With the enhanced community quarantine in place, people have no choice but to stay at home to keep themselves and others safe from the novel coronavirus. To some, it’s an unexpected, restful break, an opportunity to spend more time with the family as classes get canceled and work from home is implemented. To others, however, it means being stuck with endless family drama, from children’s fights to chore wars.
Even if your family has a good relationship, the anxiety that the community quarantine and rising case numbers brings may result in emotions that are harder to manage. It’s hard to think about how one can survive the lockdown, work productively, and stay positive all throughout in this situation, but try to turn things around.
Here are some strategies on how you can stay sane while cooped up in your home:
Communicate and Cooperate
Arrange for a family meeting and talk about plans on how you can survive this home quarantine. This will set and manage expectations, at the same time, get everybody on board for a harmonious interaction, avoiding conflicts along the way. In a nutshell, these are the things you need to discuss in your meeting:
- Chore responsibilities. Talk about who does what and when. If you need to work all throughout the day, perhaps your sibling can take over the lunch dishes. After your shift ends in the afternoon, commit to doing the chore after dinner.
- Children’s activities. To keep little kids from fighting each other, have a game plan for their boredom. Dedicate learning time in the morning, nap time at noon, and play time in the afternoon. While you allow children to have their screen time, make sure to limit it, as too much exposure can affect sleep quality, and therefore make them more restless and irritable.
- Personal health. Aside from chore wars and kids’ petty fights, the status of one’s health can make for a restless household. That’s why it’s important that from the get-go, you advise everyone to take basic health precautions, such as washing hands regularly, taking vitamins, eating healthy, and monitoring symptoms. This is especially crucial if you have loved ones who are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19.
Make Time for Family Bonding
It’s not just the kids who need to be entertained during quarantine time. Everybody in the family should experience some sense of leisure. The absence of such will take a toll on your health, and by extension, get you riled up even at the smallest of things. That said, make time for some meaningful family bonding. Here are the types of activities you can try:
- Fun: watch a movie or see an online concert, play some board games, go on a picnic at your backyard
- Educational: bake a cake with kids, go stargazing, learn sign language
- Productive: work out together, do some gardening, wash the car
- Religious: pray, tune in to mass or services online, play spiritual songs
Of course, keep the family traditions of eating lunch and dinner together, and telling kids stories every night. This will give some sense of normalcy in an otherwise lonely and confusing time.
If you can dedicate your family bonding to extending help to frontliners, say, by donating masks and personal protective equipment or making them as a family, do so. This will surely bring encouragement to health workers, and at the same time, shake the bad vibes away in your household as everybody commits to the spirit of charity or bayanihan.
Give Each Other Space
As much as it’s crucial to spend time with each other, it’s equally important to allow family members to have some personal time and space. Remember, you won’t be able to extend grace and compassion to others when you’re running empty on self-love. Whenever someone in the family takes time out from activities, respect it. When a conflict starts to brew, give the involved family members some time to calm down.
If you can include personal quiet time in your daily schedule, better. Have the kids read on their own in their separate rooms. Give your spouse the me-time they need in the garden. As for you, try meditating or writing in your journal after your work.
Ask How Your Partner’s Doing
The lockdown can bring out the worst worries — over job and business security, family’s health, food supply, and the ability to pay for bills on time. This can take a toll on your and your partner’s psychological well-being. It will manifest as irritation and anger. So before you clash heads, commit to setting aside time to express your anxieties to each other. Do this every night, listening to one another’s concerns without judgment or interruptions. Comfort your spouse and support them.
Say goodbye to children’s fights, chore wars, and other conflicts during this lockdown. Instead, create a friendly, loving home environment. Stay positive for the sake of everyone’s sanity.