WebMD BlogsWebMD Doctors

A Bright Side to Sheltering in Place With Your Family

father and daughter playing and laughing
Hansa Bhargava, MD - Blogs
By Hansa D. Bhargava, MDBoard-certified pediatricianMay 15, 2020
From the WebMD Archives

For many families, stepping out of our normal work and social routines, staying home, and limiting our interaction with the outside world has caused incredible mental, relational, and financial distress. By now, at week 9 (or more, for some of us) of social distancing, I know many parents are feeling overwhelmed with anxiety at the thought of continuing to stay home.

But could there also be a bright side to it?

I went for a walk with a good friend (social distanced of course), and we talked about life as a mom in this new world. Her kids, aged 12, 14, and 18, have been under lockdown with online school for 2 months. When asked how they were doing, she smiled and said she actually loves being home – “Sometimes I’m grateful for having a break from all the running around we used to do.” With all of the baseball, choir, homework, and driving around they used to do in the evenings, they rarely had time to sit down for a proper dinner, and certainly didn’t have time for board games or movies. Lately her daughter has taken to the kitchen making pancakes and even pizza from scratch. “It’s been really nice, to get off the hamster wheel.”

Other parents echoed her thoughts. Sherry’s family, with 3 college-aged kids, has had their entire family at home for 2 months. She says she finds it to be a “treasure of time” – she’s been enjoying kicking back and just being with them once again, knowing that this type of time is rare.

Of course, there are many families who are seeing the other side of this – the added stress of job loss, or managing working from home with young children, or having an elderly parent to take care of. There are certainly issues of anxiety, loneliness, and depression as the latest Kaiser survey has shown.

But this time with family may be something that can act as a buffer to this stress, especially if viewed from that perspective.

I think it’s important that we try to look for the silver linings in this situation where we can. Like the rare opportunity of having time to reach out to a very old friend from high school and catch up after many years, or watching your 13-year-old son make donuts from scratch, just because they have the time to do it.

In the past week, I am grateful that I was able to do both of these things. It was wonderful to talk to my childhood friend after so many years – and my son’s donuts were delicious!

I know that there is incredible stress and anxiety right now, especially since there is uncertainty along with all the other effects of being closed down. But if we could consider using this time off the hamster wheel to just breathe and catch up, maybe we can get something good out of this.




WebMD Blog
© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.
Blog Topics:
About the Author
Hansa D. Bhargava, MD

Hansa Bhargava, MD, is Chief Medical Officer at Medscape Education and a board-certified pediatrician. She is the author of Building Happier Kids: Stress-busting Tools for Parents. With expertise in parenting, mental health, and pregnancy, she has helped develop the WebMD Baby App and WebMD Pregnancy App. A regular contributor to Forbes, she is frequently interviewed by major news outlets on issues of health and well-being in children. In addition to her work at Medscape Education, she has collaborated with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and is an elected executive member of the AAP Committee on Communications and Media.

More from the WebMD Doctors Blog

View all posts on WebMD Doctors

Latest Blog Posts on WebMD

View all blog posts

Important: The opinions expressed in WebMD Blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Blogs are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD Blogs as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.

Read More