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Preserving Household Harmony in COVID-19 Quarantine

Across the nation, millions of people are observing safer-at-home directives to keep themselves and those they care about from contracting and spreading a potentially lethal virus. However, if you live with family members or roommates, the need to remain in your home during the coronavirus pandemic has likely created a new set of challenges in your life. How can you protect your mental well-being in these difficult times?

Create a New Routine

Remaining in COVID-19 quarantine with no apparent end in sight can be frustrating. When there’s little to no difference between one day and the next, and you’ve lost typical elements of your routine such as going to fitness classes or picking kids up from school, it’s all too easy to lose track of what day it is. Combat this problem by developing a quarantine routine. If you’re one of the people lucky enough to be able to work from home, define work hours vs. leisure time, and stick to it. Make sure to build in designated time to do bonding activities with anyone who lives with you, such as playing board games or cooking and eating together.

Use Your Space Wisely

Even if you have a small house or apartment, you can still carve out space for yourself. The stresses of COVID-19 quarantine will affect everyone differently, and it’s essential to recognize that even extroverted people still need the occasional opportunity to spend time alone. You and your spouse, family or roommates can all designate areas of the home or specific times of day that “belong” to each of you, then respect those boundaries. For instance, if you’re working from home, you could tell everyone that the dining room is your “office” between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. per day. Or, you all might agree that having earbuds in signifies quiet, “do-not-disturb” time.

Look Inward

Self-isolation is an ideal time to cultivate self-awareness. If conflicts arise with your roommates or family members, think carefully about what you’re feeling before you lash out with a thoughtless remark that could spark an argument. For example, you might find yourself irrationally irritated that someone hasn’t cleaned up their kitchen mess after making a sandwich. The underlying issue behind your anger might be that you’re feeling a sense of loss over the way the pandemic has upended your life.

Entertain Yourself

Finding ways to relax and unwind in COVID-19 quarantine is essential if you want to feel any sense of normalcy. This time of confinement will magnify every emotion you have, because people who live together in close quarters will pick up on each other’s heightened anxiety and stress and reflect it back on each other. Entertainment isn’t an indulgence in these trying times – it’s a requirement. Instead of plopping yourself mindlessly in front of the TV for another Netflix marathon, consider learning a new career skill instead.

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