We all crave connection– to be understood and loved for who we are and have the chance to respond. Real connection to those around us doesn’t always ‘just happen’. The relationships within our homes might feel a bit unusual at this time but also something to be grateful for. We can choose to embrace it to the fullest instead of ignoring it or taking it for granted.
This might be the most time that you’ve spent with the people inside your home for a while. We know that living in this new way can sometimes feel pressured and it’s easy to get angry with each other and disagree. This time can also be an opportunity to work on our relationships with those we live with.
Planning meaningful time
Think back to the times when you and those you live with had the most fun or connection to one another. Try to think about why it was such a positive time, you’ll probably find there was very little distraction from one another.
Think about times when the value in family time was lost because everyone was on their phones during dinner or you were trying to communicate something important to a parent, but they were half looking at their to do-list. Meaningful family time is hard to come by when not fully focused on where we are.
Take some time with your family members to agree to put distractions aside and plan some activities you’d like to work on together. Think of some things you would like to Stop, Start and Continue. There are some ideas below.
- Live stream exercise classes?
- Do you have a cupboard of board games that have been put away since you can’t remember when?
- Could you bake or cook a meal together?
- Could you read the same book in sections and agree to discuss it?
- Could you grab a virtual cup of tea with a friend instead of just messaging them?
- How can you involve family members who don’t live in your household?
The power of social media
Parents and other adults in our life know that too much screen time isn’t good for any of us. We’re also probably aware of ourselves that too much of any activity blocks our creativity, reduces our experience and doesn’t help us to discover anything new about ourselves. Parents and carers, in particular, have probably heard and seen the negative effects that social media can have on wellbeing and they might worry about you. They know you are under pressures that are different to the ones they had when they were younger and it’s natural they would want to protect you from that. Also, what might be annoying them about ‘screen time’ might also be a parent’s way of not saying what they really want- which might be to spend a bit more time with you and know you better.
Top Tip: Scroll through your phone and save a few videos on the following topics:
- Something you found inspiring
- A talent someone has that you wish you had
- Something that made you feel upset, emotional or angry
- Something you learned that you didn’t know before you watched the video
Ask for a time with your parent or sibling and say you’ve got a few videos you would like them to watch with you. Afterwards, try explaining to your parent/sibling how it made you feel and ask them how it made them feel and what they thought about it. You might have quite different views about the videos and that’s ok.
Try to make the point that although you will see and hear things online that you don’t like and that makes you feel negative emotions, that you have access to a lot of information from your phone and that much of it can be uplifting, encouraging and help you to learn. Things you see online can positive for your mental health.
- To what extent do you agree that social media can be hurtful or a source of good, it all depends on how you use it?
- What are your experiences of how social media can be a force for good in terms of building self-esteem and resilience?
What do you do again?
Do you know what job title your parents, carers or siblings have? If you grew up with a parent who was a shop assistant, teacher, doctor, police officer or even an astronaut chances are that as a child you also grew up with some idea of what their job involved. But if your parent works in something more obscure and less visible in the world, you may be less sure of what their job entails. You also might have had conversations about their jobs but you might not fully understand their jargon.
At the moment you might be working alongside them at the kitchen table, or find your workbooks mixed with their conference call notes. You’ll have an opportunity to understand more about what they do, you might overhear some of their phone calls, see the personality that they have at work and the relationships they have there.
Likewise, they probably ask you how school or college is going, but do you tell them which lessons are the most interesting to you? Do they know about the most recent thing you learned which shaped your recent choices and do they know the plans you have for your future career?
Top Tip: Perhaps ‘quiz’ each other, asking
- ‘Who is my closest friend(s) at work or school/college?
- ‘How do I feel about my tutor/boss at work?’
- ‘What is my favourite part of my course/job and why?’
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