By Alkesh Patel LPC, CSAC, CEO
The COVID-19 lockdown has presented households across the U.S. with an interesting predicament. When’s the last time you spent all of your time with the people you live with? How about never.
When this happens, tensions can run high and minor annoyances that never used to cause arguments between couples are now becoming drawn-out issues. If you’re not quite sure what’s going on in your home or why you can’t seem to look your partner in the eye, take a deep breath. It’s not you.
When this happens, know that neither one of you is the problem. The problem is sitting on that table and what the two of you need to do is solve it together. Forced isolation is not a solution, and it’s okay to have disagreements now of all times. Here are 5 steps to solving household stress during the coronavirus lockdown.
It’s entirely understandable if you’ve been on a shorter fuse lately. The unknowns in this situation alone bring on a lot of stress. Beyond that, you’ve likely had a change in your work situation, you may be homeschooling kids, you may have financial stress or you may be sick yourself. When all of this comes crashing down, take a step back. Try not to react harshly. Remind yourself that your partner may be experiencing similar stress.
- Be understanding
When a conflict arises, make your first instinct to be understanding. Give your partner the benefit of the doubt in any situation because your routine has recently been interrupted. Assuming anything at this point in time can be really damaging and can undermine the trust that you’re supposed to have for each other.
- Clarify their intention
When you jump to conclusions, sometimes you misunderstand why your partner acted a certain way. They may have had good intentions, but you assumed otherwise. The best thing you can do when you have misunderstandings is to have a calm conversation about it and inquire why they did what they did in a non-accusing way.
- Speak in a calm manner
Using soft words, even when you are frustrated, can help diffuse even the most irritating situation. On the other hand, yelling and expressing anger by taking it out on your partner can over escalate the situation in an unhelpful manner. Absolutely talk to your partner about what is frustrating you but do so in a manner that is calm and controlled.
- Seek expert guidance
If you get to a point where you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to reach out to an expert for assistance. This situation has created trauma for individuals and that can sometimes disrupt relationships. Feeling disconnected and frustrated with your partner is normal but reaching out for help can get you back on track.
Without knowing when lockdown may end, many couples are stressed and panicked. Sharing space exacerbates this problem and creates issues. However, you can change this by addressing issues as they come up and meeting challenges in your household as a team. Use these 5 tips to combat stress and don’t hesitate to reach out for help when you need it!Best Regards,