5 Tips for Maintaining Your Live-In Relationships as You Shelter-in-Place

Janet Tiberian Author
By Janet Tiberian, MA, MPH, CHES
April 7, 2020
Managing relationships during coronnavirus

Like a lot of Americans, you’re probably sheltering-in-place and you may be stuck doing it for a while. As we all try to flatten the coronavirus curve, you may be wondering how you’re going to manage being cooped up with your spouse, parents, children or roommates 24/7 -- even if they’re your favorite people. 

Close quarters can also cause more than a little extra stress. There’s been an uptick in domestic violence reports due to the coronavirus lockdown. Here are few steps you can take to ease stress, make living with people a little easier and possibly strengthen your live-in relationships:

Find an outlet for stress and anxiety.

The strain of the pandemic, job loss and health issues are causing a tremendous amount of stress. Controlling the stress can help lower blood pressure, help you sleep and improve relationships. And while going to the gym workout or taking up a new hobby may not be feasible, you can try meditating, deep breathing, playing video or card games or watching a funny movie or reading a great digital book.

Skip alcohol. Yes, right now libations may seem like a logical – and possibly entertaining – way to take the edge of stress. However, alcohol is often a catalyst and fuel for arguments and irrational behavior. It’s why some states are considering shutting down package stores. Stay ahead of the curve and limit your alcohol intake.

If you’re leaving your house, let your “housemates” know.  You’ll cause a lot of concern and commotion if you’re supposed to be home, but your family members and roommates can’t find you. Spare yourself a headache by communicating your whereabouts to your loved ones. 

Take precautions before, during and after venturing outside. Every time you go out, you should take precautions such as wearing gloves and a mask and staying at six feet away from people. And once you get home, wash your hands and clothes, and disinfect objects and surfaces that are vulnerable to germs. This will help protect you and those living with you.  

Discuss your feelings and be empathetic. Remember, everyone in your house is in the same boat. You’re all stressed, which means, now that you’re spending every waking minute with each other, you’ll probably notice some quirks that you never saw. Or maybe endearing habits have now become annoying. If you’re upset with a living situation, explain your issue in a calm and clear manner without giving ultimatums. If you’re on the receiving end of constructive criticism, listen to your family member’s complaint and validate their feelings. After everyone has said their piece, work together to find solutions.

Remember why you’re together in the first place. The people you’re with are loved ones. And while it may be hard to summon compassion in the midst of a stressful situation, starting with compassion may alleviate some of that stress.

If you're struggling with anxiety over COVID-19, here are some stress-relief tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


About the Author
Janet Tiberian Author
Janet Tiberian, MA, MPH, CHES

Janet Tiberian is MDVIP's health educator. She has more than 25 years experience in chronic disease prevention and therapeutic exercise.

View All Posts By Janet Tiberian, MA, MPH, CHES
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