#Askingforafriend: Relationships under quarantine

By Tanner Enderle
GCU Office of Student Care
#Askingforafriend

The definition of “cabin fever” is “irritability, listlessness and similar symptoms resulting from long confinement or isolation indoors.” Sounds about right for what we all are experiencing, doesn't it?

The first few days might have been filled with hope, relaxation and productivity. You might have spring cleaned, done all those projects you never had time for and finally read that book you got for Christmas. However, those feelings probably are distant memories.

Your feelings about the people you live with probably have changed, too. It might have started with fun times, pleasant conversations and a unified front to “get through these tough times together.” But now you could be getting on each other’s nerves and feeling hurt, disappointment, bitterness, sadness, pain or flat-out annoyance. Those feelings are all valid and true. 

Amid these difficult times and hard emotions, let’s reflect on how we can thrive in and build up our relationships rather than damage them or just survive in them: 

  • Communicate: Make an intentional effort to communicate to the people in your living space your wants, expectations, feelings and boundaries. This is especially important during this time where our freedom, friends and focus can be limited. The people you live with might not be accustomed to everyone being home 24/7, which means a need for clarity about expectations, roles and responsibilities. Who is doing the extra dishes, taking out the extra trash, making the extra meals, helping siblings with homework?
  • Mutual support: How can you support one another in this season? Practice asking for what you need and for what others need.
  • Avoid polarization: One person might want to maintain routine, consistency and normalcy while the other might emphasize safety, distance and isolation. Avoid taking sides and “black-and-white thinking.”
  • Recognize: Empathize with the grief and feelings of others.
  • Take space: Set aside time every day when you can be alone, either in productivity, rest or relaxation. 
  • Get outdoors: Although the spaces and places we would like to go are limited, we still can enjoy the outdoors through walks, hikes and creative fun.
  • Notice your strong responses: At times, the intensity of our emotions may not match the situation. This may be the result of stress, biology, past experiences or trauma.
  • Reflection: Take time to reflect on your feelings, the day and your activities. This can help spread out the days and help avoid them blurring together. 
  • Fill up: Brainstorm about current things you can do to produce joy in your life and fill up your proverbial tank. Also, talk about the things you can do to fill up the tanks of those around you as well! 

These are hard times, and it’s OK to acknowledge that. It’s understandable if this experience strains our relationships.

But in the chaos around us, we still can take steps to provide support, help and empathy in our relationships as we navigate these times … together.

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Bible Verse

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. (1 John 3:1)

To Read More: www.verseoftheday.com/