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Coronavirus lockdown…coping with family, maintaining sanity

By Temitope Akintoye,

Ada’s first thoughts on viewing the President, Muhammadu Buhari’s speech where he imposed two-week curfew and total shut down of activities in three states of the federation including Lagos, Ogun and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, was how she would cope with being cooped up with her three children at home for a minimum of 14 days.

The business woman was quickly beset with thoughts of having to live long days without the business structure support which she was used to having, worries about feeding her family under lockup and apprehensions of how best to keep the kids occupied and out of her hair without having a nervous breakdown in process.

Not alone in her worry, Chima is a career banker who now has to stay cooped up in the house with his wife of ten years and their four children, its been a few hours into the curfew and he already feels like he can not take any more of the incessant noise, questions and inactivity that he has been subjected to by staying home.

According to psychologists, a sharp change in pace and routine such as that which has been imposed on Lagosians by the curfew may result in mental stress with the affected individuals displaying withdrawal symptoms, excessive aggression, depression and in some cases, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Here, therefore,  are the Guild tips to cope with such withdrawal symptoms that come with the sudden period of inactivity, amuse and occupy the children, and retaining one’s sanity throughout the curfew period:

First of all, remove all triggers such as bad news, Covid-19 updates, death counts and so on. The mind can only take so much negativity so though it is important to stay up to date on happenings around the world, it is better to pace assimilation of available information so that an overdose of reports would not affect the psyche.

Then, retrace steps and pick up  past hobbies, fill time with pleasant activity which are of interest such as board games, childhood favourite word games, computer gaming and so on, with aim to fill as much time as possible with activities that would keep busy and reduces for development of depression.

Let the children have their own spaces and time for play, reject the pressured need to input in all their activities, barring such as could possibly result in physical or emotional harm, let them play and be children.

Call work colleagues, shop neighbours, or fellow students so as to catch up with familiar daily voices and give a measure of normalcy to the day, such that the mental stress of having to spend prolonged time amongst family members only may be reduced.

Take a stroll. The President, Muhammadu Buhari, while giving the curfew directive did not state that residents were not allowed out of the four walls of their homes, therefore a stroll within the compound, or out on the street by your gate is not amiss, would give a breath of fresh air and help reduce pressure of being cooped up all day.

Realise that time could be spent re-igniting spark of love and friendship with your spouse or partner, which could have been lost due to daily busy work schedules and embrace that there could be a positive side to the curfew in force while taking steps to rediscover and rebuild rocky relationship areas in the family.

Get physical, stay active, embrace home exercises and indulge as a family, which would keep all members of the family fit, healthy, busy and also bring them closer through bonding exercise activities by which, at end of the lockdown exercise, residents would be safe, healthy, happy and better for the time spent together.

1 Comment
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