Rachel Dubrow, LCSW
Top 5 Complaints of the Stay at Home Order
It's been a month since the stay at home order. You're tired, burnt out, and it still feels like there's no end in sight. What day is it, again?
You look forward to having some form of certainty throughout all of this. If you're anything like me, you feel like the stuff you did in the beginning of the stay at home order helped and now needs to be tweaked a bit. It's not that it isn't working, it's just not as effective as it used to be - or, you just don't feel motivated to do it.
I've lost my motivation completely.
You're working from home indefinitely and getting used to that routine. On top of it, balancing laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, childcare, and everything in between deprives you of the energy you used to have. Consider the following:
Plan a virtual happy hour or friend date so that you have something to look forward to.
Break things up into smaller chunks of time. If you find that you can't stay focused on a task, plan to only work on it for a certain amount of time. Remember, you may have to change things up schedule-wise in order to make things work.
Re-evaluate your own productivity. If doing 8 hours (or more) of work a day was easy before the stay at home order, think through what might make more sense now. Do you need to give yourself permission to work 6 hours? What about being 90% productive vs. your usual 110%? Do you need to change up your work schedule so that it works for you - say working 5am to noon and then 6pm to 9pm?
Get outside daily. Even if it's for 5 minutes. Breathing in fresh air will help things feel and seem less stale.
I'm sick of my/my partner's bad mood and irritability.
You're trying your best and find yourself on edge. You're angry, irritated, and annoyed at just about everything. Your patience with yourself and those around you is wearing thin. You're beginning to sense that you aren't that great to be around right now.
You feel like your partner is behaving in the same way. You argue and are more short tempered with each other than you have in the past. While you recognize it's probably because of all this COVID-19 stuff, you don't know how to get out of that rut.
Let's put this in perspective:
Be kind to yourself and one another about responsibilities. This isn't the time to pick apart things that you like about how you and/or your partner are doing things. This is the time to accept what can and can't be done right now. Make a list and try to accomplish 50-75% of it. It's OK if this becomes the new norm.
Take 10 to 30 minutes of your day where you don't have to answer or respond to anyone or anything. Block out the time on your schedule - and make sure to tell your partner - that you're doing this. This short amount of time is enough to give you a break and also enough where it won't be detrimental in the scheme of things.
Create a phrase that will signal that you need your space. This is what you want to use when the irritability, annoyance, and anything else is getting you to the point where a fight might happen. And if you do fight, it's to be expected given the time you're in. Do the best you can.
I'm not a medical professional and am not licensed to prescribe medication. However, if you feel like you may benefit from a temporary dose increase from what you're already on, mention it to your medical provider. Telehealth is an option with most insurance, so take advantage of it if you think you need it.
Spend a few minutes (or more) spending time with each other doing something mindless. Do a puzzle. Watch a new series. Go for a walk. Try a new recipe.
My kids are driving me nuts - and I'm over e-learning!
Let's face it, kids do best with structure. And we, as grandfathered homeschoolers, as flying by the seat of our pants to get this all done. We aren't going to be able to replicate school, nor are we expected to.
From a psychology perspective, kids will be learning more about how to manage a pandemic/emergency than the details of their day to day life. They're taking their cues from you as a parent, so spend the time after e-learning is done to have some fun and talk through the best and not so great thing that happened during the day.
When e-learning is done for the day:
Have your kid(s) put together activities that they like to do. If screen time is involved, limit it to 30 minutes or an hour. Other ideas include arts and crafts, fun books, or an outdoor sport.
Have your kids put together healthy snacks and water bottles so they can grab something if they're hungry or thirsty.
When e-learning is done, they can have some free time to do whatever you decide as a family. They can then pick one or more of the activities they've pre-chosen to do.
This is the time to encourage independence for older kids and self sufficiency with smaller tasks for the younger kids. Remember, some things aren't worth the argument at a time like this. For those that are, consider you and your child's emotional state when deciding on your approach.
I STILL can't sleep...
This may not be a new thing if you've (unfortunately) had insomnia in the past. Here are a few things to reconsider:
How physically active are you during the day?
Do you need to replace one physical activity with another for stress management? This might mean swapping out your run for yoga or vice versa.
What is your down time routine? A lot of us are going to bed still reeling from the day's events, news, or overall structure. Do you need to tweak that and get up earlier, take a break in the middle of the day, or spend a few more minutes reading before bed?
Stretching before bed may help you sleep. Check out some stretching videos online or from your favorite workout app.
Write down whatever is on your mind for 5 minutes (or more) before you go to bed
Do I REALLY have to wear a mask?
In my non-medical opinion, the short answer is yes. If we all do our part to follow the guidelines set forth, we ARE moving the wheel forward. Knowing that you're following a new protocol can be what you need to feel like things are changing. And we all need for things to change in order for this pandemic to get behind us.
I know there are many, many more complaints. We're here for you if you need more individualized problem solving. Contact us for a free 15-minute phone consultation.