They are your family members. They are the people that you love the most in the world. You can normally take a joke. You used to love the little things that they do for you. Yet, this week, while they are talking, you are looking for a way out. All you want to do is to escape.
Yes. We all need space during the pandemic.
This goes for extroverts, too. By the way, children have a sixth sense like a homing device. They will escape if they need space. They do not have the capacity to hide it.
So notice when you don’t feel like talking, notice when you just want to take a walk, notice when you have no emotional energy left after all of your Zoom calls during your workday.
You need some space. Go into a spare room if you have one and close the door.
Put on some earbuds
I was never that mom who will put space between my little one and me with an electronic device. Yet, I’m noticing that podcasts that I listen to while fixing breakfast in the morning helps me to be a lot more patient throughout the day.
When you are seeing the same people day in and day out, you need emotional space. It’s okay to have time to focus on your inspirations and check out for a few minutes. You should not feel guilty about putting on earbuds. You can let them know that you need to listen to a song for 3 minutes. You can listen to a 20-minute podcast while getting some chores done.
Stagger workday between meaningful social interactions
If you have flexibility in your workday, stagger your calls and work interactions in between interactions with your family members. Your kids have their online lessons in the morning. Your significant other is watching them while you got your work done. When you end your conference call 15 minutes early, you pop in and grab those popsicle sticks out of the freezer and see your kid’s faces light up over their Zoom call.
Meaningful, joyful social interactions create much needed emotional recovery in otherwise, long days spent in front of electronic devices for work or school.
Go for a walk as a family
You can still go out when you are social distancing. We go out once a day when the weather is nice. If you are lucky and all of your kids can ride bikes, go for a bike ride.
Just getting some sun to brighten up your day can help you recover from too much stimulation. We love going out at the end of the day before dinner time. When you’ve been productive, you can focus on being present with your family.
Those moments of connections at the end of the day are priceless. Choose these moments over cooking elaborate dinners. Choose these moments over checking off another item on your todo list. Choose these moments over another work phone call.
Notice and communicate when you need space
Children have this uncanny ability to be truthful about when they need to “check out”. They escape. Mine will just hide beneath a blanket for a while. This is sensory overload.
You, and me, and the rest of the adult population, we all suffer sensory overload from time to time. We tend to cope with it all. Sometimes, when we are significantly drained, we act out.
It often looks like we are angry, frustrated, or simply tired.
You don’t need a reason to feel these negative emotions. Rather than getting to the bottom of issues right away, just get some space to clear your head. Sometimes, there are no rational reasons for needing space. Sometimes, you just need to take a walk until you can focus on positive energy again.
No, it’s not your partner’s fault. It’s probably just you.
Create your own space
You can live in a shoebox and still create some much needed personal space. Claim your area where you are spending most of your day to work. Draw an actual physical line if you must.
I usually barricade my desk off from my child if I need a few hours to myself. If your children are young, it may not seem possible. But, having at least a semblance of your own space to “escape” to at the end of the day may be the saving grace when you are drained.
Don’t feel guilty if you need some space and time to yourself. Schedule it every day so that you can fill your cup. It’s that much more important during this pandemic while social distancing.
If there’s a time to teach your family about respecting each other’s space, it is now. No, it doesn’t mean that you are in your rooms all day. It just means that your “alone” time is scheduled as is your “quality” time together as a family.