Supporting family and friends
Understanding our differences
Whether we are introverts, extraverts, thinkers, feelers, reflectors, or any other behavioural or learning style, we will all be dealing with the impact of coronavirus in different ways…and that's ok! More than ok!
We all have our own ways of dealing with situations; for us that is what works. But our coping methods may not be the same for our family, friends or colleagues.
Some may need more support than others to understand what is going on around them. Others will prefer a distraction. Making sure we respect each other, respect how we deal with situations and respect the level of information we feel we need to process what’s happening is how we can support each other.
Here are some typical responses based on different behaviour styles to be mindful of:
- establish the facts: some need to understand everything that is happening, follow the rules and research facts and guidance
- cautious and considerate: some will worry, will question what it all means and think about different scenarios
- realistic resolution: some will see that with a clear action plan, risks and casualties will be minimised, but we will get through it
- fighting with positivity: some will need humour, music, entertainment, to see the light in the dark and know it will all be ok in the end
Before we can support others, it's important that we self-reflect and understand where we fit on this. Do you see yourself here? How do you see the situation? Perhaps it’s a mix of a few responses? Maybe your thoughts change depending on the day or situation you are faced with? Again, that's ok. We are all adaptable and are working through a constantly changing situation. Taking time to think about how you deal with coronavirus will help you to support others too.
Supporting young people and our families
It’s sometimes hard to explain things we don’t understand, or to explain to young people why we're behaving in different ways than they are used to.
Questions around why children can’t see their older relatives or spend time with their friends can be tricky to manage and confusing for them understand. If you’re struggling to help them understand, this short animation helps explain coronavirus for children (and might help remind adults too!):
Read guidance from GOV.UK on helping children and young people cope with stress. There may be some useful tools for you to try out.
There are also many local services that can help in supporting children and young people. The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) offer support to young people suffering mental difficulties.
We know it can be difficult juggling working with newfound responsibilities as during the day childcare, entertainer and teacher. You’re doing a great job!
We know that parenting in the middle of a worldwide pandemic isn’t your usual form of parenting. So, here are some great resources to hopefully make it a little easier for you too, specifically for parenting during the coronavirus:
If you're living with family there are many things you can do to support each other during this time. Here are a few handy tips to keep things normal and keep communicating:
- practice similar daily routines and night-time schedules
- plan meals for the week; decide together using what’s available at the supermarket
- connect with each other over meals and at play and rest times
- balance time for rest, play and learning activities; if you can convince your little ones to rest a bit
- try and have some fun; it’s an unsettling time so have fun together! We all deserve a bit of fun every now and then
- try and make time for you; make sure you all have time for you
Supporting those with severe mental illness
If you have family or friends that you would usually support who have a severe mental illness, read the frequently asked questions from Rethink Mental Illness website. They may help you to plan through the lockdown.
Supporting our colleagues
A recent study proved that the average UK worker will spend more time with their colleagues than family and friends! With over 2000 of us now working from home, that dynamic has changed. For a lot of us, those colleagues will be friends too, or at least a support network when at work.
It's important that the support and social contact we shared isn't lost, just because we're no longer seeing each other face to face.
Support with bereavement and grief
We're living in unsettling times where daily news reports bring new totals about confirmed cases and death rates, locally and around the world. The constant reminder of our mortality is difficult for some people to cope with, but we will all experience loss at some point in our life.
We must be mindful of each other and what we may each be dealing with. Bereavement of someone we know, whether because of coronavirus or through other circumstances is difficult to manage, particularly as restrictions around visiting those we care about or attending funerals mean some people may not be able to say goodbye as they would wish.
Read the useful guidance from Cruse Bereavement Care for those of us dealing with bereavement and grief during the coronavirus.
Equality and diversity
When we're isolated from each other, whether by distance or technology, we need to make sure we're continuing to support each other in the best way. This is a time where we all need to come together, for each other. Unfortunately, working in these ways some interactions will go unnoticed, or emotions following conversations may not be picked up.
Working in these ways means reports of bullying or poor behaviour will be less obvious. It’s important that we do our best to look after each other even though we're all living in a high-pressure situation now.
Use the dignity at work policy (or ask your manager for it) if you feel you or someone you know in Dorset Council is not being treated with the dignity we all deserve. Now more than ever, let’s remember our behaviours, work collaboratively, take responsibility, recognise our successes and value our differences, but always treat each other with respect.
The way we are living our lives mean some things must be put on hold; social gatherings, birthday celebrations and for some the way they practice their faith. There are still many religious festivals taking place during this time. These will still be happening, but maybe in different ways than people are used to.
If you have colleagues you know celebrate these events, take some time, connect with them and find out how they are adapting practising their faith through coronavirus.