TNT: How To Defuse Quarantine Conflict



As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are spending significantly more time at home, which means more time with those who live with us. In addition, most people are experiencing increased stress due to various issues, including financial concerns, worries about health, changes in work schedules and less time with friends. The combination of these factors can contribute to more frequent disagreements and arguments at home. Below are some suggestions to help reduce the frequency of these interpersonal problems:

  • If you find yourself becoming frequently annoyed or aggravated by those you live with, try to find small ways to take time for yourself. You might take a bath or shower, read in a quiet nook, take a bit of time to watch a favorite show alone, take a walk, or go for a run or bike ride.
  • When you are in an argument, it is OK to ask for a break to calm down before discussing the issue further. It is important to come back to the topic later to resolve the issue, but sometimes one or both people need to take some time to cool down before continuing the discussion.
  • If you notice you are feeling annoyed by things your partner, roommate, children, or others who lives with you are doing, use “I” statements to express your feelings. For example, instead of saying, “You leave your dishes everywhere and don’t clean up after yourself,” it may go better to say, “I feel frustrated when I see you dishes left in the living room.”
  • Be open to compromise. We are all under additional stress, and we are all having to find creative ways to make the current situation work as best we can. Many people are preparing more meals at home, which involves more meal prep and more clean-up. Talk with others in your household about how to distribute those responsibilities. Additionally, individuals with children at home have to balance working from home with childcare responsibilities. Identify a schedule that considers everyone’s work demands (e.g., need for times without interruption for certain work activities), and identify what work activities have fixed vs. flexible times to help in developing this schedule.
  • Try to acknowledge the little things that others in your household do. Thank your partner for making you a cup of coffee or watching the children during a meeting. Thank your roommate for cleaning the dishes or making a meal. Thank your children for working quietly for a period of time or making you a craft.

About the author: Amie Newins joined UCF in 2016 as an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology. She also serves as the director of the Center for Research and Education on Sexual Trauma (CREST) at UCF RESTORES and the director of Continuing Education for UCF RESTORES. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Virginia Tech in 2013. Prior to joining the UCF faculty, Newins was a psychologist at the Durham VA Medical Center. Her research interests are identifying ways to improve treatments for trauma-related disorders, identifying risk factors for sexual assault and examining the relationship between anxiety and substance use.



Comments are closed.