While the enforced ‘holiday' is giving many a chance to cut back, breathe and re-discover hobbies, it isn't all hunky dory for some. Being confined within the home comes with its share of pressure and stress. With routines thrown to the winds, it can leave you feeling lonely, frustrated, bored, angry, depressed and even trapped. This gets worse if one is forced to spend additional time with a family member who one doesn't quite gel with, be it an in-law, parent, spouse or child, or your flat-mates. The trick is to be prepared and accept that things will need working on if you are all to survive if not thrive during this time of COVID-19 quarantine.
Here's how you could go about it…
Have that chat
Don't simple plunge into this period and expect everything to take care of itself. Get together as a unit and discuss what could be the main issues you'll could face. Suggest ways in which each family member/ flat-mate can help. Draw up lists for chores. With roles defined there will be less scope for anger and bitterness. If you mother-in-law volunteers to cook lunch each day, you can offer to handle dinner and thus will be safely out of each other's way in the kitchen.
Maintain a timetable
Boring as it may sound, it helps to have structure to avoid arguments. When a routine is maintained to some extent, it helps all members to be on the same page. Whether breakfast or homework assignments having a timetable will help kids—even prickly teens—be prepared in advance. This would minimize nagging, scolding and the risk of a blowout.
Get up and move
Don't stay plonked in front of the TV or on your devices for hours on end. It's guaranteed to ruin an already strained relationship. Instead, together get involved in playing boardgames, card games, have a vigorous aerobics session. There are loads of videos available online to set the mood going. Staying active is key to improving mood and reducing snappishness even when it comes to an irritable spouse.
Space is key
Avoid breathing down each other's neck 24x7. Time spent alone, even when it is in close quarters, is essential. Try and create little private zones for each person within your home. If the dad loves his spot in front of the telly, it will help keep things more peaceful if that space is reserved largely for him. Take breaks from one another and rejuvenate in peace.
Keep the ties
Make more of an effort to stay connected with friends and other family members outside the house, whether it's by video calling or WhatsApp. This social interaction is necessary to keep from creating a pressure cooker situation within the home. Help your father-in-law learn to video-call his group of friends. This social connection—even though virtual--is highly necessary to tide over this difficult time.