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Sex with Dr. Jess


March 24, 2020

How to Cohabit Peacefully With Others During Your Self-Isolation

We took Global TV’s The Morning Show from the Corus studio to our home studios today! This week, we chat about how to get along with the people close to you during self-isolation. Check out my notes and video segment below!

I’m with my kids 24/7 with no end in sight – how do I keep from going bananas?

First, talk to your kids about how you’re feeling. And ask them how they’re feeling. Take it slowly and really listen to what they have to say. This is a stressful time for everyone. It’s a time of transition, uncertainty, fear, financial stress and constant change. Change has been documented as a primary source of prolonged stress, so we’re all experiencing heightened stress levels at this time.

So prioritize acknowledging, validating and working through feelings over home schooling or productivity. There is, of course, value in learning and producing, but the pressure cooker is almost at its limit with the news and precariousness of the current situation, so you may not be able to handle much beyond survival. Go easy on yourself and your kids.

My partner and I have never spent this much time together and we’re driving each other nuts!  What can we do so that we’re still together when this is over?

Set a schedule that allows for time alone, time together, time spend with friends online. I’ve divided my day into buckets instead of time periods: every day I want to do something for my physical health, mental health, business, relationship, home and family/friends (e.g. digital check in).

It’s okay to fight. But if you catch yourself fighting about the little stuff, try to laugh it off. Admit when you’re being less than your normal stellar self; when you’re already exhausted by the state of the world, it can be hard to be rational and empathetic, as your cognitive functioning and emotional processing centres are already taxed.

With people locked in the house, health worries, money worries – tempers can flare – how do we keep things calm in the house?

This is an important question and folks who are already forced to the margins — those living in abusive relationships and those living in poverty — are the worst hit right now. We’re saying “stay home”, but home isn’t safe for everyone. Essential services that ensure their livelihood and mental health have been shut down. Young people who count on social programs no longer have in-person access. Older folks who count on volunteer and community support are not receiving their regular visits. If this is you, please reach out via text, phone or video to anyone who might be able to offer support. If you can’t leave a trace of your messages, let them know when you might have some alone time to receive messages or talk. And this is a reminder to all of us to reach out to our friends, family and even acquaintances who could use our emotional, practical and financial support right now.

What if I’m cooped up with roommates – how do I survive the awkwardness?

Use your room to your advantage. Rearrange your room so it functions as an office and make sure you reach out to other friends for social interaction so that you’re not dependent on your roommate.

How do I tell the people in my household that I need alone time without hurting their feelings?

Let them know what you need as opposed to telling them what they’re doing wrong. But also accept that their feelings may be hurt and it’s not all your fault. What you say can precipitate their feelings, but you’re not entirely responsible for their feelings; the way they feel is, in part, in response to you and also shaped by their entire life experiences.

Is now the time for serious talks you’ve put off because of a lack of time in the past or should we be keeping things light?

This depends on your level of stress. If being cooped up or managing money woes is leaving you feeling distressed, this may not be the time to make big decisions that aren’t absolutely necessary. And I think it’s a reminder that we need to continue to invest in our physical health — through sleep and movement (or anything else that makes your body feel good) — and our mental health — (through meditation, yoga, reading, journaling or another ritual that helps you to feel more mindful). The more we take care of ourselves, the more we can enjoy the time we’re spending with a partner or other loved ones.