The Montfort Group

Trapped At Home: 10 Ways To Avoid Conflict

Your home may be your castle, but spending 24 hours a day there can be a drag. Self-quarantining in the midst of a global pandemic can take its toll.

As the amount of home time increases, so do family conflicts. The very idea that you may not be able to leave your home for weeks or months can be extremely stressful and that stress can come out in hurtful ways. If you want to keep the peace, here are 10 ways to avoid conflict when you’re trapped at home.

1. Expand your social circle with technology. If being cooped up with your family is driving you crazy, use technological tools to reach out to others. From video conferencing sites like Zoom to Skype and FaceTime, there are plenty of ways to keep in touch. 

2. Keep your distance. Social distancing has become the watchword of the COVID-19 response, and staying away from strangers is important in a pandemic. But practicing social distancing in your own home could also protect your sanity, so stake out your living space and enjoy some alone time. 

3. Avoid touchy subjects. If you know certain subjects will set off a family member, leave those subjects alone until the current situation changes. There are plenty of other things to talk about, so steering clear of touchy subjects should not be much of a challenge.

4. Take a walk when things get stressful. If the mood inside your home is turning toxic, escaping to the great outdoors could defuse the situation and make you feel better. Even if it is just a walk around the yard or a jog around the block, the fresh air and sunshine will do you good. 

5. Hold regular celebrations and special events. Being trapped in your home can actually be fun if you have the right attitude. You work very hard to pay the rent or mortgage, and now is the time to enjoy the fruits of your labors. So grab the remote, fire up that giant TV and enjoy a family movie night or hours binge-watching your favorite shows. Better yet, make these temporary celebrations regular events, with weekly movie marathons or board game tournaments. 

6. Talk honestly about how you are feeling. Being trapped in a small space for weeks on end can put a strain on even the healthiest relationship, but you do not have to endure the stress alone. Talk honestly with your partner about how you have been feeling, from worries about illness to concerns about money and paying the bills. 

7. Limit alcohol consumption. A glass of wine can help you relax, but drinking to excess will probably make a bad situation even worse. Excessive alcohol consumption can exacerbate family conflicts and lead to negative consequences, so ration your adult beverages until the quarantine is over. 

8. Laugh together. If you are feeling stressed and at your wit’s end, a little light comedy could be just what you are looking for. Whether you watch a favorite comedian on Netflix or binge-watch a classic sitcom, you will feel better, and so will your partner. 

9. Read to each other. The COVID-19 lockdown has led to an explosion in book sales, and that is definitely a good thing. Now that you have some hardcover entertainment, take the time to read to your partner and your kids. Reading together can be a wonderful bonding experience, and family book night just might become a cherished tradition. 

10. Get creative with your cooking. Now that you have plenty of time on your hands, you can experiment with your cooking and try out those new dishes you have been meaning to prepare. When dinner is ready, you can hold a mini date night with your spouse or partner, complete with glowing candles and a couple of glasses of your finest wine. 

Keeping the peace is no easy task, not with so much going on in the world and so many people feeling so stressed. If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed lately, you are not alone, but you do not have to let those feelings erupt in conflict. The 10 tips listed above can help you stay calm, connected and happy until you are once again able to leave your home.

 

Cory Montfort, MS, LPC-S

Cory Montfort, MS, LPC-S

I completed my Masters of Science in Counseling from Southern Methodist University where I specialized in working with individuals, couples, and families. I have extensive experience working within the mental health community facilitating groups, conducting assessments, counseling individuals, and performing crisis intervention. I hold an active License in Professional Counseling and am also a board-approved Counselor Supervisor for the state of Texas.

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