Does social isolation at home have you spending just a little more time with your partner, children, parents, siblings or roommates than what you're used to?
Good relationships require a balance of space, togetherness, and good communication - and during this period, it may take just a little extra effort to make sure everyone stays strong, healthy and stable.
We’ve called on qualified counsellor Megan Sanders to share some tips for managing household relationships and avoiding stress during social isolation.
A healthy routine is the foundation of a happy household and creates a sense of 'normality' while in social isolation. It can also help you stay productive and motivated.
To stay accountable, try filling out a daily/weekly planner together and colour coding different activities. Exercise, mealtimes, household chores, leisure and family time are all things that could be included.
Boundaries are important for keeping everyone happy when you're in each other's space 24/7, and you’ll need to work together to establish and maintain them.
For a start, be sure to communicate what is acceptable and unacceptable. From there, you can set rules that help you get along.
For example, when on a work conference call, go to the office - no calls in the living room. 'No work talk after 7 pm' or 'maintain a clear distinction between work time and family-time’ are also good boundaries.
Keep the space
Designate certain areas in the house for specific tasks or activities to ensure you're not in each other's space all the time. When it's time for you to be at work, go to your designated 'work area' in the house and keep that space strictly for work.
Do the same with other areas in the home - use the chillout area for relaxation, your workout area for working out, your bedroom for sleeping and so on. Doing this can limit frustration and avoid tension within the household.
Random acts of kindness
Be kind with one another.
Rather than doing everything as 'one', take turns in doing things for each other. Make a meal, do the washing, bring someone a cup of coffee or surprise them with home-delivered restaurant food.
Random acts of kindness increase the release of happy hormones, regulating moods and strengthening trust. They also have been shown to maintain the connection in relationships, which is just what we might need right now!
Schedule in daily alone time. Give yourself time to be an individual and uphold your individuality.
Try doing at least one thing a day on your own. Go for a walk, do something creative, or maybe try a little gardening (just make sure you follow the latest social distancing requirements).
Spend quality time with those in your household. Do this by being present and limiting distractions (i.e. put your phone away) so you can truly enjoy time together. Remember, quality time is always favoured over quantity.
Communication is key! Always be clear, open and honest, and try to use 'I' statements. But remember, sometimes ‘proving’ who was right might be the wrong thing to do.
So, how could you make a start on managing household relationships? So, how is your household dynamic during isolation? Do you want to make a start on managing relationships?
Begin by reflecting on how your household relationships are going. Take note, and make the small tweaks where needed to keep things happy, healthy and fun.
If you or someone you know is struggling with social distancing, you’re not alone and there are several places you can
turn to for help.
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This article contains general information only and does not take into account the health, personal situation or needs of any person. In conjunction with your GP or treating health care professional, please consider whether the information is suitable for you and your personal circumstances.