83°F
weather icon Clear

Little love, luck help us through quarantine

I hope you are among the lucky ones who are quarantined at home with someone you love. I can’t imagine the feelings of loneliness that would come with being truly self-isolated.

Still, spending 24 hours a day, seven days a week for weeks on end — and with no real end in sight — may not be easy for all couples, no matter how much they love each other.

Usually, there is some type of respite — a shopping trip, visit to the gym, outing with friends or even going to work. In today’s environment, however, we are working at home, finding creative ways to exercise and doing a lot of online shopping.

Add a child or two to the mix and life gets infinitely more complicated. Not only are they not physically going to school, you have likely assumed the role of teacher or tutor. That’s definitely not an easy task.

Plus, kids need something to do in those nonschool hours. They can’t go play with their friends or practice with teammates for an upcoming competition. There’s only so much TV they can watch or video games they can play before they long for something else to do.

I’m sure they don’t want to occupy their time with boring household chores or cleaning their rooms, although that would probably make their moms and dads happy. I know that was something I was always reminding my girls about when they were younger.

This period of staying at home is trickier for divorced parents who share custody or visitation of their children. Obviously, the kids can’t be spending the time they need or are required to spend with the other parent at the moment.

All this is creating a situation where people are experiencing a higher than normal level of anxiety, according to a recent survey by the University of Phoenix. Among the survey respondents, 41 percent said they are anxious and 68 percent said they feel as if everything in their lives is out of their control.

Dean Aslinia, chairman of the counseling department at the University of Phoenix, said there are three natural physiological responses to anxiety: fight, flight or freeze. None of these reactions are ideal for keeping harmony at home.

So, what should we do?

Aslinia and Katherine Hertlein, a couple and family therapy program professor at UNLV, have some suggestions. Key among them is communication. Let each other know what you are feeling and thinking and be mindful of what you say. If a situation gets heated, Hertlein suggests taking a break of at least 20 minutes, but preferably 45, before resuming the conversation. Words hurled at another person in the heat of the moment can hurt as much as physical wounds, and often take longer to heal from.

“Take the 45-minute break before you think you need it. By the time you think you need it, it’s probably too late,” she said.

Aslinia said texting each other also works.

“If you anxiety level is so elevated you would be yelling at each other, text instead.”

Our communication doesn’t always have to be verbal either. Sitting close to each other, holding hands and smiling send big messages without uttering a word, Hertlein added.

She said we need to acknowledge that we are confined to our homes and give each other time to grieve for the things we have lost.

Hertlein and Aslinia say it is important that we work on ways to reduce anxiety in our lives and take control of the things that we can control.

“Because you’re operating from this hunched, tense place, you need to bring that anxiety down so that you can have productive interactions,” she said.

Suggestions include having a regular routine, getting some exercise, sleeping enough, eating healthy foods and regulating the amount of information you see regarding the coronavirus.

Aslinia added that parents have to make sure that they don’t let their anxiety spill over into their children’s lives. He said children may not have the necessary skills to find ways to cope with the situation and look to their parents to provide that “sense of safety, security and comfort.”

“Learn to breathe a little,” he said. “Some breathing, mindfulness and meditation go a long way to reducing anxiety.

“If something good can come from this pandemic, we can hopefully recognize the need for intentional behaviors that maintain and improve our mental health,” he added.

And if we can do that, then luck may be on all our sides.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Spaced out adventures await

I may have been physically confined to my home for the past couple of months as the state, nation and world have fought against the deadly coronavirus, but that hasn’t stopped me from taking an out-of-this-world adventure.

Law sets parameters for council’s actions

Does a position on City Council or as mayor come with a magic wand or golden scepter? I can answer no. There have been recent examples the City Council or I, as mayor, cannot fix to everyone’s satisfaction. The current worldwide pandemic is the greatest example of that harsh fact.

Challenging times inspire creative solutions

It’s been 1,728 hours — 72 days — since Nevadans were first asked to work from home and begin isolating themselves from others to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Meaningful thoughts pass test of time

I enjoy well said, meaningful sayings. Thoughts that are well-spoken, especially during a time of confusion, desperation and perhaps, situations that seem impossible, are often priceless.

Political choices dictate nation’s economy

Since March 16, I’ve been at home on the computer sharing educational materials as much as possible with as many folks as possible on social media sites, sending them personal messages and calling them. I’ve done this because, believe it or not, I’ve seen education work wonders.

Science smashes coronavirus conspiracy theories

Baseball legend Yogi Berra famously quipped about a 1973 pennant race, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” Berra’s oft-repeated observation couldn’t be more apt for the current public health crisis, as governors (Republican as well as Democrat) lead efforts to contain the nationwide devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic. Berra’s Mets did eventually come back to win the division title that year. The U.S., and the world, must take decisive, even unpopular steps, to ensure that the coronavirus doesn’t also make a huge comeback.

Who is that masked man?

The other day, my husband and I had to run out to the grocery store to pick up a few things. In these days of COVID-19, it was certainly a different experience than it had been before.

Virus was scam to get political control

After three years of historic economic growth, record unemployment and a proliferating middle-class lifestyle, the anti-Trump cadre, without missing a beat, migrated from their failed three-year impeachment circus and transformed a pandemic into a gigantic economic demolition derby.

Make your mom proud

Sunday is Mother’s Day. To all the moms (and dads who fill that role) out there, I wish you a happy day and offer gratitude for what you do.

Sense of normalcy slowly returns

We are beginning to look toward making a way back to our normal lives. More likely, we will find ways to a new normal. It does not appear it will be done quickly as the COVID-19 virus threat still exists.