As the coronavirus pandemic spreads, self-isolation or quarantine is one of the key strategies in “flattening the curve” of infection rates. These 14-day isolation periods involve individuals or families staying within their homes, and not having physical contact with those outside. With the prospect of school and daycare closures, as well as workplaces shutting down or moving to remote working, many more families around the world face the prospect of precisely the kind of long days the Diener family is experiencing.
But what can families expect and how can they survive not only the virus, but each other?
For parents trying to work from home, their ability to do so will rely on various factors from the age of their children and the layout of their home to the nature of their work. The temperament of parents and kids will also play a role.
Claire Amos, the principal of Albany senior high school in Auckland, has been self-isolating within the family home, away from her teenage children and husband, for nearly two weeks after a work trip to Italy. Amos devotes mornings to emails and Google Hangout meetings with senior staff and students, and was surprised at how productive she has been. “You can get jobs done really effectively in this state. A lot of the time you’re busy being busy, rather than doing anything productive.”
Diener’s wife works part-time from home for a local wine company, so her work hasn’t been too disrupted. For Diener, used to training and playing basketball all day, the shift has been hard. He has tried to keep up some training but it’s not the same. “For me, sitting at home is driving me a little crazy too,” he says. “I’m used to doing my job.”
Cabin Fever is a Real Danger
With routines disrupted and families thrown into close quarters, cabin fever is a real danger. It is exacerbated by predispositions and thought processes and can manifest, says Dr Carly Johnco, a clinical psychologist at Sydney’s Macquarie University, as anxiety, extreme frustration, depression or low mood. The University of Melbourne psychology professor and parenting expert Prof Lea Waters AM says self-isolation can hit three critical components of mental health: our sense of autonomy, relatedness (a sense of being connected to others) and competency (feeling effective).
Original article appeared on The Guardian. Click to read full article.