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What to do when friends and family do not take COVID-19 seriously

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Discussing COVID-19 safety concerns with parents can be stressful.

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Visit the WHO website for the latest updates and information on the coronavirus pandemic.

When it comes to COVID-19 security, in an ideal world, everyone in your life would be on the same page. But unfortunately this is often not the case. You may feel that you are living in a safe “bubble” with room mates, a partner, friends or family who all seem to follow the same rules, which is fine.

But for some it’s just not the case. You may be checking with people in the same household because you do not see eye to eye face masks, social distancing or other problems. Or maybe you have friends and family who push you to socialize in person, when it does not feel safe for you.

However, in the current state of the world, you are sure to have someone in your life who just does not take the virus (and the precautions to slow its spread) seriously. And while you may feel the need to avoid them or cut them out of your life until the pandemic is over, there are some things you can try before taking more extreme measures.

Since this is a problem that too many of us (myself included) have to deal with, I lost the psychologist and integrative mental health expert, Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge for advice on how to deal with this stressful dynamic. Continue reading for Dr. Capanna-Hodd’s tips on what to do when people around you do not take the virus seriously.

Set boundaries

Especially if you live with people who disagree COVID-19 securitySetting boundaries is crucial to your mental and physical well-being. You can set boundaries around everything from what you will talk about and get involved in, to what you are willing to physically do with someone who does not take things seriously.

“Setting a boundary with family members may make you feel uncomfortable at first, but it’s a healthy way to let others know what they can expect from you. When it comes to security measures, let family members know what your expectations are at home and when they are. around you, says Dr. Capanna-Hodge.

When you let friends and family members know your expectations, it is likely that they will feel confused or even upset at first. But it is important to communicate your needs and expectations in a way that is respectful but firm.

If you do not want to spend time around people who do not wear masks in public, tell the person that you really value them in your life and want to spend time with them, but to continue to do so you either need them to wear a mask or you will only connect to them via Zoom calls if they do not. Or, if you live with family members who do not wear masks in public, tell them that you will keep your distance from them (as much as you can) while you are both at home.

Read more: How to use Zoom as a pro: 13 video chat hacks to try on your next call

“You can only control yourself … you can not control others, so establishing these boundaries helps protect your mental health and reduce your stress. You do not have to take responsibility for educating family members about safety precautions, and you can take it energy and time and use it for self-care such as exercise, breathing, meditation, etc. “, says Dr. Capanna-Hodge.

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Try to avoid getting angry or using critical language when raising concerns.

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Leave the criticism in your conversations

As Dr. Capanna-Hodge mentioned earlier, it is not your responsibility to educate your family members, friends or roommates about safety precautions. But if you want to share information with them or discuss security measures, you can do so in a way that communicates your concerns without criticism.

“When talking to a beloved family member about concerns such as COVID, their blood pressure, exercise regimen or any health-related topic, it is always best to start from a place of love and support. Ask what you can do to help instead of criticizing,” says Dr. Capanna-Hodge When was the last time you felt like doing something that someone asked if it was delivered in a tone that was condescending or negative?

“Your mother who hears ‘mother, do you want me to get a lot of disposable masks or some cloths’ feels much better than, ‘You will die if you do not wear a mask,'” she said.

It is also good to use “I” statements when talking to friends and family so that they understand where you are coming from. For example, saying “Dad, I’m worried about your health and so I do not want to potentially expose you to the virus if I get over”, or “Hi, I would like to come to your baby shower, but I do not want to take the risk that I can make you or someone else sick. “

Remember that some people, especially the elderly, are resistant to change. So know when it’s time to stop pushing them. “It’s not your job to preach to others about what they should do; you can only control what you do,” says Dr. Capanna-Hodge. With that in mind, if you’re still not comfortable with how your family or friends are dealing with things, you can respectfully respect spending time with them physically until things get better.

Let them know what you are and are not comfortable with, and if it’s a Zoom call instead of your own dinner call, tell them. If they really respect you and want to spend time with you, they will do whatever it takes to see you – even if it’s not IRL.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a doctor or other qualified healthcare provider if you have questions about a medical condition or health goal.

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