A lot of the guidance about self-isolation seems to assume your household is a happy one, where spending 14 days together is relatively easy.
‘Self-isolation’ technically refers to the 14 days of self-imposed quarantine if someone in your household shows symptoms of COVID-19.
But if you are socially distancing by staying at home as much as possible, the suggestions below might also help you to spend this time together with less stress.
A lot of stress can arise from blaming each other for your circumstances. Ordinarily there might be good reason for this, especially if one partner has acted unreasonably.
It’s important to realise that neither partner is to blame for the Coronavirus pandemic. Try to recognise this – whatever led to the breakdown of your relationship.
This is also important if you have not yet told your partner that you are unhappy or want to separate. Try especially hard not to blame them if they don’t yet know that you want to leave.
There’s a lot about the current situation that we cannot control, and while that can be stressful, you can relieve a lot of that stress simply by accepting it.
Most importantly, remember that this situation is temporary. Self-isolation lasts for 14 days, and social distancing will gradually be relaxed in the coming months.
Instead of feeling like you have no control, admit that you don’t have control right now, but you will soon – similar to the way many couples think “we’ll just get through Christmas” before separating.
Talk to each other. That might be difficult, but once you’ve accepted that neither of you is to blame and there are elements of this that you can’t control, try to have a conversation.
You might find more common ground than you expected, as many of us have similar worries right now.
Be open and stay calm – start with a simple “hey, can we talk?” and go from there. Communication can be hugely helpful in troubled times – a problem shared really can be a problem halved.
If your household is self-isolating with symptoms, you should avoid going out in public, even for essential supplies like food if possible.
That can leave you feeling physically trapped, so get some space if you can. Use any outside space you have available, even if it’s just a small yard.
Time spent apart – taking a nap in a different room, or a long hot bath, for example – can reduce stress levels and allow you to recharge your social batteries for those times when you have to be in the same room together.
Finally, seek support if you need it. Even if you cannot leave your home, help is out there and is available to you.
If you are self-isolating and feel you are in immediate danger, call 999 for the police or contact a domestic abuse helpline. Your safety is paramount, even during self-isolation.
For more general support, the team at Marcia Mediation are conducting sessions via video apps like Zoom and Skype, so we can continue to help you during this time.