We are four weeks in to lockdown and I’ve been hearing from a number of people now that we’ve settled into the new routine, that the strain and cracks are beginning to show in our relationships.
Read my 9 Ways to Avoid Falling Out in Lockdown with your nearest and dearest and building stronger family ties.
If you are spending more time with your partner, children, lodgers and parents…it’s natural that the little things begin to get on our nerves and become magnified. After all we are in close proximity virtually 24/7 in most cases. For example the little domestic niggles, moods, outbursts and withdrawing, non- committal responses and big and small irritations… can become over sized and out of proportion*.
Are you at the Storming Stage?
There is a magnificent management theory I learnt many moons ago.
It goes like this: form- storm- norm.
The forming–storming–norming–performing model of group development was first proposed by Bruce Tuckman in 1965. He claimed that these phases are all necessary and inevitable in order for the team to grow, face up to challenges, tackle problems and find solutions. I love this theory because it applies to many different forms of teams and situations. So apt in the Covid-19 lockdown situation we find ourselves in.
For many people I’ve spoken to we are at the storming stage! Swap team member for family member. ‘Tolerance of each team member and their differences should be emphasized; without tolerance and patience the team will fail. This phase can become destructive to the team and will lower motivation if allowed to get out of control.’
9 Top Tips to Get Out of Storming Phase
Here are my top tips to nip this is in the bud before it escalates to a full blown fall out and avoid staying stuck in the storming stage:
Apply Tolerance- Step back from wading in with a retort or a response. Is this a personal attack on you? Or is the other persons way of dealing with their grief and shock to their own particular set of circumstances? So much is happening for all of us to process and we are all doing that in our own separate ways.
Understanding -Because of this extra- ordinary situation that we all find ourselves in, it is unrealistic to expect to be in synch with another all of the time.
Space – Allow yourself or the other person to go off to another area of your living accommodation, garden or outside to just be and do their own thing. I liken it to being literally closeted in a monastery or a convent. Where the inhabitants go about their daily business in relative solitude, purposeful and come together at meal times. ( maybe not applicable with children).
Avoid trying to fix whatever is going on for the other person if they seem upset. You can be a listening ear, empathic but it’s not your stuff to fix.
Acceptance -be prepared to accept others have a right to an opinion, yours isn’t necessarily always right, everyone’s opinion is valid.
Don’t stress on the small stuff– if the kids are back home or your living with your elderly parents, or seeing more of your partner than normal. Avoid letting the little things get to you. Again just let it go and know that this period will not last forever.
It’s not yours to have-If someone close to you is behaving moodily, or rude or aggressive just walk away if you can. Refrain from getting involved with their stuff. Now isn’t the time for a bust up.
Letting go– It’s important not to hold on for too long to anger, annoyance and stress, because it lowers your immune system. The other day I was on a walk still fuming about something and then I thought half way round “ Hey Nicola, your still dragging that person around with you”. It actually made me laugh, the absurdity of it.
Struggling with Children– Our children are just as confused and worried about the situation as we are and struggling to makes sense of not seeing their friends and grandparents. This is a good resource for Positive Parenting tips and advice.
Change Your Energy
If you are fuming and simmering with annoyance and frustration try these swift energy changers:
An instant game changer – is the laughing policeman song. Basically you just start to laugh out loud, (I tend to do this in the car or on a walk) but can do it as a group. At first the laugh is very forced, just keep going and then suddenly you switch to finding it very funny because it’s so absurd. Laughter releases the feel good chemical serotonin. You will quickly feel lighter.
Love and compassion- let go of your pain body and your high and mighty ego. Just drop the annoyance towards the other person. Think about all of the nice things about them, most people do have lots of qualities. Focus on those. Come from a place of understanding, they too are feeling scared and vulnerable.
Get in touch with your peaceful place.-There is plenty of good material out there to help you to relax. Take advantage of downloading my free Guided Hypnosis MP coping with Covid-19
Head over to my Relationship page If you are struggling with a relationship issue and feeling overwhelmed and check out how I can help you.
*If you are worried and concerned about your safety during lockdown with an abusive partner/ parent seek help and advice from https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk/