While the first two weeks of being stuck at home with your roommate might have felt a bit like a staycation, it’s probably safe to assume that this rose-colored view has faded away. And despite the country starting to slowly reopen, things are nowhere near back to normal.
With so many people coping with the stress of job loss, illness, and complete uncertainty, now is an especially difficult time to be stuck in isolation with anyone—even if it’s someone you like.
Rather than letting you spend the next few weeks crafting voodoo dolls of all your roommates, we wanted to help you find ways to make this time easier. Here are six tips from licensed counselors that will help you and your housemates make it through the pandemic (without the need for pins).
1. Hit the mental reset button with a soothing activity
After this many weeks in isolation, all of the small annoyances have probably started to add up in a big way—which is why it’s so important to find some activity that can ease your tension.
“After several weeks in isolation together, people lose a sense of privacy and boundaries,” explains psychotherapist Risa Williams. “My advice would be to find ways to mentally reset throughout the day.”
For some people this might mean listening to music, watching movies, reading a book, or even taking a walk.
“Try to do these things in small increments throughout the day so that your internal stress level can come down on its own,” Williams says. “If you find yourself getting overly focused on what your roommate is doing, turn your attention back to yourself and your own goals.”
2. Talk about the coronavirus and your approach to social distancing
For some roomies, tensions might arise around handling the pandemic itself.
“Another issue that comes up frequently is the difficulty of having different ideas about how to navigate the pandemic safely,” says licensed psychologist Heather Lyons of the Baltimore Therapy Group. “Sometimes your roommate will think you’re too obsessive about guarding against the virus, or perhaps you’re the one who thinks that your roommate’s ideas about social distancing are controlling.”
For issues like these, Lyons recommends taking the time to hear each other out. By slowing down and listening to each other’s point of view, hopefully you can come to some sort of agreement about best practices for your shared spaces.
Another way to cope: Pick your battles.
“If your roommate wants to spend two hours wiping down the groceries with Clorox, that won’t hurt you,” Lyons says. “So just let it go.”
3. Check in and talk it out
If all those small annoyances are way past working themselves out, then it might be time to check in.
“Maybe they had a bad day and need extra space, or perhaps they want to talk more,” says licensed professional counselor Sara Makin of Makin Wellness. “You won’t know unless you take the initiative to find out.”
Checking in lets your roommates know you care about their well-being, and it also opens up communication for all of you to air your issues.
“This is not a great time to let resentment grow between yourself and a housemate,” says counselor Katie Lear. “Using a simple ‘I’ statement that focuses on your own feelings removes judgment and can make criticism easier to hear.”
4. Negotiate space
Since many of the issues between you and your roommates are likely arising from all the extra time you’re forced to spend together, now is a great time to discuss your schedules.
“Express that you want to figure out how to share your living space and see what benefits both of you,” Makin says.
Addressing issues of space can clear up a lot of future arguments, according to Makin, especially if this is a conversation you’ve never had before.
5. Practice empathy
“Empathy is so necessary during this pandemic,” says licensed psychotherapist Victoria Raymond. “Everyone—your partner, your family, your roommates, your colleagues—is trying to adjust to a worldwide crisis, and it’s especially important to remember that we all process things differently.”
You can practice empathy with your housemates by being more mindful of the stress they might be experiencing and remaining aware of this in your interactions with them.
6. Assume the best (not the worst)
On a related note: It helps to try to recognize that everyone’s just doing their best—even if it doesn’t seem like it.
“Sometimes their version of that looks massively different than yours, and that’s OK,” Makin says. “Human beings are extremely resilient—we’ll make it through this together.”
The post Stay Sane! 6 New Rules of Living With Roommates During a Pandemic appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.