They say that “Home is where the heart is” and right now we are spending increased amounts of time in our households, so developing healthy family and support networks is so important. Some families have found this time at home to be a positive experience where they have gotten to know each other better and feel closer than ever. Others have felt the stress and strain of trying to live, work, school and play in the same space for over 12 weeks!
Most of our circumstances lie somewhere in between these two extremes. Whatever your situation, in times like these, we all need strategies that will help us to thrive for the long haul.
The word “family” brings with it lots of different images, feelings and emotions – for better or worse! Some people would not describe their blood-relatives as family for lots of difficult reasons or they may not even know them at all. Others see family as more than just genetics and include their friends, neighbours and close relationships.
In modern Britain today families are incredibly diverse; we have blended families, foster parent families, adoptive parent families, same-sex parent families, extended families and single-parent families… to name a few! Whatever our family looks like; most of us can choose to be a family member who brings out the best in others.
“Home is where you are loved the most and act the worst.” – Marjorie Pay Hinckley
PRACTICE THE GOLDEN RULE
The Golden Rule means that we treat others how we want to be treated. This is THE number one SECRET INGREDIENT in all relationships. Find out what other people in your household might like – and do it! Examples could be : making someone breakfast in bed on a Sunday morning, helping someone with their homework, writing body confidence messages on post-its and sticking on the bathroom mirror, ordering flowers for a distant relative, or even dusting off a fun game you can all play as a family!
HONOUR YOUR ELDERS
Think about something you were taught/ learnt from your parents or grandparents and share this with someone younger. Share stories with others to help connect the future with their past.
GIVE YOURSELF GRACE
This time more than ever is a time for grace, forgiveness, letting go of mistakes and taking each day as it comes. Family routines and rhythms are disrupted and everyone may feel unsettled. Remind yourself that the perfect family doesn’t exist, no matter what you see on Instagram, you are doing great!
BE A GOOD NEIGHBOUR
There are lots of reports of people getting to know their neighbours a little better during this time of limited travel. Take time to continue to cultivate these friendships, whether it’s a ten-minute chat over the garden fence, or a thank you card for someone who dropped by a food parcel. Why tell your local courier/postman how much you appreciate them at this time? Words don’t cost anything but can brighten up someone’s day immensely!
CREATE A FAMILY/CARING TREE
Here is an interesting activity to do yourself or encourage others to do… Follow the template on the resource section below (or copy the picture below) and stick photos of your family members, friends and supportive relationships on a tree. Include distant family members who you may not be physically able to see right now. Display in the home – as a reminder to keep perspective and gratitude for shared history, wisdom and experiences.