If you’re like the majority of Australians, it is likely that you have to work from home during the current COVID-19 crisis. For many of you, this means your partner has become your co-worker and possibly your children too!

People deal with crises in very different ways. Some people prefer to talk about the crisis, whereas others may try and avoid talking about it. Some use humour to cope, whereas others find the use of humour disrespectful. This can contribute to increased tension and more arguments in your family. Here are some suggestions for making life at home more manageable during COVID 19.

Family agreement

Agree to 5 rules that will dictate how your family will operate with everyone at home. Suggestions include agreeing to a time spent talking about coronavirus. A list of tasks that each person has around the house may also be included. Display it in the house so that everyone can see it and refer to it as needed.

Daily schedule

Having a routine or daily schedule is incredibly important, especially for children. Try to replicate a schedule similar to what they have at school. If you can fit your work breaks into their scheduled breaks, this may help with productivity. Display the schedule so that everyone can see it, and refer to it when needed.

Communication

Good communication is vital, especially when stress levels within the family are high. Use language that is assertive and not aggressive, and avoid lecturing or blaming others for how you may be feeling. A simple way to effectively communicate your needs is to use the following script:

“I feel… When… Because… I would rather…”

For example:  “I feel frustrated when you talk to me about COVID-19 when I am working because it is distracting. I would rather we talk about it at night after the children have gone to sleep.”

Time outs

If you are noticing that your emotional temperature is rising and you’re feeling frustrated or overwhelmed, take a time out. Take yourself to a space in the house away from others (if possible) and do a short relaxation exercise. This could include ten minutes of slow breathing, or a visualisation exercise.

Self-care

Self-care strategies are incredibly important during this period of high stress. It refers to those activities that we purposely do in order to take care of our mental, emotional and physical health. People practice self-care in different ways. Good sleep hygiene practices, regular physical exercise, eating healthy and engaging with non-work hobbies are important aspects of self-care.