(Originally published March 20th, 2020)
Irish charity, Ag Eisteacht, is usually busy training frontline staff to recognise the importance of relationship–building in practice. The team has trained over 3,000 frontline workers to date with the skills to adopt a relationship-centred approach.
With the charity’s current training schedule for healthcare workers, teachers and others on the frontline postponed for now, Ag Eisteacht is highlighting that good relationships are good for our health and wellbeing, particularly now during times of change or transition.
Dr Maeve Hurley, founder and CEO of Ag Eisteacht, said: “Evidence shows that quality relationships act as a buffer and a protective factor in our health and wellbeing. They make us feel safe, seen, soothed and able to share our worries and concerns.
“With Covid-19, we are facing a huge change in our way of being in the world which we did not expect, and this can bring up a lot of emotions such as anxiety and fear. Part of managing change is the process of coming to terms with this new situation we are all in. We hear of people losing loved ones, losing jobs, of adjusting to working from home and losing childcare and education routines. This involves an ike ‘how I see myself’, ‘how do I feel now’, ‘what is my role now’ and ‘what is my worldview now’? A quality relationship in our lives can help us through this. This doesn’t just mean relationships between partners; it can be a relationship with anyone within our circle.”
Dr Hurley and her team at Ag Eisteacht will be sharing insight and tips on relationships, including about conflict, which is inevitable in relationships but particularly now during this crisis.
She said: “Conflict is inevitable because of the 4 Ds in all relationships– difference, disagreement, debate and difficult and painful feelings. Given that we are now in closer contact with our family members / those in our home, it’s the quality of these relationships that will act as both risk and protective factors. It’s how we manage it that matters. Relationships are part of what keeps us healthy. They are a key determinate of our well and wellbeing.”
Dr Hurley believes that relational health needs to be factored into the picture in the overall healthcare strategy in Ireland.
She said: “We must build relational capacity in our communities so that we can all be that one good adult for each other.”