If you live with others, you’ve now been in the same physical space as all of them for several weeks. You might be starting to pull your hair out a little. You love them, of course (they are family). Or you like them, hopefully (roommates). But quarters are starting to get a little cramped. You could use a little time for yourself. You need a little breathing room.
One thing I’m saying ALL THE TIME is that we don’t find time. We make time.
So, if you’re thinking that perhaps one day you’ll simply find yourself alone in a room with a good book. That’s not happening. You have to make it happen! The good news is, you can make it happen.
(And, if you are living alone, then you might be experiencing the opposite issue. Not enough connection. And that’s actually what I covered in my last post. So, if you missed that one, check it out HERE.)
HERE ARE A FEW OPTIONS FOR GETTING A LITTLE SPACE IN YOUR LIFE (IN A TEMPORAL AND PHYSICAL SENSE) WHEN YOU’RE STUCK INSIDE WITH THE SAME PEOPLE, DAY AFTER DAY.
Create a little world for yourself in your own head. Put on an audiobook, or your favorite podcast, face a window (or do some chores for a little “productive break”) and tune everybody else out for a little while. Use your imagination to pretend no one is there!
Noise-cancelling headphones are a godsend here. I literally JUST got some and they are awesome. I can still hear it if someone calls my name, but the background din is gone. I’d never felt like I needed them before when I was the only one working from home. But with 5 of us here, all day, every day, this was the upgrade I needed.
Swap “time off” with a partner
If you’ve got kids, like me, you might be feeling like you are parenting 100% of the time now (stay-at-home-parents the world around are probably feeling just a little smug right about now, and I don’t blame them!). You need some time alone. And if you’ve got a partner, so do they. Agree to a swap. You play with the kids in the living room while your partner locks themselves in the bedroom to read a book, uninterrupted, for a few hours. Then you switch. This is something you could perhaps do every weekend.
Part of the issue with everyone being in the same space, all the time, is that we all likely come with different ideas about how spaces should be used. Make an agreement with the other people in your space about HOW to use that space.
We’ve found it super helpful to designate a specific “work zone” or each person in our household (including kids) during the day. I’ve got the office, my husband has the family room, one of my kids has taken over the dining room, etc. During the day, we don’t enter each other’s spaces much, but we can congregate for lunch in the kitchen (which is, for the time being, no man’s land…or every person’s land, as the case may be).
If you don’t have the luxury of separate rooms for each person, then it might be useful to think of the rooms available as resources. Is there one room that is good for having Zoom calls that’s more private and quiet? Can you set up a system where people in the house can “book” this room when they need it? Even just agreeing that each person gets a separate seat in the living room, that remains consistent and they can call their own, for now, can be valuable.
Take walks, alone
If you’re still allowed to go outside (with 6 foot social distancing), then consider taking a walk alone. It’ll be good to move your body. It’ll help you clear your head. Try taking a walk without listening to anything on your phone. Even just 15 minutes with your own thoughts in the relative quiet can do wonders for your mood.