Talking With Your Family About Your Coronavirus Fears
Like it or not, we are living in interesting times. The novel coronavirus pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. Whether we find ourselves sheltering-in-place for weeks on end or not, we can tell that everything has changed. Our communities and workplaces have closed down. Conveniences we took for granted, like going to the grocery store or ordering from Amazon, are no longer easily available. And every day we receive heartwrenching updates to the pandemic’s grim statistics: hundreds of thousands infected and tens of thousands of deaths across the world.
Anxiety due to the coronavirus
Add to this that the CDC’s statement on which people are at higher risk of developing COVID-19 includes people with diabetes, particularly if not well managed or controlled.1
It’s only natural that we feel the weight and urgency of everything that is going on. We worry about the future. We’re anxious about getting through today. And while daily life with diabetes often includes these emotions, this feels different. We cannot escape the effects, and those close to us can’t help but notice how we are being affected. Living through this pandemic is taking its toll on all of us.
Talking to your family about the coronavirus
How can we address this 800-pound gorilla in the room?
When someone asks “How you are doing?” it’s okay to say something other than “I’m okay” or “Things are fine.” There’s a sense of relief, on both sides of the conversation when we share what we’re really experiencing, whether those feelings are positive or not.
Besides, the people who are close to you, especially children, can tell when you’re hedging. While they might not label your comment as a lie, being less than truthful can still be unsettling and worrisome to them.
But be mindful of your audience
That being said, consider who you’re speaking with and what kind of state they are in. You don’t necessarily have to spill your guts and share every gory detail about what you’re experiencing. Share enough so that they understand what you’re feeling whether it’s anxiousness, worry, helplessness, anger, frustration, or something else.
Talk in terms they will understand, especially when speaking with children. Children understand what feelings are and can accept that you might be still working out the answer or solution you’re looking for.
Share what they can do to help you
Let the people close to you know what kind of help and support you need, whether it’s emotional or logistical support. Maybe it’s turning the news off for part of the day. Or, letting you have some alone time when you go into your bedroom and close the door. Or, having the dinner conversation topic be about something cheerful like remembering the last time you celebrated a birthday or anniversary with friends and family.
Having someone go to the pharmacy or grocery store for you could be helpful. Or walking the dog. Or watering the garden. Or even doing a load of laundry. Maybe you just don’t feel like you have the energy to do these daily tasks that keep life organized and on track.
Ask what you can do to help them
Everyone is being affected by the stress of dealing with this pandemic. Are there things you can do to lighten someone else’s load?
Finding ways to maintain emotional and social connections is particularly helpful in stressful times. Checking in by phone once a week or texting over lunch can keep conversations going. Playing cards or a board game is entertaining. Taking on a chore so that they don’t have to think about it can also be a relief.
We’re all in this together
These are certainly difficult times. By staying connected and supporting each other we can find the strength and resilience to successfully get through them together.
Note: This article was written on March 30, 2020. Further developments in what we know about the Coronavirus are continuously emerging.
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