Self-isolation is absolutely necessary considering the coronavirus outbreak. However, no one said it would be easy. You’re stuck in your home 24/7 with the same people every day. Parents now struggle. Keeping your children indoors for weeks is definitely a challenge.
Here’s how to make the most of it and try to enjoy the time you have with your loved ones.
Self-isolation is a necessity
Social distancing isn’t easy for anyone, but it can be very tricky when multiple people live together. Even if you love your family very much and you’re wildly in love with your partner/spouse, you’re still going to need your space and some time apart from now and then, and it completely normal.
Learn how to navigate this new experience and enjoy it (if possible) because while you can safely ignore these etiquette rules during the coronavirus pandemic, you still have to be polite to the people around you.
Create a schedule
If you still want to have a relationship even after the quarantine is over, you need to have a schedule that allows partners to spend time together and apart, says Claire Barber, a certified mental health consultant and relationship expert based in Detroit, Michigan.
A schedule is very important because it will help both individuals to still feel productive, Barber says. “Setting an alarm, getting up together, doing chores, keeping the house tidy, having some physical activity, and spending time alone are all important,” she says.
Plan for alone time
Now is the time to be open and honest with each other about your emotional needs. “If you need time alone, voice it—and if you need attention, ask for that, too,” Barber says.
While it is hard to have some alone time when being “stuck” with your family in quarantine, you can take some time for yourself in the form of a short solo walk or a soak in a tub, especially if you live in a small apartment in a city this is absolutely necessary to keep you sane. “Constantly being around anyone, including your partner can be stressful,” she says.
Make time for exercise
Yes, you can still do your exercises in your home, because now you have all the free time in the world and you can’t find excuses. Besides being good for your body, fitness also has numerous benefits for your mind and overall well being.
“There are a lot of emotions and uncertainty wrapped up right now and just doing some simple movements will get the blood flowing through your body and give you a jolt of energy,” shares Morgan Kline, co-founder of Burn Boot Camp.
She advises everyone to resist the temptation of turning into a couch potato, eating their way through quarantine, as that could cause or worsen a sense of disconnection and loneliness.
It doesn’t really matter what you do, as long as you take your time and do a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise every day. “Move your body and your body will thank you,” Kline says.
Create a social distancing version of your roommate agreement
Everything has changed with respect to your living arrangements, and this needs to be discussed, says Anna Feiner, senior vice president of DKC, a public relations agency. “Just like in any relationship, transparent communication about what you’re comfortable with during this time will be the best way to find a middle ground and avoid any unnecessary conflict,” Feiner says.
“Take time to sit down with your roommates and discuss how to best adjust your cleaning and personal space boundaries.”
Yes, you can still enjoy some fresh air, as long as you’re keeping the distance of six feet from other people. Taking a walk in nature is one of the most overlooked, yet most powerful things we can do to free our minds, says Jennifer Walsh, leader of Wellness Walks in New York City.
“We are experiencing the greatest migration indoors further separating ourselves from what our bodies and brains need to survive and thrive: nature.” Walsh explains that spending time walking outdoors increases focus and energy levels, boosts immunity, and more.
Even if you’re living 24/7 with your family, you still need to check-in on them and ask them how they feel, considering that it’s hard for everyone living under these circumstances.
“The biggest challenges I’ve faced so far are the cases in which both spouses are looking at what’s going on with different lenses—one person thinks the sky is falling and the other thinks people are making a big deal about it,” Michele Weiner-Davis, a Boulder, Colorado-based marriage and family therapist told CNN. “When people have different perspectives, they have different ideas of what needs to be done, and the only way to work around that is to communicate.”
Make time for romance
It is true that date nights at the restaurants and movies at the cinema are now out of the question, but you should still make time for romance.
Randy Schroeder, author of Simple Habits for Marital Happiness, told Parade that couples should go for walks together, cuddle while watching TV, and play board games in order to keep up the romance.
This is especially important if you are parenting young children, according to Zero to Three. You can’t remain calm and parent your children successfully unless you are mentally stable. This is why self-care is essential now and ever. If you can, make and agreement with your partner so you each have time to do something nice for yourself.
If you don’t have another adult support person at home, try to practice self-care while your children are napping, or in the morning before they get up.
If you have teens, you’re surely going to have a challenging self-quarantine and you’re going to be dealing with many emotions (theirs and your own).
It will be hard keeping up with them and with the disappointment, they’re feeling, like missing their friends, their social life, their prom, and maybe even their graduation ceremony.
This can make them super grumpy. Help yourself by helping them: validate their disappointment, according to Childmind. Listen to them without any judgment and give them room to explore their feelings of loss.
Accept growing pains
Some families still have their adult children living with them, or maybe old grandparents who moved back in with their adult children to save money or to receive help with childcare.
if this is the case, you’ll need to accept that there will be growing pains. Everyone is used to having their freedom, their own rules, and lifestyles. You’re going to have to get accustomed to new rules and new chores. It’s never easy to do that, but you have to let the little things slide, so everyone can get along.