There are many reasons families in self-isolating households might feel stressed and tense. These range from trying to balance a working schedule with familial obligations to boredom and fear. Here are a few of the most common causes along with tips and advice on how to sidestep stress so that you can get through this pandemic with your sanity safely intact.
Working From Home
As the Studio Be Mindfulness blog has pointed out before, working from home is a dream come true for many. Unfortunately, when you don’t have a choice, punching a time clock from home can quickly become a nightmare. What’s important here is that you learn to separate work from home.
This can be difficult since your office is in your home. Set specific hours, and try to avoid multitasking while you work. In other words, let the laundry go until 5 PM, and quit answering emails from the dinner table. You’ll also want to get up and move around to give your eyes and mind a break, both of which will help reduce work-at-home stress.
It’s also wise to address any clutter or cleaning issues now to ensure you have a supportive, comfortable place to work where you don’t feel the constant need to pick up or tidy. Remember, limiting distractions is critical to workplace productivity.
You have probably heard your children utter the phrase “I’m bored” more times than you can possibly count over the last several months. And you’ve probably already exhausted their tolerance for board games and books. Fortunately, summer is right around the corner, which provides a chance for everyone to get outside more often. Time outside can easily cut through boredom and stress. Whether it’s backyard activities, spending more time at the beach, hiking or even fishing, your family can get out of the house and reduce tension.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, 42% of couples noted the negative effect the pandemic has caused for their relationship, with more than 30% of people considering separation. This is known as a phenomenon called the pandemic divorce. It’s caused by spending entirely too much time with your spouse and not enough time on your own.
For a marriage to work, you have to forge relationships outside of your household. And since you cannot spend time with friends, family, and coworkers, you’ve likely already noticed that you have less intimacy and have nothing to talk about in your down time. If possible, plan to spend a few nights away, and encourage your spouse to do the same occasionally. As they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and a cabin in the mountains for a weekend is much easier on your heart, wallet and mind than a divorce.
If you both determine your relationship needs outside assistance, turn to Warwick Psychological Services for counseling or therapeutic yoga to address marital and personal stress.
Lack of Socialization
Even if you are antisocial most of the time, you’ve probably noticed that the lack of human interaction has gotten to you. And if you have kids, they may already be showing signs of depression because they miss their friends. However, social interactions are crucial during childhood.
Make sure that your kids have one-on-one time with their best friends, and don’t be shy about letting them hop on Zoom for a virtual powwow with their pals. Any in-person play dates should be kept outside and in small groups, and they should center around activities, such as riding bikes or hiking, that encourage social distancing.
One of the top reasons we are all stressed out is simply because we are afraid. Fortunately, scientists are finally starting to dig deeper into the actual coronavirus, and we know much more about it today than we did in March. If you or your kids still feel apprehensive, look for resources for accurate information. Knowledge is truly power in this instance, and knowing your local infection rates and your actual risk of contracting the virus can ease your mind.
While isolating remains one of the best ways to stay safe, it’s also one of the quickest routes to mental health issues. Look for ways to reduce stress within yourself, with your spouse, and for your children. Small steps, such as taking a weekend away and encouraging safe play dates, are all important actions that will reduce stress when you need it most.
Read more by Emma at Emma’s Website