For any relationship to thrive peacefully, a certain amount of distance or boundary is necessary. This is true for any relationship – whether it’s between a couple, parents and children, siblings, roommates, or even friends. But what if you find yourself living with them under one roof, having nowhere to go? The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has led people all around the globe to quarantine themselves to prevent the spread of the disease. In the face of this difficult situation, you suddenly find yourselves struggling to coexist with your family members, 24/7 for days and months together. Why is it so hard to coexist amidst this situation and how can you overcome it? Let us find out.
What Are The Problems That Can Occur?
An ideal day would have you step out of the house and do everything important to you to keep your individuality intact. It is a routine that you have built for yourself over the years and have come to enjoy as well. But amid the ongoing crisis, you along with your family members find yourselves adjusting to what many refer to as the ‘new normal’. This entails you to be at home all the time, having to share all of your space and time with someone else. Spending time crowded around each other can pose to be quite a challenge as you see your ‘alone’ time diminish gradually.
This is where the concept of boundaries come into play. The healthy ‘boundary’ or ‘distance’ that we discussed above, refers to the limits we set for ourselves as individuals in any relationship. This is important as it helps you protect your idea of personal identity and guard it against the numerous demands of others. But when you find yourself around your family all the time these days, there are moments when you experience this idea of personal boundary and space being challenged most of the time, eventually resulting in conflicts.
These conflicts mostly arise if responsibilities are not shared, family members are too demanding without giving each other any breathing space, or if any of the members feel misunderstood or disrespected due to the other’s lack of care. But these are problems that can be worked upon. Let us take a look at some of how you can avoid these conflicts and peacefully coexist.
How To Coexist During A Quarantine?
Here are a few ways in which you can coexist peacefully during a quarantine.
Recognize the situation for what it is
This is a difficult situation and the best way to deal with it is to acknowledge it. You are stuck with each other under a roof, which means seeing and experiencing too much of one another all the time. You cannot change what you don’t acknowledge so recognizing the situation for what it is, is important.
Respect each other’s space
You can love each other and still want space from one another. Boundaries are essential for healthy relationships. As Brene Brown puts it, “Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.” Being quarantined together under one roof does not mean you are obligated to spend all of your time with each other, simply because you are family. Taking time off during the day to do the things that matter to you is necessary for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That is why it is important to consider boundaries as sacred and respect each other’s space.
Communicate openly without judgment
It is important to talk about your problems and hear your loved ones out without any judgment. That is a key step in problem-solving. Communicating about what is working, not working, will help you all come up with solutions to the problems rather than simply criticizing one another. Practice kindness and forgiveness as effective communication tactics.
Schedule arguments if you cannot avoid them
If you cannot avoid arguments entirely, then you can certainly schedule them. By scheduling we mean, organize family meetings during a specific time in a day to hear each other’s grievances and come up with reasonable solutions. Family meetings encourage healthy discussions and play an effective role in conflict resolution. If the conflict is between a couple, avoid having them in front of the kids.
Help each other out
This is a difficult time for everybody so it helps if everyone plays their part well without taking the other person for granted. Understand that everyone has their hands full with the innumerable chores and their daily jobs that are now operative from home. Neglecting your responsibilities will only lead to someone else being overworked and this will invariably lead to conflicts. Help one another out and be extra understanding and contentious during this period.
If every family member makes self-care a priority, it will not just improve their mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing, but also help in improving interpersonal relationships. That’s why during this period it is imperative you look into your self-care routine and get the basics right, which includes choosing and cooking nourishing foods, undertaking some form of physical activity, getting the right amount of sleep, and so on.
Be creative and organize fun activities
Bored with the monotony of your routine? Be creative and come up with fun activities to make the most out of this time with your family. You can either organize fun movie or game nights or come up with a family dance routine. You can always take cues from social media for some wonderful ideas. Cooking together can also be a fun activity to bond over.