Towards the end of 2019, talks about a new virus and it being deadly were in the air but as almost all of us are in the habit of moving away from the news and carrying on with our lives, we moved on from it. But there was a twist as the virus turned out to be extremely deadly, taking the lives of many in China and spreading to other countries at an unprecedented rate after which people began acknowledging the seriousness of the situation.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared it a Pandemic or Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30th January, 2020. Consequently, our government announced a lockdown which brought our usual lives to a halt but was the best decision taken to save our lives. In India, the Prime Minister declared a nationwide lockdown on 19th March, 2020. With every action one needs to expect consequences and this time around the consequences have been immense. In India due to diverse income-groups, the problems faced by people have been different from one class to another.
Each problem is unique to the individual facing it with some having luxuries to suffice them and others are struggling even for the basic amenities.
- While the migrant labourers are struggling to reach home due to the abrupt lockdown, some are being forced to take on the journey on foot. The harsh heat, starvation and the long distance they have to cover are taking the lives of many with a few of them becoming victims of tragic accidents.
- The daily-wage workers are suffering the loss of work and with no work they have no money to feed themselves or their families. While some are receiving help from private organisations and donations by various individuals, there has been little or no help from the state.
- Those who are living under a rented roof are struggling to pay the rent due to the sudden cut down on salaries and loss of jobs. While some landlords are going easy on the tenants, there are some who have no option but to be stern.
- House helpers who were asked not to come for work are struggling for money although in states like Delhi, the government is providing daily meals for them but unfortunately, not all of them are able to procure it.
- People living in squatter settlements are finding it hard to maintain physical distancing.
- Students who are living in different states are struggling to reach home to their families.
- Artists who perform to live audiences are facing financial crisis due to a complete shutdown of any form of social gatherings.
Families who are living together are facing family issues which is largely what we will discuss about in this article. The above-mentioned struggles have largely been monetary but when we talk about family we are focusing on the emotional aspect and the emotional stress experienced by family members.
Stress in Family
In times like these, all of us are turning to our families; some people who lived away from their family had to live without them for the first lockdown. There was partial movement during lockdown 2.0 in which people could travel home to their families but not all of them could and consequently, a lot of them had to live alone. It is in phases like these where people turn to their families and as that is what family really stands for. They are always there for us when we are the most desperate.
- Friction in families: It consists of individuals who have their own personalities and have their own individuality in a family setup. All of its members experience different emotions and everyone tries their level best to understand but that is not always the case. Each member suffers in their own way but it can get difficult if some family member starts denying the problem in hand.
- Verbal abuse: Times like these act like a playing field for mental illness and can be extremely difficult for a lot of us. In both cases of living alone and living with someone, we suffer during these times but what’s different is that when we are living alone we have no one to vent out our emotions to whereas when we are living with some we tend to take it out in the form of arguments or fights. Since we want to vent out our helplessness and frustration, we start etching for a fight.
- Domestic violence: What has been shocking is the upsurge in cases of domestic violence with London taking the lead but India is also not far behind. What’s problematic is that not enough goes on the record in India and few other Asian countries. (here is how you can report domestic violence if you are experiencing it in India). Even though people are going through financial crunches and insecurities about the future, one does not have the right to raise their hand or cause any mental or physical torture on their significant other or family member as there is no justification for violence in any form.
- Toxic Environment: Due to lack of mobility, people have very little to do and have to keep up with the mundane routine which at some point can get exhausting. They tend to repress their emotions but things start getting messed up when one reaches the point of saturation. This in turn creates a toxic environment in the family which is difficult to live-in.
It has strengthened Family relations
If we think about it, this is the time when all the family members have come together and are present for one another under the same roof. Even though it can get difficult, the fact that the family is together in it with us is a good enough reason to embrace it.
- Game nights: Most of the families are getting together at night to play different board games to keep themselves entertained which in many ways is building strength and trust in families with a ton of laughing sessions.
- Upcoming master-chefs: All of us have that one family member who is trying their hands on cooking and experimenting with different dishes every other day. We must try to enjoy whatever good or bad they prepare because we are lucky to have them around us, and in case you are that person, thank your family members for keeping up with your cooking.
- Nostalgia: Many family members are also indulging in deep cleaning and at times we end up finding some lost items in the form of pictures, letters or old jewellery. When we get our hands on such things, they end up making you happy and nostalgic. Sharing those memories with family members can be a healthy activity.
- Kindness can overpower any crisis: When we see someone in our family who’s suffering, we must try to take time out for them as all they want is for someone to hear them out. Kindness towards family should be an inbuilt behaviour as with kindness you can battle these times more profoundly. However, kindness should not be interpreted as forgetting about yourself and indulging in it at the cost of your self-respect. Be kind but also understand that there is a very thin line between kindness and self-respect. You will be rewarded for your act of kindness in ways you don’t even know, so be KIND.
As most of us are experiencing and hearing stories from others about how their relationship is being tested by their families during the pandemic, we need to remember that while it can get worse for some, for others it can be a strengthening exercise nevertheless, it will get better from here. Even though it sounds repetitive it is important to have hope, as we have to reach the point where we are hopeful for a better life, until then we have to fight our own battles and remind one another that we all are in it together and our family will always have your back.
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