That might sound like quite a contradictory title, but I think we can all agree that even our closest friends and families can get on our nerves sometimes. Being 3 weeks into quarantine tensions are running high in our household. What was once a curious remark is now a nosy question, and the “oh, don’t worry, I’ll do the washing up tonight” has turned into “I did it last night.”. Talking about these petty arguments in reflection makes them seem so small and silly, which they are of course, but they can also cause a lot of upset and anger at the time. If you and your family, partner or friends are experiencing something similar, I wouldn’t worry, it just means you’re normal. We’re in a bloody pandemic after all! Living on top of each other was bound to make some of us snap at some point. I am by no means exempt from this. Sometimes I can feel the anger and frustration bubbling to the surface and it takes all my power to hold my tongue so as to avoid an argument. If I’m tired, however, something might slip out and all hell breaks loose. What it usually boils down to is a simple miscommunication or taking something the wrong way.
We all have our off days and unfortunately so do the people we live with. This means whilst we might feel good one day, someone else doesn’t, they snap at you, you get upset, you then both have a bad day and so on. This leads me to my first tip on how to survive living in close proximity to your loved ones:
1. Be the bigger person
I know we’ve all heard it before and its a lot easier said than done, but hey, if you wake up in a good mood and someone wrongly takes a snap at you, before you snap back, just stop and think – maybe they’ve woken up in a bad mood; or they didn’t get enough sleep; or they’ve just had an argument with someone else which has upset them and now they’re taking it out on you. I’m not saying it’s right, but their sudden animosity towards you is probably coming from a place of hurt for them. Instead, your response should be one that takes those things into consideration. Don’t patronise them, but speak to them gently using a neutral tone. That way, their anger is more likely to reduce and they might even end up apologising and telling you what’s wrong – an outcome which is better for both of you.
2. Escape the house
The house or flat you’re in can feel very claustrophobic with everyone in it all day, every day. So try and take advantage of that once-a-day exercise and just get out! Go for a walk and call a friend you can whine to, listen to your favourite music playlist or relatable podcast. Sometimes it’s nice to hear that other people are going through the same thing as you. I’ve made a habit of getting up early (around 7 am) and going for either a run or walk. I find this puts me in a much better mood for the rest of the day, and I enjoy the fact that I’m the only one up for the first hour. The mornings are so peaceful and having that time to myself puts me in a much better headspace for the rest of the day.
3. Do fun things together
I think this has really helped in our house, and hopefully will in yours too! Setting your mind to something fun and enjoyable that you can do together takes you away from everyday trivia and gives you something else to focus on. Those who follow me on Instagram will know that tik tok has been a big one for me. It’s fun, silly and entertaining, and something you can get instant gratification from. Me and my sister have been learning little dance routines or syncing lines to our favourite films. You don’t even have to post them if you don’t want to! Tik tok lets you save your videos privately so only you can see them. We’ve also done family quizzes and games, something to try if you haven’t already. It may seem pointless, but I think its important to make an effort, even if initially you’re not really feeling a game of monopoly… (my most hated game). We also dug out the old camcorder and photo albums, reflecting on our family holidays and childhood memories. This is a funny activity that can again be enjoyed by everyone.
4. Spend time apart
Going in the complete opposite direction to my last point; make sure you’re spending time apart! And I mean properly apart. If you’re a couple working from home, then work in different rooms and treat it like you’re both actually at work. The same goes for friends or siblings, spend time in different rooms away from one another. That way, when you do come together at the end of the day you have things to discuss and you actually want to spend time together rather than being forced to. To give an example, in our house, dinner time is a nice family occasion. One of us cooks, another sets the table and we all gather round to enjoy our food, rather than eating it on our laps in the living room (we still do this sometimes, but not as often as we did pre-quarantine). I quite like cooking dinner on Fridays for everyone. With mum and dad working it’s nice to give them a break and make a scrumptious meal with some candles and wine on the table to remind us that its Friday.
I hope these tips help you to survive your loved ones this quarantine!
And remember, we’re all going a bit stir crazy. In other words, we’re all in this together.