People gathering around a campfire.

Maintaining good relationships during COVID-19

Maintaining good relationships is a cornerstone to happy living. But the continual work required to keep those relationships in good standing is where we can run into trouble, especially in difficult times when it can be easy to become frustrated and testy.

On average, Americans consume around 11 hours of media a day. With so many people guiding us to this or telling us to do that, there is a real danger of becoming overwhelmed. Unchecked, these feelings of anxiety can influence us to lash out and damage our relationships with those around us.

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has added additional relationship challenges for us to contend with. There are a completely new set of social behavior rules and expectations. When we all don’t agree on these rules and expectations or circumstances make them difficult to follow, people can become irritable and relationships can strain.

“An important word to remember is respect,” said Luke Raymond, LCPC, manager of OSF Behavioral Health. “People are scared, especially those with pre-existing health conditions. If it appears you are violating a new guideline, they can feel threatened and lash out. Be conscientious of your surroundings and show others a little more respect during this time.”

Interacting with others

Avoiding others forever is not an option. Besides, who would want to? In the meantime, we are visiting more by video chat and avoiding unnecessary trips. However, there are times when you need to leave your home. Remember to wash your hands frequently, maintain physical distancing and bring a mask with you.

There has been some controversy over wearing a mask. Proponents believe they will at least slow or stop the spread of the virus, while others believe they are ineffective. And others who refuse to be told to wear one.

People socially distancing around a campfire.

Whatever your feelings about wearing a mask, keep one with you in the event you are around someone who is of high risk. It is for the good of everyone to have some form of protection available if needed.

“High-risk people can get upset if you aren’t wearing a mask. This can lead to an unnecessary confrontation,” Luke said. “If you have a mask with you, you can acknowledge their concern and at least use your mask while you are around them.

“If you are concerned about others not wearing a mask, keep additional space between you. Remember, maybe they have a good reason for not wearing a mask. Respect goes both ways. Getting into a confrontation with a stranger at the grocery store or arguing with a family member is not going to do anything but add unnecessary stress and anxiety into your lives.”

Keeping a positive attitude

Just as humans have prevailed over previous challenges, we will beat this one. And while we may debate on the best way to go about doing that, we are ultimately on the same team.

“Attitude is everything. Whether you’re looking for the good or bad, you’ll find it. But a positive attitude will keep you emotionally healthy,” Luke said. “We can’t change the reality of the situation. However, we can remain positive, trusting one another and persevering through.”

People all over the earth are working on solutions to the pandemic. We are utilizing strategies to prevent the spread, treatments are improving and testing on a vaccine is underway.

From the front lines

OSF HealthCare, and other health care organizations, are changing the way you access your health care. The goal is to provide the same great care you are accustomed to without the unnecessary risks.

Fortunately, technology gives us that capability. Virtual doctor visits and improved procedures for in-person doctor visits are a couple of positive ways health care organizations are overcoming the pandemic.

“When we stay positive and work together, there isn’t anything we can’t overcome,” Luke said. “We just need to show respect and know we are all in this together, working to mitigate the pandemic as fast as possible.”

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About Author: David Pruitt

David Pruitt is a writer for the Marketing & Communications division of OSF HealthCare. He has a bachelor’s of journalism from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and worked as a reporter before joining OSF HealthCare in 2014.

An avid golfer and fisherman, David was born and raised Alton, Illinois, which is where he currently resides with his son, James.

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Categories: Mental Health