Guest Writer: Emma Grace Brown. Keeping Family Tension Low during the Pandemic.

This Is How You Can Keep Family Tension Low In Your Home When You’re Isolating

If we can put a positive spin on the pandemic, it’s that it made it possible for families to gather and spend more quality time together at home. It can even be said that this is a real treat in the midst of busy work and school schedules. However, after months spent in quarantine, it can also be safely said that, by now, the novelty has worn off for many families. The surplus of time at home has since resulted in bored kids and stressed out parents, resulting in family tension that’s definitely unwelcome at this very sensitive time.

If this is a familiar situation to you, take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone. Better yet, there are things you can do that do not only alleviate the tension but also ensure that you and your family make the most out of this respite and maybe even make beautiful memories in the process. Let’s explore your options.

Take the opportunity to improve your routine.

While it’s true that having to stay at home because of a pandemic is a unique situation to be in, it is by no means unprecedented. In fact, countless people live in isolated environments every day, and, yes, they’re somehow making it work. These isolation experts all agree on one thing, and that is the importance of having a daily routine. It is a routine that gives you a solid way to measure time spent in an unchanging environment while also driving home discipline. Furthermore, it lets your household get into a rhythm that’s bearable, sustainable, and maybe even enjoyable. Last but not least, a good routine will help you address tasks that need tackling; if you need to address the clutter in your home (which can have a serious impact on your entire household), adding this to your routine will make sure you stay on top of it.

With this in mind, it’s important to take stock of how your days in isolation have been going and identifying areas in which you can improve. You will likely find that structuring your days — yes, even with kids — is relatively easy to do when you have a firm handle on what needs to be done, such as learning, working, exercising, and more. And to maintain a routine, it can also be a very good idea to write down a daily schedule or timeline on a poster or a board to keep your family better involved.

Time to take the family outside.

Now, just because you are social distancing, does not mean that you need to stay inside your home at all times. This can, in fact, be counterproductive in more ways than one. For one thing, you and your kids could end up missing out on nature’s gifts — like the crucial vitamin D that we get from the sun — which, in turn, could weaken your immune system. For another, being housebound will also affect your mood, adding to family tension and maybe even causing depression.

Needless to say, even when self-isolating, you need to make sure that your family clocks in precious outdoor time. And luckily, there’s no dearth of ways you can do exactly that without violating social distancing rules. This can be anything from spending a few hours in a local park or playground, or going on walks, runs, hikes, or bike rides in nearby trails. Even playing games or having a picnic in your own backyard counts.

The key is to avoid crowded places and, yes, keep a safe distance away from other people. Not only that, but it’s also a good idea to wear protective gear like masks, sanitize your hands consistently, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Tech is really not all that bad.

In this day and age, the easiest way to subdue restless kids is by handing over your gadgets for them to fiddle with. For frazzled parents, this can, in fact, be the path of least resistance—if only to ensure that you get some peace and quiet to work, do chores, get some ‘me’ time, etc. Sad to say, giving your kids free rein with technology is also enough to get so-called parenting experts to go after you with their proverbial pitchforks.

But the fact of the matter is, allowing your kids a bit of screen time does not a lazy parent make. The key lies in balance — and, yes, you do have the responsibility of keeping it so. So, as a rule of thumb, you want to be more involved in their use of technology. This will invariably entail making sure that they’re consuming safe, high-quality, and valuable content, so you do want to police the games they play and the videos they watch to a certain degree, especially for the little ones.

Of course, you want to make sure that they don’t spend all their time on their gadgets, as well. It’s a good idea, therefore, to have a system in place to limit screen time for kids. A great way to do this is by setting a schedule, which ties in nicely with the need to keep a routine while in isolation. Even more important is how you enforce it, which should be firmly and with consistency. You can even take this up a notch by using screen time as a bargaining tool or reward for good behavior, doing chores, getting homework done, and the like.

Take some space.

Doubtless, one of the main sources of tension in isolation is when everyone is in each other’s faces at all times. The fact is, boundaries tend to melt into non-existence when people are confined together inside the house for long periods of time, which can result in frayed nerves and a multitude of annoyances that, if left unchecked, could escalate into bigger problems.

It goes without saying, indeed, that you will want to avoid this at all costs. This, then, makes it necessary for individual family members to take space. The fact is, you actually do not need to do everything and spend every minute of your time together. It can be a good idea, therefore, to hit the reset button and allow yourself some distance from each other at certain times of the day. This need not even be for long periods of time as, more often than not, a few minutes to yourself to take a breather and regroup will already suffice.

Of course, this is easier said than done, if you have separate rooms or spaces to go into, or a backyard to seek refuge in, or even a dog to walk. But what can you do if, say, you live in a smaller home or apartment? Well, there is, in fact, more than one way to create boundaries in families. Perhaps you can set aside a safe and kid-friendly area for your kids to stay in while you catch your breath on the couch or in the kitchen — or something to that effect. Better yet, you can set a schedule for this time out and engage the family to honor it. Know that, in many cases, boundaries really don’t need to be physical, while mutual understanding and respect can be enough to keep the peace.

Treat yourself.

Finally, do not forget to allow yourself little moments of pleasure while in isolation. Self-care and self-love is, in fact, more important than ever in the pandemic, and it will surely do wonders in helping you keep your wits about you as you work on keeping family tension at bay in isolation.

There are, of course, a good number of ways in which you can indulge yourself in self-care at home. Giving yourself time to move by doing yoga or your favorite exercise is an important one as it benefits both your mind and body. Taking the time to sit in silence and meditate is also another method as it allows you to let go of tension and refocus. You can even write in a journal, do something creative, tend to your garden, make music, take a refreshing nap, and so much more—whatever floats your boat is valid.

And in that same vein, it can also be worth indulging in age-old stress-relievers like CBD. Derived from the cannabis plant, CBD actually does not have intoxicating effects (contrary to popular belief), and can, in fact, do wonders in relieving anxiety, promoting better sleep, and so much more. Consider mixing CBD-infused honey in your tea or toast for a delicious and calming treat. Of course, take the time to read reviews and research costs and the level of CBD content (to name a few) before choosing the CBD honey sticks that are best for you.

Suffice it to say, the pandemic has truly done a number of everyone on earth, but you can actually control how it affects your family and household. It is truly a difficult time, so it is only wise to really work on keeping all the negativity out of your home. After all, your house is your safe haven in this pandemic, so not only should it be safe from the coronavirus, but it must also be spared fear, uncertainty, and tension. It’s a unique time in human history, indeed, and by looking after your family’s entire well-being, you might just be able to look back at all these in a positive light.

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Emma Grace Brown

Author: James Keenan

James, 30, Northern Irish, Blogger, Inspiring Writer, Passionate in Mental Health Recovery & Suicide Prevention!

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