Staying sane during this time of COVID-19 has become a challenge for many people.
The stay-at-home order first put in place last April was particularly difficult for some of my clients who were working on their divorce, but still living in the same home. Almost suddenly, they were trapped 24/7 with each other and their children. Conflict was high and everyone in the family was suffering.
For some couples, staying sane requires pursuing their divorce. That is still an option at Bridges Divorce group. Meanwhile, I have come up with some suggestions designed to help families through this difficult time.
Establish Routine and Structure to Your Daily Family Life
Creating a structure is helpful for both children and adults. Some things to consider are:
- How many hours of the day does each spouse need to work?
- Do the spouses work outside the home or are they both now working remotely from home?
- How old are the children? What do they need?
- How many hours of the day do you need to work with your children since they are not in school?
Day care options are almost non-existent. There are only a few summer camps. Make a list of things the children can do. Put it on the kitchen wall so all can see it.
You may need to have an art station and a place for the kids to interact online with their friends. Maybe the kids can get together with friends in a backyard. Get them headphones so they can listen to stories.
Check out the many creative ways parents are working together to create safe pods or home schooling allowing kids to have social interaction and/or to learn together.
Take Care of Yourself
Find a place in the home that is just for you. Even if it is just a small corner, make it a place where you can do your work without being disturbed. Set a time for this and agree with your spouse that she or her will be responsible for the children during this specific time.
Spend less time watching the news. Find positive things. For example, watch a podcast. Download a free meditation app. Spend happy hour with your friends via Zoom. Take walks with a friend. Schedule time for yourself to do something that will bring you joy. Make a list for yourself of things that will give you pleasure, allow you to breathe.
If you are struggling with depression or anxiety, there are counselors available who can help.
Improve Basic Communication
When couples are in so much conflict, whether they are planning for divorce or not, it is difficult for them to have a productive conversation. Many need facilitation, I have been able to help couples with this and there are many other mediators who are able to help facilitate these conversations.
It is helpful to avoid making assumptions when in conflict with your spouse or partner. Instead ask questions, check out your assumptions. If you can take a little time away from the children and talk through the issues, staying sane is at least a little bit easier.
For more information on divorce options during this time of COVID, or to discuss any aspect of your need for assistance with your relationship during this difficult time, Contact Us Here at Bridges Collaborative Divorce Solutions.
Finding a Counselor: Portland Therapy Center and Psychology Today
Mediation apps: CALM, Insight Timer, Headspace
Podcasts: Brene Brown On Being
Mediator & Collaborative Divorce Coach