Challenges for Men During Coronavirus (COVID-19) Quarantine: Why Some Dads Are Struggling With Life Under Lockdown by Noel McDermott
Men, in general, have fewer social and emotional support systems, and these generally involve the sort of social activities that are currently banned because of the coronavirus (COVID-19), such as meeting friends at the pub/bar, playing sports, etc. The sense of isolation from this pandemic can be quite significant.
Men, overall, were not on the phone to friends prior to the virus and certainly are probably not doing it now. They may have only their partners to turn to, who are understandably busy with having the kids at home or are trying to meet their own emotional needs. This can leading guys to internalize more and present a strong front, resulting in higher levels of stress, with many also reporting unhealthy levels of alcohol consumption.
One of the big roles for dads is that dad is often the breadwinner. That role is significantly threatened currently, and this economic uncertainty is a very big issue. It can produce loss of identify and reactive depressive symptoms or reactive anxiety symptoms. Additionally, there is a sense of helplessness in the face of the enormity of the situation. Unhealthy coping strategies are emerging, including excess drinking. We have also seen significant issues around relapse in addiction issues.
Stop or Reduce Drinking: It Does Not Help
Stop now, as it is unwise to be drinking heavily during this lockdown and period of possible infection for coronavirus. Increased alcohol consumption is linked to physical health issues and mental health issues, including:
- significant reductions in immune functioning
- emotional problems
- relationships problems
- financial problems
- work problems
These problems are in abundance right now just from life circumstances without inviting them in by drinking on this situation. One of the best things you could do for yourself currently, in my opinion, to is go sober until we are through this situation.
Many guys are rising to the challenge, but the longer this situation continues the harder it is to manage. If you are concerned that the men in your life are struggling with life under lockdown, look for these classic warning signs:
- Sleep disturbances.
- Changes in mood.
- Changes in appetite.
- Changes in weight.
- Typically, for men, you will see an increase in the use of alcohol and issues around dysregulation (losing one’s temper more).
- Withdrawal is another sign of potential struggles.
Relationships Under Strain
A lot of relationships are under strain at the moment and due to very real fears of infection, financial insecurity, having to run a household as a school, a workplace and a home at the same time, not having enough personal space, loss of social support, etc. Many people are in survival mode, which can only be sustained for so long.
In some ways the problems will surface more as we come out of lockdown and people let go more. It is after the crisis we often count the cost. Without a doubt, many relationships will flounder during these times and many will become stronger. It is a time of these types of extremes and we are predicting many divorces and many babies as a result of this current situation.
Handy Checklist for Dads
- Simplify. Cut out complex task lists and make each day as simple as possible.
- Stay in the here and now. Avoid thinking about the future. Yes, we must be practical and plan, but as much as possible reduce your thinking to what you are experiencing in the moment and focus on how make the moment OK. Everything else will fall into place!
- Meditate. Learn how and do it now. It really does help.
- Stop drinking.
- Have good sleep hygiene, hydrate and eat well.
- Take naps.
- Show love to those around you.
- Practice self-care.
Although this may seem like a litany of problems, I believe we can help ourselves and loved ones in this situation by keeping communication channels open and following the above advice.
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