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Advice for dealing with covid conflict

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By Fiona Reid
Advice for dealing with covid conflict

SPENDING time with others under the current circumstances is likely to result in disputes and arguments at some point.

But Relationships Scotland Dumfries and Galloway have provided some advice to help make lockdown more harmonious.

Chief executive John Dougan said: “Everyone is experiencing some loss and change to their normal way of life, and may be feeling anxious and stressed. The conflict in your household may be something that was there before and it has got worse, or it may be caused by the current situation.

“The lockdown measures are restricting our movements and we are likely to get tetchy, annoyed or just plain angry with others at times. Recognising that this is hard for us all and being able to talk about what is upsetting us or getting us down is important.”

He also flagged up that youngsters are also experiencing significant changes and uncertainties, and may be feeling sad, or angry, cross or short tempered, adding: “It is important to allow them to express their emotions, and to listen to their concerns.”

John lists common annoyances as lack of time to yourself, concerns about money, noise, working at home, demands of children, different routines and expectations, boredom, feeling powerless, and concerns about health risks.

And he said: “Some of these we might be able to change, other things might be more challenging.

“However, what we can do is talk about our anxieties and concerns, and having someone listen to those and trying to hear the others frustration can go a long way to helping to relieve the situation.”

When it comes to dealing with arguments, he said: “Stress and anxiety stimulate our brains to react and our bodies to produce hormones which can lead to aggressive and unhelpful behaviour.

“We need to re-engage the thinking part of our brain, rather than the reactive part of our brains, and bring ourselves back to a balanced state.”

Steps that can help include:

  • Take a moment – Try not to react immediately. Pause, take a breath and take time to think before responding.
  • Agree a suitable time to talk about issues when you are more likely to be calm, and have uninterrupted time and space, and are not tired or hungry!
  • Listen with interest – Try to think about how things are from the other person’s perspective and to understand their viewpoint. Give them uninterrupted time to speak.
  • Tackle one issue at a time – Focus on the most important things and talk about these one at a time.
  • Try to say something positive
  • Talk about how you feel and what would be helpful for you
  • Use ‘I’ statements rather than ‘you’ statements and try to avoid words like ‘always’ and ‘never’

John added: “There may be a number of solutions to the problem you are discussing. Be creative and be prepared to compromise.

“Focus on what you can control, not what you can’t. You are responsible for your own behaviour.

“Be kind to yourself and generous to others in these difficult circumstances.”

  • Relationships Scotland Dumfries & Galloway are based at Nith Avenue in Dumfries and can be contacted via their website or social media.

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