How to Emotionally Handle Social Distancing With Your Family

Even when you love spending time with them, isolating at home isn’t always easy. These tips will help.

Rawpixel / Shutterstock
Rawpixel / Shutterstock

After sitting inside for weeks, playing one too many heated Monopoly games, and denying how stir crazy you feel, the challenges of socially distancing at home with your family have likely begun to set in. Staying indoors and limiting contact with others is vital to help slow the spread of COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy, emotionally or physically, to stay in close quarters with our loved ones as our daily lives are completely reshaped. Over 80 percent of respondents to a Thrive Global survey of 5,000 people to identify coronavirus pain points are concerned about how their existing routine and structures are changing. In the midst of those concerns, organization and preparedness can help.

There’s a reason having structure during times of uncertainty makes us feel that much better: Researchers from Utah State University have identified that planning and carrying out routines that connect to what matters to us can limit anxiety and safeguard our mental health. Maybe your top priority is forging deeper bonds with your family, or making sure your loved ones are staying on top of a nutritious diet and exercise regiment during the pandemic — whatever it is, incorporating those values into your daily routine can help ease stress, and give your family some sense of security during these uncertain times. 

Check out these Microsteps that will help you better navigate social distancing with your family. 

Microstep

Together with your kids or partner, come up with a rule to help them understand when you’re available 

Maybe it’s a specific room, a colorful sign you make together, or a open/closed door that helps them understand when you’re working and when you’re not. A healthy boundary will make it easier for all of you to safeguard your time and energy. 

Schedule a regular check-in with your parent or relative 

Set a daily reminder on your phone to text or FaceTime a relative who doesn’t live with you. Even a quick call or text will help them (and you and your nuclear family) feel more connected in an isolating time.

Check in with your child or partner each day

Frequent, regular communication — as opposed to a one-time Big Talk — will establish you as a source of trust and authority at a potentially confusing time.

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