By: Allison Foley (Reporter ‘21)
For many of us, this has been the longest amount of time we have consistently spent with our families. In many ways, it is nice to be able to spend time with our families, as lots of our families typically have busy schedules. Things like family movie nights, board games, or even all gathering at the table for dinner have been made possible by being stuck at home. However, this much downtime and family time can occasionally be overwhelming and frustrating. At times, it is hard to be patient with our family members, and this much time together can cause a strain on even the strongest of relationships.
It is important that we pay attention to our own mental health and recognize when we feel like we need some alone time versus when we could use some time with our families. Like many things regarding quarantine and self isolation, we must find a balance. I talked to Heather about how we can find this balance and how we can make sure we stay calm under these circumstances. She said, “It takes kindness and awareness to help you prioritize the people in your life and avoid letting fuses get short and tempers flaring while living in close quarters.”
To manage these emotions, Heather shared with me a method called “S.T.O.P” The acronym stands for:
1)S=Stop, take a pause before you react.
2)T=Take a breath, a good, solid, deep breath takes at least a couple seconds, if not longer. The breath serves to ground you in your body, ground you in the moment, and relax you a bit.
3) O=Observe what you are thinking and feeling without acting out on your emotions.
4) P=Proceed in a way that is healthier. Ask for a break for a few minutes to be able to revisit the moment later when there's been an opportunity to cool off.
Walking through these steps can help guide someone away from impatient and frustrated feelings. Practices like this are all the more relevant during these strange times. Sometimes, just reminding yourself of the simple acronym can be enough to calm you down, even if it is just for a second.
The counseling department offers so much more information on their podcast, FCS Student Wellness: Strategies, Techniques & Tips, as well as their instagram account, @fcs_counselingandwellness. At any time, if you feel anxious or overwhelmed, these are great resources to turn to. These are confusing times, and often, it is hard to know how to feel. We are all in this together, and as dark as it may seem now, there will be a light at the end of the tunnel.