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Emotional challenges will cause more havoc than Covid-19 – Olusola

The Coronavirus pandemic ravaging the world today has created a new world order that requires couples and families to more than ever before learn to bond, because the situation and its fallouts have compulsorily stuck everyone together. Here Lanre Olusola, founder and chief catalyst at the Olusola Lanre Coaching Academy, reviews the different scenarios, how couples can manage their emotions and even get closer to each other. SEYI JOHN SALAU reports:  

 

What are the biggest challenges of this situation for couples and families who are suddenly stuck together 24/7?

I believe that many couples and families are currently overwhelmed and stressed. They are daily bombarded by the negative news about the coronavirus. The media reports are causing fear, anxiety, worry and panic. These emotions will cause many conflicts and affect people’s immunity which in turn will create other diseases beyond the effect of the coronavirus. We must be aware of the fact that our psychology influences our biology. According to Bruce Lipton, a doctor, ‘95 percent of disease is caused by stress and 100 percent of stress is caused by wrong beliefs’. World Health Organisation (WHO) says ‘80-90 percent of health challenges are preventable and accounts for approximately 90 percent of healthcare costs on individuals, organisations or nations while 95 percent of this is stress-related’. Stress will cause more havoc long term than Covid-19.

 

Are there particular kinds of people who will find this situation (all the uncertainty and being stuck at home) particularly tough?

Apart from everyone and every nation globally feeling the pain of being stuck at home, in my own opinion people who are extroverts will be particularly challenged with being stuck at home. Extroverts need constant stimuli to stay interested in one particular thing, they get bored easily. They derive their livelihood and generate their energy from networking and connecting with other people daily and if alone for too long, they become very sad and lonely.

Teenagers will also have an issue staying at home as they get bored very easily. Parents and guardians should learn to not judge or criticise their feelings or thoughts during this period. Parents should be sensitive towards their teens’ range of emotions such as tantrums, anger, confusion, jealousy, non-compliant attitudes and most importantly they will show their dislike and irritation towards their parents or elders at such a time as this. With the level of fear, anxiety and panic today the intensity of these emotions will trigger defiant behaviors.

Finally, people who live with violent and abusive partners who can’t leave will particularly have it diffuse during this period

 

How can couples and families make it easier on each other? Could you share a few tips, strategies or practical things they can do every day to make things easier for themselves and their partner?

As a result of the pandemic, many couples are stuck with each other at home; this will evoke and amplify their underlying conflicts, especially with the fact that offices (an excuse for escape from our partners daily) are closed.

Many couples have forgotten what they love and like about their partners. They’re now faced with and stuck with their partner’s quirks, annoying nuisances 24 hours a day, seven days a week and to make matters worse nobody knows how long. To this end, let me share a few practical tips for couples and families to make the best of being stuck together; Develop a renewed interest in each other; show interest and participate in what your partner is interested in; find common fun activities to do together, listen to music, dance, exercise etc; recommit to each other and intentionally work towards developing a deeper personal and intimate relationship; improve intimacy; communicate with each other and laugh together; be extra kind to and be patient with one another; be best of friends and forgive each other (Because you’re stuck together); understand each other better and speak each other’s love language, and tell each other daily how much you care about and appreciate each other and show it.

There will be couples out there who were planning to separate but who are now stuck together – perhaps for months. What advice would you give to them?

For couples who are planning to separate during this Covid-19 pandemic I will say rethink your decision, do not separate because of the following reason; No lawyer or court will be able to fully work on your separation and divorce matter now as they will all be focused on their own family and personal safety at this time; except in the case of violence and abuse (Physical and emotional) you should stay at home with your partner because you’re safer there. Wait out this storm and be calm, don’t provoke the abuser. Don’t leave home because leaving will further expose you to danger. Where will you go anyway as most hotels are shutting down. Also if you have children now is not the time you want to separate your family because you never know how your children will react to and manage this reality amidst the anxiety, and fear caused by the coronavirus.

Unfortunately, some people will be stuck with partners who are physically or verbally abusive – what (if anything) can they do to stay safe? Do you have any advice on how to defuse tension?

 Approximately 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe physical violence, and abuse. The intensity and frequency of the violence in my opinion will spike at this time because people are confined to the same space without the liberty of going out, which can be very frustrating. Financial issues can also be a trigger for violence at such a time as this.

Abuse is simply about power and control. So victims must do the following: Break the silence and tell someone. Give yourself the permission to leave, move back to your family or a good friend who will want you safe and appreciate spending quality time with you at this time. Seek professional help from life coaches, therapists and psychologists. If you are going through any of these issues right now, please go to CoachME Online – a digital coaching app with about 100 coaches available to work with you in real time. Download the app from the Google store if you’re an Android user or go to http://www.coach-meonline.com to access the web platform if you’re an iOS user. Our coaches, specialised in different areas of life, are waiting to help you through this stressful time. I also read recently that the South African government is making a safe place available for women who face abuse to be able to stay during this time. I think this is something other governments can emulate.

 

Are there any tactics/strategies people living in cramped conditions can use to have a break from each other – where there is not enough space to physically retreat into another room, for example- What kind of thoughts can help people to support each other and get through this together?

For this to happen, couples should agree to give each other some emotional space. They should do things like exercising alone, reading, listening to music with headphones, connecting with friends and loved ones – talk to them on the phone and use various chat apps or devices that allow you video call people.Also observing “me time” is key.

Another category is the people who live alone and are battling mental issues like depression. How should they manage themselves at this time?

For this category of people, I will advise that they work on boosting their dose of D.O.S.E. daily.

D.O.S.E is an acronym I coined for the 4 happy hormones Dopamine; Oxytocin; Serotonin; Endorphins.Here are some practical tips to BoostYourDoseofDOSE.

Dopamine boost tips: Eat foods rich in Tyrosine (Fish, Avocado, Almonds, bananas etc.); Exercise at least 3 times a week; Meditate; Get good regular sleep; Listen to good soul music, and take food supplements.

Oxytocin boost tips: Be content; Increase your creativity; Enjoy interactions online (Join online social media communities); Increase your empathy, warmth and trust

Serotonin boost tips: Reduce your sugar intake; Take Vitamin B Complex during stress; Eat Healthy and balanced; Eat high protein foods like turkey, and stay emotionally calm.

Endorphins boost tips: Eat dark chocolates; Eat your favorite food; Avoid sitting for too long stand up, stretch and walk around every 55 mins for 5 mins; Laugh more; Smile more; Eat spicy foods; Use natural fragrances like lavender on your pillow; Drink a glass of wine, and get online Emotional Freedom Therapy (EFT).

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