Healthy Relationship: Family and Friends

By Maisha Ahmed

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As stated in our previous blog, relationships in general are quite fragile to navigate but the impact of the pandemic has exuberated both positive and negative effects of how we interact with each other especially in regards to our family and friends. I am lucky enough to have a strong and close relationship with my mother and brother so even during the lockdown we didn’t really get into arguments as a result of being cooped up all day; however, my relationship with my relatives and friends have changed as I am unable to meet or contact them often. With the threat of the virus, I went from hanging out with my friends daily to not having met them for over two years. It’s obvious that actions like these put a strain on relationships with others so how do we maintain a close and healthy relationship with our family and friends, especially when there is an on-going pandemic occurring?

Tips On Maintaining a Healthy Relationship with Friends and Family

  1. Staying Connected-It goes without saying that it’s been a lot more difficult to meet with friends, family, and our other loved ones in adherence to social distancing. Although face-to-face interaction is probably the most preferred method of communicating with others, it’s vital that during the covid crisis, we utilize the technologies around us to keep in contact with our loved ones whether it’s through social media, video call, texting, phone call, or even simply writing letters. Staying connected with our friends and family can not only strengthen our relationship with them but help develop a healthy social support group that can contribute to lessening symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. What works for me is having a weekly phone call with my friends and family members just to catch up and see how they are doing. Even if it’s only for five minutes, I’m sure everyone will appreciate having the chance to connect.
  2. Set Boundaries and Respect Personal Space-Though it may seem confusing since the pandemic has already altered our form of communication and relationship with others in which our bonds with certain people may have strengthened and weakened with others, it’s still important to have alone time nonetheless. If you are living with others, it might be wise to have a discussion on when it would be a good time to close the doors without disturbance for a while.
  3. Spending Quality Time-It’s important to spend quality time with both your friends and family members. I’ve noticed that I was focusing way too much on fostering my relationship with my friends rather than my mom and brother and realized they often felt neglected. What I would do is divide up my time. Maybe I’ll video call a friend just to chat or play online games together and then spend some time with my family watching movies

Benefits of Having a Healthy Relationship with Family and Friends

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  • Helps develop healthier ways of coping with stress such as talking about their problems rather than using other substances to cope.
  • May actually lengthen life in which having healthy relationships with family and friends can lead to improvement in memory and cognitive functions as well as a lower allosteric load.
  • Can encourage personal growth; having someone in your life who can support you regardless of dire circumstances can boost confidence and self-esteem
  • Helps improve mental well-being as it can help an individual find a greater purpose in life