House of Cards: Diffusing Domestic Tension in the Pandemic

For many of us, the pandemic has represented not only a time of isolation but also a time of friction. Spending so much time at home with our loved ones often puts a strain on relationships, resulting in arguments, fallout, and sometimes even breakups. If you’re struggling with any of the above, you may need to take action and adopt some strategies to better cope. Here are a few.

Respect Space

Since 2020, household space has become a valuable commodity. This has even been reflected in real estate figures as the market continues to develop despite a crippled economy, with many moving to rural locations in search of more open air. If you were caught out in a small property with lots of others, you may have found it difficult to get breathing room during the early days of COVID. One of the ways to address this is simply by respecting everyone else’s needs for time alone and expecting the same in return.

This can be tricky, especially if your property is small. One proven method is to take turns throughout the day to spend in one of your less occupied rooms. If you have children, you can restrict this room to ‘adults only.’ That way, if you and your partner or your roommate ever need time alone, you have somewhere you can retreat to. Alternatively, you can divide up the house so that face-to-face time is limited.

Make a point to eliminate any issues that could be contributing to the tension. Perhaps it’s an abundance of clutter or too many disorganized spaces. To invite more harmony into your environment, make a point to clean, declutter, and organize where you can. Everyone in the household will benefit from these changes.

Take Up Hobbies

One of the best ways to combat boredom and the arguments that often follow is with hobbies. Although it may seem intimidating, you can use the extra time to start a new skill, catch up on your reading, or learn to cook something delicious. You can also spend time reading, learning photography, or working on DIY projects to decompress in a constructive, pleasurable way.

Sometimes, it’s a good idea to take up hobbies with your partner or roommate as a way of spending time together positively. There are plenty of joint activities that will bring out your best side, like group exercise (such as jogging), musical collaboration, or even simple tasks like puzzles. These will help draw your attention away from any major stressors or tensions and result in a more harmonious, positive-minded household.

Balance Work

Stress has to come from somewhere, and more often than not the primary source is the workplace. This creates a unique problem when you’re working from home, as your office space is often a shared space and much of the tension derived from your professional life can easily spill into your personal one. This is especially true for managers, who are required to take on board many of their teams’ grievances. Statistics show that manager stress levels are correlated with the number of employees working under them.

To divide the professional from the personal, it’s important to communicate your issues clearly with your employer. To achieve some balance, this requires making some changes. This can mean making sacrifices, learning to say no, requesting reduced hours, time off for mental health, or simply addressing work dynamics, to proceed in a more positive light. It’s also a good idea, in the period after work, to immediately engage in some stress relief so that you’re not projecting any issues onto loved ones. As is often repeated, these are unprecedented times and that means you need to take unprecedented action if you want to maintain harmony.

The pandemic has brought a host of unique personal problems that we are still trying to understand and address. As we move further into uncharted waters, try your best to remain patient, not only with others but also with yourself.                      Image by Pexels

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