The policy of social distancing means that the newly-homebound are seeing less of coworkers than they did just weeks ago. They’re seeing fewer friends too. But they might be seeing a lot more of their family, or their roommates. And that isn’t easy.
For some, especially those who live alone, social distancing can bring with it a sense of isolation and loneliness. But for those who live with family or roommates, staying home means spending a lot of time together. After a few days of fun, being “alone together,” all the time, can become difficult.
Neither living alone nor with other people is easy in a time of great stress, Dr. Christina Lynch told CNA. But there are ways to build and maintain healthy relationships during the coronavirus pandemic.
A supervising psychologist at Denver’s St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, Lynch offered CNA a few suggestions for maintaining friendships, and family relationships, under quarantine, “shelter in place” orders, or social distancing policies.
Lynch suggests accepting that losing control is a difficult feeling.
“When we can’t be in control, we become agitated. This is part of our survival mechanism that God gave us so that we do whatever it takes to survive. Unfortunately, [through] the negative[ty] of social media and the internet, it’s made us so attached to the world and to what others think and to comparing ourselves that we think we have to always be busy,” she said.
It is difficult to be restricted to a house, Lynch said. It is difficult not to be busy. To address that, she emphasized the importance of building a routine, especially one that includes prayer, and recreation.
Lynch emphasizes that the “family is the first Church,” and suggests households – families or roommates- set daily routines of prayer, which might included Bible studies, morning and night prayers, or daily rosaries. She encouraged Catholics to bless each other with holy water, and to set up a prayer corner with statues and pictures of the saints.
“A prayer sets the tone for the whole day,” she said.
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