As the Coronavirus pandemic spreads, self-isolation or quarantine is one of the key strategies in “flattening the curve” of infection rates. These 14-day isolation periods involve individuals or families staying within their homes, and not having physical contact with those outside. With the prospect of school and daycare closures, as well as workplaces shutting down or moving to remote working, many more families around the world are facing the real family drama days.
But what can families expect and how can they survive not only the virus, but each other?
For parents trying to work from home, their ability to do so will rely on various factors from the age of their children and the layout of their home to the nature of their work.
Self-isolation can hit three critical components of mental health: our sense of autonomy, relatedness (a sense of being connected to others) and competency (feeling effective).
Some tips below on how to get through it:
Begin on the same page
“I’d suggest at the very start the family sit down and devise a family contract,” “Have a discussion: what do you think will be the biggest challenges? What are the strengths that we each have as an individual family member that can help out?” Discussing concerns and expectations about the quarantine, and what role each person can play to make it better, can be helpful.
It is important for parents to listen to and empathize with their children’s fears, speak truthfully about the situation in an age-appropriate manner and put it into context, the experts say.
For adults too, keeping a sense of perspective and sourcing information and advice from credible sources will help stave off anxiety. It’s important for people to be open about what they are experiencing, to reduce any possible stigma or embarrassment attached to self-isolation.
Set up structure
Maintaining a routine will be important but it need not be strict. Routines are always helpful for people to see an end point.