Our struggle with coronavirus isn’t our only battle right now—we are also fighting for our sanity. The rogue virus has turned our world upside down in just a few weeks, and we have no clue when this nightmare will end.
There is just so much to be anxious about. We are scared of losing our jobs. We are terrified of losing our parents. We are worried about our own safety. There is even a chance that we run out of food, and simply stepping out of our homes is now filled with invisible dangers.
Being stuck at home isn’t helping either. Some of us are bored out of our minds, while others are grappling with the additional housework. And you know what happens when we are super stressed—we start fighting with the people we love the most. Sigh.
Our new reality is weird. To be honest, I’m struggling to stay sane these days. Maybe, you are too.
Put on your oxygen mask first, before assisting others.
Airlines around the world
The world is in danger.
You know what that means: Everyone needs to get their shit together. That’s the only way we are going to survive this crisis.
Step 1 is to stop terrorizing yourself. To be clear, it is essential that you stay informed about the pandemic. Yet spending the entire day watching the news isn’t a good idea.
Keep in mind that not all information is created equal—the source matters. Just like you wouldn’t eat food from a shady outlet, you need to consciously pick your news outlets.
I know, social media is an important part of our lives, but it isn’t designed to be a reliable source of information. Shares and likes are the lifeblood of these platforms, and nothing gets shared more than posts that make us scared or angry.
In short, limiting your media consumption is the first step to ensuring your sanity.
Step 2 is to adopt a positive mindset. This one is a bit tricky yet, I think, it’s important. Let me explain: You must separate the things that are under your direct control from those that are not. For example, it’s your responsibility to do your best for yourself as well as the people around you. At the same time, you have much less control over the actions of the government.
There are bound to be differences of opinion about the big decisions. Moreover, not everyone has the same information about the situation.
It’s good to have opinions on the important stuff, and you can surely express them online. Yet it helps to remind ourselves that we don’t live in a perfect world. We were certainly making mistakes before the pandemic and, now, in these confusing times, we are making even more.
The goal isn’t to shame the government or strangers who have done something foolish. In other words, the question isn’t, “How dare anyone make a mistake?”
I admit that I’ve been guilty of shaming, but I’m trying to change. Now, whenever I read something that makes me furious, I ask myself, “How can I encourage people to do better in the future?”
Step 3 is to figure out your day. This one is easy for me as I’ve always been a stay-at-home guy. If you are an active person, you are probably going crazy in quarantine.
Luckily, I have some tips for you.
MEDITATE. It can help you stay calm in these troubled times. If you are new to it, try guided meditation.
PLAN FOR THE FUTURE. You can use the extra time to think about your life. What are your big goals? Are you on track to achieving them? What steps do you need to take once the pandemic is over?
Work With Your Spouse
Alone we can do little; together we can do so much.
You need your partner-in-crime to support you during this crisis. What’s more, your partner needs you.
However, there is a problem: When people are locked up at home for a long time, they start to freak out. They get increasingly irritable and restless. Some even get suicidal or paranoid. This uncomfortable situation has a name—cabin fever. In the last few days, we have all figured out that it’s zero fun.
Yet all hope isn’t lost since there is a trick to beating cabin fever: Anticipate as well as forgive arguments. Try your best to be loving and considerate. And when there are disagreements where angry words are said, forgive.
No one is at their best right now. We are going through an unusual situation, where we are all doing the most we can. Remember all the good times that you have had together. Choose to believe that eventually the crisis will be over and those happy days will return.
We also need to talk a bit about communication…
Everyone wants to keep their family safe, but the question is “how?” There is no simple answer because the situation keeps changing. None of us is an expert in dealing with a pandemic. Under these circumstances, even rational and well-meaning couples will face differences of opinion.
I believe, there is only one way to reach satisfying agreements during quarantine—more communication. Sit down and discuss your fears and anxieties. Tell your partner the facts that are worrying you. Of course, make an effort to understand your spouse’s point of view as well.
Here are the issues that my family had to discuss.
- How to distribute roles and responsibilities around the house?
- How to manage the kids?
- How to protect our elderly members?
- How much food to stock?
- How many times a day to wash hands?
- When to use masks and gloves?
- When should we step out of the house?
This was our list. What does yours look like?
Help your Kids
A person’s a person, no matter how small.
The little darlings have been listening to all the talk about the pandemic. And their routines have been thrown into disarray, just as much as ours. Although we can’t make coronavirus disappear, we can help them in 2 ways.
First, you need to tell your kids what is going on. Explain the situation in terms that your children can understand. The goal is to be as honest and optimistic as possible. They might have some questions, hence, be sure to ask them to share their thoughts with you.
It’s natural for kids to be worried during a crisis, so let them know they are safe. Explain that their safety is your responsibility and you are going to take care of them.
Second, we need to understand what schools do for children. Schools, certainly, help children learn and play, however, they also help children structure their days. As adults, we can adjust to quarantine-life and figure out a new routine. Kids can’t, so you need to create a schedule for your child.
This may sound intimidating, but it really isn’t. Simply set fixed times for study, play, and screen time. (Or you can head to Khan Academy where you will find schedules for kids living in quarantine.)
And learning doesn’t have to be, necessarily, academic. Sure, you can teach them science and maths. At the same time, a cooking class or a dance lesson is awesome too! (By the way, Scholastic has put together some free courses to help parents out.)
I admit that things are going to be messy during this time. Therefore, don’t fuss about being a perfect parent. And there is absolutely no reason to be strict about the schedule. Just do your best.
Over to You…
Here is a recap of the important bits.
And here are some more resources to keep you sane under coronavirus quarantine.
- If you are having a tough time controlling your anger, these tips are for you.
- To learn the principles of peaceful communication, check this out.
- If stress is killing you, you can learn these techniques.
I wish you and your family strength and patience to weather out the storm. Much love!