3 Tips for Quarantining with Loved Ones
I'm not sure who has it worse: folks who are isolated alone or those of us who are quarantining with our loved ones. All in all, I'm glad my boyfriend and I left our Brooklyn apartment before the state of emergency was declared in order to quarantine upstate with my parents.
What's the downside? I'm now quarantined upstate with my parents, my boyfriend, and our one-year-old dog, and there's no end in sight. To make things worse, I have three mental illness struggles that have developed alongside my Behcet's Disease, the chronic autoimmune disease that I was born with, that I feel like I'm unloading into their laps. Here's how I'm making quarantining with my loved ones work.
How I'm Making Quarantining with Loved Ones Work
1. I Remind Myself I'm Not a Burden to My Loved Ones
My mental and physical challenges that come with chronic illness are plenty. For one, I have disordered eating patterns that came with a lifetime of food causing gastrointestinal inflammation and ulceration. I'm obsessive about my eating habits and hyper-controlling. I worry that when I don't finish a meal, my mother will be concerned. I worry that if I tell her I can't eat cheese, I'm becoming a burden. I have to remind myself that these are not strangers, they know my story, don't think of me as a burden, and want to make quarantining with loved ones work for all of us too.
2. I Found My Space
Managing the mental and physical symptoms of chronic illness takes time and attention. Some of the work I do to manage the mental illness symptoms is done alone. For example, I have a mindfulness practice, I need time to decompress and I need time to rest. Finding time and space to do this is harder living with three people than it was living alone -- but it's not impossible. I carved out some space that's mine at a seat at a desk, and I reserve a few minutes a day to be alone.
3. I Allow My Loved Ones to Provide Support
When I first entered quarantine with loved ones, I freaked out. I thought about all the ways this would make things harder -- I wouldn't have the complete control that I've grown accustomed to in controlling my disordered eating, my chronic illness-related anxiety and my healthcare; I would have to coordinate with three other people.
But recently, I've been noticing the other side of the coin. My loved ones know my story; they know my struggle; they love me anyway. When I need help, they offer it. While quarantining with loved ones can be tricky, it's also a source of comfort.
What have you learned since being in quarantine with people you love? Share your comments below.
Card, M. (2020, April 7). 3 Tips for Quarantining with Loved Ones, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, October 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/relationshipsandmentalillness/2020/4/3-tips-for-quarantining-with-loved-ones
Author: Miranda Card
We are all facing very new, and interesting challenges as we navigate this unprecedented time. Shares like these are so important for many reasons, one being that others can relate and we don't feel so alone. I love your suggestion for finding space. Even though this may seem a little trickier to do, we can still make an effort to carve out space for ourselves and reap the benefits of that. Reminding ourselves that we are not a burden to our loved ones, especially during this time, is also so important. Thank you for sharing!