It’s normal that after a month of sheltering-in-place together, you will have conflict. Everything that annoyed you about those with whom you live will be magnified now that you are faced with them 24/7. Here are some suggestions to help you get through this.
1. Attitude is everything
We’re all grieving, stressed, and scared. Sniping at each other is going to make it worse. Be wary of criticism, contempt, and defensiveness. If you find yourself needing to be right at all costs, take a step back and consider whether being “right” is so important after all. Empathizing with one another will get you through this. This means being curious about what the other person is feeling and thinking. It also means sharing your feelings and thoughts in a non-confrontational manner.
2. Self-Soothe and Help Others Soothe
It’s natural that you are being triggered by others with whom you are stuck in a shelter-in-place with even if they are dear friends, family, or your spouse. When you find yourself wanting to snap back at someone or if you are at the point where you find yourself stonewalling, you’re flooded. Take some deep breaths. Take a walk and step outside. Take a break. If you see someone else loosing their cool, then you can advise them to take a break too or even talk soothingly to them.
3. Mind Your Own Stuff
Trying to control someone else is folly. It never works. As tempting as it is to tell someone else what they should be doing or that you don’t like something they did, it’s better to talk about your feelings, wants, and needs. While you cannot control others, you can control your actions and reactions toward others.
4. Space Out
You have likely never spent as much time with those with whom you are sheltering-in-place as you are now. There you are and there they are 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Normally you all have activities outside of your home that allows all of you to have some space. It’s important to get some space from one another. Take a step outside. Go to another room and close the door for a while.
5. Have Fun Together
With the fear, stress, and grief of living through a pandemic, having fun is necessary. Find your board games, get out the cards, remember the rules for charades, or have a dance party. Every day should have some fun that you all share together.
6. Respect Differences
Each of you is a different person with different perspectives and experiences. Recognize that you will all handle living through this pandemic in different ways. Ask for accommodations for the ways you need to make it through this and respect the accommodations requested from others.