As an essential worker, how do I talk to my loved ones about COVID-19?
So if you’re an essential worker, you may have been spending the last few weeks...months dealing with some really heavy things, and it would be really nice if you could talk with your loved ones about these. However, sometimes it’s hard to get the conversation started and so the first thing you want to do is just check in: “Is this a time that you and I can talk?” might be a way that you start the conversation.
Next, you’re going to give them a low-impact debriefing by letting them know that what you’re about to say might be really heavy. So it might look like this: “Hey, these last few months have been tough on everyone, and I really want to talk with you about some of the really big feelings I’ve been having. Some of them are intense. Is this a good time for us to talk? And if it’s not, can we figure out a better time for us to talk? I could really use your support.”
How do I handle questions they might have for me?
As an essential worker, you’ve decided that you want to talk with your loved ones, your friends, your support system about your experience. Now as they’re engaging and talking about, you know, your experience, they may ask you questions that are helpful or they might ask you questions that you’re actually not comfortable with answering. It is okay to create healthy boundaries. If there is a question that you do not feel comfortable answering at this time, you might say something just like that: “I’m not comfortable going into that right now.” Or you might even share the reason you’re not comfortable: “That’s just too heavy for me to get into right now, and I just don’t think it would be helpful for me to answer that. Please understand.”
Lastly, your family might really push and want to know details and, to be honest, some of those details might not be the healthiest thing for everyone to hear. When you get that pushback, you can even say, “I feel like you’re really trying to push me to answer questions I’m not comfortable with. If you want to support me, please support my boundary. Thank you.”