Doctors tell how not to let lockdown put a strain on your relationship. Photo: Pixabay
For quite some time now, we have been staying inside our homes and practicing social distancing. For some, the Work From Home mode is a dream come true and for some others, it is the worst nightmare. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed a lockdown across India for 3 weeks, and people started to panic.
While working from home would be really effective in flattening the novel coronavirus curve, working from home TOGETHER will also put a lot of strain on relationships. We know it is not just we who are thinking this; a lot of you too are thinking about this.
There is a possibility that you might be feeling like Rajkummar Rao's character in Trapped, but at least he was alone. Getting trapped with family members might be worse for some.
Worry not, IndiaToday.in spoke to experts in this field; psychologists Dr Sanjeev Kalra, Dr Veer Sharma and Dr Abha Singh, and asked for tips on how not to kill your partner during the lockdown.
MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF
Dr Sanjeev Kalra said, "See the positive in this. Earlier if you were working all the time, this is the best time to work on yourself. Develop a hobby and follow a disciplined life. On normal days, even I don't get time for myself, for my workouts. Work on your own health, start with breathing exercises to calm yourself."
Dr Veer Sharma shared how he is coping with the lockdown and what he is prescribing to his patients. He said, "What I am doing right now is learning a new language, Russian, so basically keeping your focus on something else is important. I started learning it online after I heard about the 21-day lockdown yesterday. I have asked a lot of my clients also to do the same."
He added, "21 days is the perfect time to learn something new, learn an instrument, take classes online, keep yourself busy. Add workouts to your life. An empty mind is the devil's workshop; the empty mind will lead you to depression and anxiety, so keep doing something constructive."
Dr Abha said, "Working out at home in these times is obviously a good way to stay healthy and kill time indoors. Many online workout sources are offering free access which might be worth looking into. But again, anything that gets your heart pumping and builds muscle is excellent for both physical and mental health."
QUALITY TIME WITH KIDS
Dr Kalra said, "Spend time with kids. Play games with them; not those internet games, but physical games."
DIFFERENT WORKSTATIONS AND WORK TIME
Dr Kalra said, "For couples, every partner should have different working hours. As a result, one parent can always spend time with kids. Time slots should not clash, this is a major point and it reduces tension."
Dr Sharma said, "I am taking sessions on the phone and I am telling people the same things, if you have separate rooms, work in different rooms. I am right now in a self-imposed curfew, I will be in my room till 4 pm. Make a timetable and follow it strictly. After the lockdown was announced, so many of my patients who already have anxiety called me and told me that they had had a panic attack. You have to put your mind to something constructive so that there are no fights."
Dr Kalra said, "Share household chores. Husbands need to help their wives with cooking and other chores as well, otherwise, the pressure on the woman becomes too much to handle and that is a problem. This brings down the number of clashes immensely."
Dr Sharma agreed, "Help your family with chores, learn how to cook from your mother during this time, help them in the kitchen."
Dr Abha said, "Decluttering your home can be a good way to feel productive and in control. Kids can be included in the task as it helps develop a sense of responsibility and independence in them."
GIVE SPACE TO YOUR PARTNER
Dr Sharma said, "Give space to your partner, do not meddle in each other's matter, behave the same way as you do when you are in office. Listen to your partner, give them a helping hand, do not impose anything, just be there to listen. Focus on the good things."
Dr Abha said, "This is not the easiest thing to do in these times. But practicing gratitude for the things we do have has been shown again and again to be hugely beneficial to mental health. Even though it might be a challenge right now, write down some of the things you're grateful for or if you have little kids and it's easier, try talking about and listing aloud things that make you happy and that you're thankful for. Inculcating the habit of gratitude in children will help them in acknowledging the things they have, to value more in the current world of a social show-off."
LET YOURSELF OF THE HOOK
Dr Abha concluded with a great point. She said, "This might be the most important thing to keep in mind; don't beat yourself up when things are not going perfectly in your household. On top of everything else, being upset with yourself is totally counterproductive. If the kids watch too much Netflix or play too many hours of video games, it's not the end of the world. Things are going to be hairy for a while, and if you can't stick to your schedule or can't fit in your at-home workout every day, it's really not such a big deal in the long run. It's much more valuable to everyone to cut yourself some slack, use the time to reflect on the important things, and try to keep a sense of 'we're all in this together' at the forefront."
Bottomline: Give each other space, share the chores, learn new things, sit in separate rooms during office hours, do not meddle too much into each other's lives and most importantly, cut yourself some slack and you might be able to survive this lockdown. There is a tiny possibility that you might enjoy it too.