How the Pandemic Affects Families


The COVID-19 pandemic left us all in a constant state of unease. With all the dangers of going outside and mingling with others due to the virus, we had to stay inside our homes with our families for a long time, and for others, a bit too long. Spending time with your loved ones is important but being stuck with them for a prolonged period can bring out the worst in some people.

Along with this, we were also forced to physically distance ourselves from other friends and family. This lack of interaction with other than our home companions can take a toll on those who yearn to socialize.

Our families may be feeling these things that can destroy people from the inside. As caretakers of each other, we must do the best we can to ensure that no one is suffering. Many of the following factors brought up by the pandemic can severely affect our relationships and mental health and may require individual or family counseling to address them properly.

Loss of a loved one

The worst effect of the pandemic is that it claimed thousands of lives. With how easy it was to spread the virus, the number of deaths quickly went up. But the families and friends of those who passed were left to grieve and suffer silently inside their homes. The loss of a loved one can cause great emotional distress, especially when there are laws limiting gatherings like funerals.

Without having these events that can help people to accept their losses, many individuals do not get the chance to cope with the situation and have to bottle everything up as their daily lives go by.

Loss of livelihood

Many people lost their sources of income because of the pandemic. Businesses closed down and workers were let go of, leaving a lot of people unemployed while unable to leave their homes. These financial losses made some families struggle to meet their daily needs, leading to feelings of hopelessness. Others start to fight over the way they spend their money, creating tiny but recurring rifts in their relationships. Some others develop financial anxiety that can eat away at them until they find a reason to feel otherwise.

Loss of personal space

Some people were forced to make compromises on where they should stay during the lockdown. Those who were stuck with their families may find themselves feeling suffocated. Living in an enclosed environment with the same people for a long time can be taxing on those who value their personal space. This kind of living also increases the likelihood of fights breaking out between family members.

Little things that people wouldn’t normally fight over can become irritating and repetitive. These things can create problems in a relationship like marriage troubles that usually develop into more serious cases like divorce and domestic abuse.

Loss of physical interaction with others

Due to not being able to go outside, most interactions are only done online. Although virtual contact with friends and family can help to somehow bridge distances, there is still no substitute for physical interaction. Some people will crave this physical contact that can lead to touch starvation, a condition that negatively affects a person’s mental health.

In the case of children, whose only window to the outside world during the lockdown is their virtual classrooms, physical interaction with other kids might be something that they crave. Without a means to satisfy this need, they can show signs of distress in many forms like irritability, aggression, mood swings, weight fluctuations, and general loss of interest.

Some children might also find it more difficult to make friends in the future due to not being able to socialize during these formative years of their lives.

Loss of control

A less noticeable drawback of the pandemic is the relapse of those who are recovering from certain conditions. Due to not being able to access face-to-face consultation and rehabilitation, people suffering from addictions, substance abuse, or mental demons were monitored less closely. Without proper guidance, they can go back to their old self-destructive behaviors.

All of these factors can contribute to stress and anxiety. Unchecked, these will develop into bigger problems that are more difficult to resolve in the future. Having open family conversations from time to time will help to release some of the stress that accumulated due to the pandemic. But professional help should be considered when there are signs of deeper problems that manifest only in the more obvious symptomatic issues.

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