Updated: Apr 22, 2020
With our normal lives, coming to an abrupt halt, we are now face to face with complications in our routines, we didn’t have to endure or were minimally exposed to. While most of us are working from home, some of us also have to juggle, home-schooling our kids, while working, spend hours we aren’t used to with partners, teenagers spending inordinate time with their parents and siblings or simply moving back to your childhood home in the vicinity of extended families, to take care of our older relatives.
Whatever our situation, we’re all craving a sense of normalcy, our privacies and space. Yet, not all is lost during these times.
True there are a host of new challenges and pressures, which bring in higher levels of anxiety, uncertainty, loneliness and anger, but there are many ways, in which we all can help ourselves, get along better with our families, companions and friends, meanwhile, trying to avoid unnecessary clashes and frustrations.
These are emotions that we tend to experience in our daily busier than ever lives, but the global lockdown has amplified them beyond our tolerance.
After speaking to all my team members, these are some takeaways on how we are all maintaining happy relationships, within our homes.
Be considerate & avoid criticism
We need to be mindful that all of us are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, uncertain and disappointed in some way and this calls for showing more compassion and consideration that we would normally. Adults might feel a loss of privacy and space, if their children have moved back in, especially while the adults are working from home, adolescents might feel awkward sharing space with their parents again and even the novelty of not going to school has worn off for children.
This feeling of being suffocated is mutual across all age groups and so, if disagreements should happen, then take space to breathe & communicate when everyone is calmer again. Remember, solidarity for each other is key to surviving it.
Maintain a sense of normalcy
The most important aspect of our lives, that we’ve all lost, is - Routine. Maintaining our normal routines, even if partially, can alleviate much of our anxieties, caused by this isolation, which can make it very tempting to fall into irregular sleep hours, working in our pyjamas, falling into unhealthy eating habits, or skipping our workouts. By creating a sense of normalcy, separating work hours and creating planning relaxing routines for the weekends, we can create a more positive outlook towards these unique times.
Communicate & accept our emotions
Try to communicate your fears and anxiety triggers to your lockdown partner and learn the same from them. Like they say,
Prevention is better than cure.
Sure, this might sound like a lot of work, but its certainly handy to know when one of us needs to stay calm, so the other can navigate their emotions in a healthy space. Building these boundaries has never been more important than now, when we live in confined spaces, spending all our awake hours in certain company. Taking care of ourselves is as key in taking care of our family partners and encouraging them to do the same is handy too.
Distribute chores fairly
Often times we see our parents take a larger burden of the chores, even when we visit them as adults.
But this isn’t the time to take it for granted.
Whether we are isolating with our parents, partners or friends, taking care of daily chores, without falling into the trap of procrastination, is a smart way of eliminating a major chunk of disagreements.
Family meal time
Aim to have at least one meal together, as a family, shutting out the digital clutter of mobile phones and simply revisit the simpler times of a family dinner, which we have all enjoyed since childhood. Use this time to connect with positive and encouraging thoughts towards each other and to bring in forgiveness for anyone’s difficult time during the day.
Being realistic about our own shortcomings and expectations, and those of our family members, allows us to understand that there is no right or wrong way to navigate through this maze. We all have a spectrum of emotions, which is currently on the tipping point, so being forgiving, towards our own patterns and habits, as well as those of our partners, can help us avoid the higher end of the anxiety spectrum.
But most importantly, for people isolating on their own, without any other human contact, constantly speaking with your family and friends, can help in overcoming not just the loneliness, but also build on these relationships, which become more tender with the distance.
I hope we all get to the other side, with happy, strong and healthy relationships.