I think most of us would agree that we prefer life as it was before quarantine to life as it is during quarantine. With this said, it is hard to deny that being cooped up in our houses has presented us with more opportunities to do certain things that we previously did not have time for. I have noticed that whenever this topic is brought up it usually trends towards discussing methods of self improvement. We are told to use our extra free time for things like reading, self care, and creative outlets. There is no doubt that putting effort into these things is a beneficial use of our quarantime (quarantine time = quarantime). However, it is important to remember that your extra free time can also be put towards strengthening relationships with the family or friends you are stuck inside with.
It is easy for us to fall into a communication pattern when we are around the same people in the same place for an extended period of time. This usually involves us talking to the people around us at a similar time & in a similar setting as each day passes. It is easy for communication in this form to become habitual & instinctual rather than meaningful. I believe this is a major reason we become stir-crazy in situations like the one we are in now.
We can’t switch up our setting too much as long as we are told to stay in our houses, so how do we keep ourselves invested in those around us despite the overwhelmingly repetitive lives we are currently living? I think the best thing we can do is focus our time on doing the things we love with the people we love. Instead of gathering around a TV & scrolling on our smartphones, we need to figure out what the people around us like to do & spend time doing it with them.
Here’s an idea of how to do this:
Have everyone in your household give you 2-3 at-home activities they would like to do. Write these down on separate slips of paper & put them in a cup. Draw a slip from the cup whenever you have free time & complete the activity with the entire household. This gives everyone the opportunity to have a say in what everyone else does, & it gives your household multiple different circumstances to interact under.