People respond differently to stressful situations. If I’m stressed, you might find me in the kitchen experimenting. I may go for a walk or a quick drive. Listen to music, preferably with headphones on, volume up. If I can manage to get alone, meditating and stretching are easy go-tos…
If I’m stressed, I’m going to do more… work harder…. I’m going to fight to regain a sense of control and peace of mind by pulling out my sharpest tools and attempting to stitch things back together.
This has been me since the month of March it seems…since forever, really…
Much of our mental and emotional turbulence since the spread of COVID-19 has to do with concern about our own health and the health of our loved ones.
There’s division and tension in a lot of families. Some are spending 90% of the day following Coronavirus news and staying informed, while others are determined to keep cool and maintain some sense of normalcy.
If you’re a constant worrier, you’re wearing out the chill person. And if you’re too chill, you’re stressing out the worrier.
It’s the overreactors “verzuz” the underreactors “verzuz” the nonreactors.
It can be pretty intense.
How do we successfully navigate relationships and family dynamics during the COVID-19 crisis?
While the novel Coronavirus disease does require a major level of mindfulness, responsibility and self-regulation, it also requires a great amount of compassion, love, and thoughtfulness.
Differing perspectives and generational values have created major communication roadblocks in families and relationships.
I can recall there being a mix of serious conversations and non-verbal communication in my own home when the crisis began. It all started leading to judgement, persecution, and lots of side stares. I told a friend, “I just want Keith to do what I say.” How controlling was that?
Energy didn’t seem to improve until I made room for his perspective (and others in my circle, too) and learned to respect their narrative around the pandemic.
I had to stop being so controlling.
And Keith had to seriously contend with this crisis as more people we knew began testing positive.
(Refusing to contend is a problem.)
Before long, we were aligned– working as a team, and living gracefully under a healthy standard of understandings and agreements.
I even developed new and inclusive communicative language (i.e. “We/you can as long as we/you _____, ______, and _____.”)
Getting to this point not only extended opportunities for give-and-take in my homelife, it also made me more reasonable and less stressed.
(We must remember that the stress hormone weakens the immune system, too.)
Just because we’re in a crisis, doesn’t mean we cannot be kind. It doesn’t mean there cannot be balance.
And most folks aren’t being passive when it comes to this pandemic, they just kind of know how to remain calm. It’s a gift.
If you look around, people are learning to live sensibly through all of this. More and more, people are understanding the power in changing subjects/channels.
Not all of us have great crisis management skills either.
Words hurt; and if we think about it, I’m sure we’ve said some pretty harsh things to people we love since the Coronavirus outbreak. Nonetheless, we can all afford to have more compassion during these dramatic times.
Some decent objectives are to remain safe, wear the masks a little longer, and not lose our sense of humanity. Ultimately:
“Fight the monster without becoming one.” -Ibrahim Kalim
Clinnesha is a writer, wife, mom, meta-artist, humanities scholar, and social entrepreneur. Her work is at the intersection of black/feminist thought, arts, culture, and community.