How to Take Care of Yourself (and Deal With Your Family) Amid Social Distancing
Spending all of our time at home while we practice social distancing comes with all kinds of problems we never anticipated.
Despite having more time, it can seem like we get less done, and being in confined quarters with parents and siblings for extended periods of time is a challenge in itself. But there are ways to stay positive, and feel better because of it. We spoke with meditation and stress expert Josephine Atluri, who shared some of her top tips for coping with the situation and making the most of it.
Keep reading for what she had to say!
Sweety High: Why can it be so hard to forget to take care of yourself when you're stuck at home all day?
Josephine Atluri: Life happens. We get caught up in so many things—social media, news, school work, maintaining now long-distance friendships—that we end up forgetting to take a moment to do something that nourishes us and makes us feel whole. Plus, the longer we find ourselves trapped at home, the more many of us will start to crave social interaction or some type of connection with the outside world. Thus, taking care of oneself in quiet ways on our own can feel like the last thing we want to do right now.
SH: What are the simplest forms of self-care we can take part in to feel more normal and destress?
JA: When people think of self-care, visions of bubble baths and the latest face masks come to mind, but it certainly doesn't have to be just those things. One of my favorite things to do when I'm stressed (and the same for my teenager and pre-teens) is to simply laugh. Watching or reading something funny can make you feel like life is great in that moment. Laughter can fill you up even when you feel depleted.
SH: What can teens at home do to help their parents remember to take a breather and calm down, without escalating things?
JA: Whenever my teenager and I get into a disagreement, he just loves to throw my meditation teachings back at me. In the moment, it disarms me because I'm amazed that he actually was listening to me before! When teens can repeat to their parents something that has been said to them before, it really gives a parent pause. Then, in that moment, as a teen, you can tell your parents that you don't want to argue and that you just need someone to listen to you. This approach to a conversation really gives us parents a chance to shift our response.
SH: What tips do you have for making peace with family when you're with them more than usual, and potentially getting on each others' nerves?
JA: Being forced into continuous close quarters can be very tough on everyone in the family. Plus, the stress of so many unknowns associated with this pandemic can increase one's stress. thereby straining relationships even more. To help you get through this tough time, here are my top two tips:
One, put things into perspective. At the end of the day, remember why we're all cooped up together in the first place—so we can stay safe and healthy. When times get tough, take a pause in the situation and remember that this is temporary. Also, remember it's much easier to get through this period in time together as a family because you can support one another.
Two, [practice] gratitude. Pivot your mindset, and instead of being annoyed, be thankful that you and your family are safe and healthy. Thinking of things you're grateful for shifts your mindset to positivity instead of negativity.
Feeling a little anxious at home? Click HERE to read Josephine's insights on how breathing exercises can help with stress.