eat together more

Having meals together, even if it’s not all of them, is a great way to boost family relations. It can also improve your kids’ health in more ways than one.

According to a study by the American College of Pediatrics, sharing family meals three or more times a week encourages kids of any age to adopt healthy eating habits. They also have more regular eating patterns and weight. It also reduces the chances of them getting into eating disorders.

Kids tend to follow the examples of their parents and are influenced by their practices, whether consciously or subconsciously. If you show that you have a balanced diet, they tend to adopt these as they get older. In the same sense, having poor eating habits can also be learned and passed on, so be conscious of how you eat in front of the kids.

Respect work/school hours

A lot of you may be forced to work from home and take online classes. When you are used to other kinds of methods, it is hard to adapt to the new techniques suddenly.

What you can do is respect the time and effort they spend doing remote work and online classes. It is stressful enough as it is to adapt. The last thing they want is a little sibling messing around while they’re talking to an instructor, or struggling to hear because of excessive background noise.

Something as simple as not disturbing them during their sessions can make a huge difference. Avoid doing things that could be a distraction for them. If you have to come in or talk to them, make sure to do so subtly and when they are available.

father and son playing sports

Do some family exercise.

Being stuck at home for most of the days, you and your family may be becoming more and more sedentary. This can negatively impact a person’s mood and increase their depression. Increased screen time among adolescents is associated with poor mental health and more anxiety.

Exercise, or movement in general, increases your serotonin and dopamine levels, which are chemicals that counteract depression and make you happier. What you can do is have a fun group exercise session with the whole family.

It doesn’t have to be perfect or even serious. Something like Zumba or yoga is a great and easy way to exercise the family. If you have a yard or large spaces in your home, some sports can work as well. Anything that gets them off the couch and on their feet can help them feel better as well as increase their bonding time.

Make alone time.

In the same sense, people need some time to themselves as well. Being stuck at home with so many family members all the time can be exhausting in itself. Sometimes, it can feel like you have no privacy or anything.

Once in a while, give them or yourself some room to be alone with just your thoughts. It’s sort of like a meditative practice to sit in your room and listen to music or draw. Alone time doing work or classes doesn’t have the same effect because the task pressures them to do it immediately. Alone time is supposed to be more free and less stressful.

Even in these challenging times, try to keep your hopes up and create positive habits for you and your family. It can be just the thing your spouse and kids need to take the burden off their shoulders.

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