Staying at home is something we often look forward to as a break from our hectic, fast paced lives. It’s different however, when you are forced to stay at home. If you are finding life difficult at home during the corona virus pandemic, you are not alone.
The general level of anxiety has been raised worldwide since the corona virus emerged and many people are finding it a very testing time, to be stuck at home. Domestic abuse cases are bound to increase. In fact, (sorry to be a bit gloomy) I read in the newspaper about 9 murders in the last week in the UK. One was a murder suicide where a man killed his wife, 2 daughters and the family dog before killing himself and there have been other instances of murders at home. Of course, these are the extreme cases but even in my home, my partner and I are getting on each other’s nerves.
I have been chatting to clients and here are the common frustrations people are experiencing:
Arguing over staying safe
Many families and couples are arguing over the best way to stay safe amid corona virus fears. People are disagreeing on ways to stay safe and this is causing conflict in many many households. To go out shopping or to order online. I tried to order online last night with Tesco and there were NO slots available up until 21 April (3 weeks !!)and after that date there were no slots listed yet. How to disinfect within the house, especially if one person has to leave the house for work. Try to pick your battles and be reasonable and sensible. Try not to take your frustrations out on your partner.
Conflict is bound to increase at home as people are stuck with each other for long periods. On top of this – the usual activities that can ease tension such as going to the pub or watching sport or going out to a restaurant have all been stopped, adding to the problem. If you feel angry, take yourself for a walk rather than being aggressive towards your partner. We are all responsible for our own behaviour. Even if you feel your partner is provoking you, you still decide how to respond – don’t take the bait. Remove yourself from the situation to calm down.
Uncertainty over how long this will last
Uncertainty is guaranteed to create stress and anxiety for all of us. We all like to feel in control and when we are living in restricted environments with a lot of control take away, it can create angst. The best thiing to do here is to accept that for now, we have no direct control over when this will end and to focus on what we can control – our thoughts and behaviours within our homes. Focusing on things you cnnot control is wasted energy.
Most people I know have taken a hit financially. Many people have been told to take unpaid leave until further notice and many people are worrying about how they will pay their bills each month. This is the last thing we need with all the added stress of having to stay at home and socialise less.
Boredom and loneliness
Many people live busy lives and the novelty of being at home can wear off quickly. We all like to have a rest but then get back to being productive. There is a well know concept that a wandering mind is a snagerous mind and having too much time to think can cause us all to think up worst case scenarios and worry unnecessarily about the future. Try to keep busy – do things you have always wanted to do but never had the time to do – take an online course, do exercise at home, put that face mask on, go for walks – use this time wisely as it is rare that we are all ordered to take forced rest!
If you feel lonely – phone a friend or go online. It’s not always as good as face to face contact but it’s the next best thing in these trying times. Especially if you are an extrovert and find being alone at home especially tough. Get creative – there are many avenues online to help you to connect with others.
Lack of resources
It really gets my goat when people overstock on food. Selfish and unnecessary. I have been amazed at how we have struggled to obtain certain foods. We certainly won’t starve but the state of the shelves in stores is mind boggling. Even though this has worried me a little, I have told myself that there is still enough food even though you can’t always get what you want. I refuse to panic buy and I urge anyone doing this to please relax and shop as normal. Tough to do with all the scaremongering going on in the news, which brings me to my last point…
Obsessing over the news
The more you watch the news, the more distressed you will become. It’s fine to keep up to date but you don’t need to watch the news more than once a day. It will just make you worry further. Try to focus on other things during the day – looking after yourself, watching movies, writing, taking up a new hobby etc
These are strange times indeed. My partner went out to buy food today and said everyone seemed very grumpy and fed up. Take it one day at a time and find ways to improve your mood. I watch movies, fill in crosswords and I am still working at home doing online counselling to keep me busy.
Try to keep your sense of humour. I have been getting many corona virus based jokes on my mobile phone and it feels good to have a laugh. Not that I am minimising the seriousness of the situation but a good laugh is great to ease tension and it’s a good strategy to cope with anxiety and stress. I think I shall watch a few “live at the Appollo” shows later on….
Hang in there!!