During these uncertain times, the most important things to take care of are your own mindset and sanity, so do whatever it takes. Also, don’t judge yourself for whatever you do or don’t do during this time. There is a certain amount of pressure out there at the moment to use this time to take up a new hobby or learn a new skill. For many people this seem inconceivable as simply getting through the day is hard enough, so don’t feel guilty about what you “should” be doing. This is also just a great time to ‘pause.’
Here are some tips on how to navigate the road ahead, whether you are living with others or on your own:
Living with others
You have probably already accepted the fact that you will get on each other’s nerves at some point. “Reset” each day, so you can let go of any frustrations or tension from the previous day and start again.
Be open and honest with your partner/friends/family about how you’re feeling. Be sensitive to the feelings of others, too, at this time and don’t assume everyone else is feeling the same as you. Find out what their concerns are. Are they worried about job security or home schooling or financial pressures? Ask them.
In a relationship?
Just because there’s no escape, now is not the time to vent about all the ways your partner irritates you or to thrash out what’s “wrong” with them. Leave big discussions until after this period has ended; that way you can explore how much your reactions have been affected by heightened emotions.
This situation can magnify everything. It’s like living in the Big Brother house – things that would be trivial at any other time get blown out of proportion. If this happens, it doesn’t mean you have a problem in your relationship, it just means that you’re in an unusual situation that will end.
Working from home?
If you’re working from home now, find a new routine that works for you. Introduce some boundaries to prevent you from over-working, that keep you on track and stop you getting distracted. It can be helpful to exercise some discipline around finish times so that you can observe evenings and weekends with a different routine.
If you and your partner or friends are all working from home, discuss the challenges that each of you is facing and find out what support you need from those around you, in order to keep distractions to a minimum so you can keep on being productive. This could mean agreeing to times when the house is quiet so you can have phone calls, or keeping the children occupied and quiet in another room.
Don’t assume that your partner knows exactly what you need at this time. Make sure you are clear with them, while finding out what they need from you.
For some people, working from home might sound great, but it can cause additional stress on top of coping with home schooling, not being in a normal work environment and juggling your tasks.
Honour each other’s boundaries. That means you don’t need to keep checking on a partner throughout the day. Allow them to have some peace and quiet on their own. That goes for yourself, too.
Focus on your own self care, whatever that means to you, whether it’s reading, sleeping longer, catching up with friends and family or giving yourself a well-deserved break. Just allow some of your usual pressures to be reduced.
To keep your mind in the most productive place, it can be helpful to get into a “stay at home” routine as soon as possible.
If you’re living alone, then you’re probably already happy in your own company. But being isolated without friends and family can be extra tough, especially if you are feeling anxious about your own personal situation or events happening in the world right now. Take advantage of the free apps such as Zoom to call friends and family, making sure to arrange to speak to at least one person everyday on video call.
As the duration of this situation is unknown, it can be easy to become more relaxed as time goes by. If you’re living with your partner, check on the effort that each of you is making regarding personal appearance and hygiene. If your partner is getting dressed properly and making an effort to groom themselves, you should make some effort too.
I do believe that no matter what tensions arise during this time, we will come out of this situation even stronger and with a closer bond than before.
For everyone out there who is struggling, please reach out to friends and family and talk about it. Lean on them, that’s what they’re there for. Don’t assume you can’t let off some steam just because most people are in the same boat.