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Managing Home Isolation and Our Relationships During COVID-19

Managing Home Isolation and Our Relationships During COVID-19

By Susan Williams

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing us to live in ways we never have before.

Specifically, home isolation is likely the first time for many of us to spend an extended amount of time together with only a spouse or partner, and with adolescents/young adults that may be now at home from school. This type of situation can be a strain for any relationship.

And China is now showing some us some of the results that can come from this situation. The drastic increase in the number of divorce applications has spiked since they started to emerge from their quarantine.

So how do we manage this? How do we keep our relationships positive while we are housed together in isolation for extended periods of time?

In this Learning Bites segment, Dr. Sean Hayes, Clinical Psychologist and Co-Founder of Cohaesio shares with us some suggestions of ways to best manage our relationships in our homes as we isolate.

Here is our discussion;

These are the highlights of our conversation;

  • When self isolating with others, there are three things that we should consider;
    • Things we want to do to address our emotions
    • Things we want to do to address our behaviours and/or actions
    • Things we want to do as a collective (with our spouse / our children)
  • The first thing we all should do is recognize that this is NOT normal life and lower the bar of our expectations a little
  • Given that this life experience is putting us in type of a “fight or flight” mode, we should anticipate¬† to see more tension and irritability in our homes
  • One thing that could help decrease this is to compliment each other once each day. Find something small to say to show how much you appreciate your spouse/partner and have your children do the same thing
  • Also be sure to find opportunities to laugh. Humour can help release stress and help people relax
  • One of the biggest challenges in this situation is the potential conflict over resources. For example internet access (for downloading/video streaming/work/school work), computers, quiet space all could be in short supply
  • Put together an agenda for everyone in the house as to what activities are scheduled, when are they and what space does each person need for them
    • A key component of this is to ensure that everyone’s priorities are recognized and acknowledged
  • Also, recognize that a closed door has meaning and to respect this. If you can ensure that everyone has some a time away space – a place to relax. Also, if you do feel you’re getting frustrated, say that you need some space and make sure that everyone knows that this is okay to do
  • In a tight space this can be more difficult. This is when you may need to have some signals (for example for someone to turn down the volume) and in a way that is not insulting
  • Teleconferences, television, radios can all impede on someone’s space so everyone needs to recognize that there isn’t the space for everything at the same time and find ways to manage this positively
  • Some signs to watch for if there is a problem or an issue is anything excessive. Eccesive eating, drinking too much caffeine, sleeping considerably more then you normally need, compulsive worrying and letting the kitchen or bedroom go into disarray can all be signs there is a problem
  • Television / movies are fine as long as they are appropriate for the person watching and again not in excess. It’s even better if you can make it more of a shared activity to enjoy together
  • Family dinners can be good. This gives everyone an opportunity to sit, put down the mobile devices, turn off the TV and talk about the day. It can also provide the opportunity to discuss if there are some behaviours that do need to be addressed. It can also be the time to compliment each other on how well they are doing in these challenging times
  • Finally, this is giving us the opportunity to get back to all the things we know are good for us. Eat, exercise, sleep. This is also giving us the chance to have good conversations about the things we want to do now and also when this is over.

So there are some great suggestions and ideas of how to manage relationships in these challenging times. As Dr. Hayes shared – who knows, we may even walk away with some positive memories of our time together.

Stay safe everyone.

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Susan Williams is the Founder of Booming Encore. Being a Boomer herself, Susan loves to discover and share ways to live life to the fullest. She shares her experiences, observations and opinions on living life after 50 and tries to embrace Booming Encore's philosophy of making sure every day matters.