Like most university students, I wasn’t too thrilled about leaving school two months early to go home and live with my family. Somehow after day four of family quarantine I was suddenly missing the stress of three midterms a week and every job imaginable. It’s really hard to stay cooped up with the same people for an extended period of time, especially when it’s under these circumstances. The constant togetherness and the tension levels did result in some fights and conflict after the first few days, but we’re starting to make things work.
Over the first few days, quarantine went great. We were all committed to having more family time and promised each other that we were going to make the most out of isolation. That lasted for about two days until every little thing started to get on everyone’s nerves. You know things aren’t going great when you scream at a 10-year-old for talking slightly too loudly next to you.
To prevent these blow ups, I’ve been having open conversations with my family about what gets on each other’s nerves so we can avoid behaviours that set each other off. We’re stuck in a house together for who knows how much longer, so it’s best to avoid purposefully or even unintentionally making each other upset. If you know your brother doesn’t like being woken up, leave him alone. If you get mad when your sibling chews loudly in your face, make sure you let them know to eat their dinner away from you.
Being around the same people every second gets old really fast. Make sure you’re carving out some time in your day for yourself and to stay connected with friends. Just because you’re in isolation with your family doesn’t mean you have to build 900 puzzles with them in a day or be around each other 24/7.
Some things that have helped me decompress include going on short walks by myself, journaling, and listening to music. FaceTiming or texting your friends also helps by giving you someone else to talk to. No matter how much you love your family, it gets exhausting being around only them all day. I’ve been trying to study online with school friends and have group chats with my work friends to stay connected and keep me slightly less on edge throughout the day.
That being said, don’t totally ignore your family either. Schedule things you can do together—just don’t go overboard. Build that puzzle you’ve been meaning to start. Start a new show on Netflix with them. Learn to make a new recipe. Do an at-home workout together. Try to spread out activities so you aren’t doing everything all at once and try not to do the same things for several days in a row. If you’re like me and live with seven other opinionated people, let one person pick an activity each day so everyone gets a say in what to do. This will avoid the “but I don’t want to do that” fight that’s bound to happen.
The most important part of isolation with your family is proper communication. Remember that anger and frustration is never going to solve any conflict and it’s best to try and stay as calm and as open as possible. While COVID-19 has certainly caused a massive disruption in everyone’s lives, take this as an opportunity to strengthen relationships with your family and get to know them all over again!
How are you coping with isolation? Let us know in the comments!