Some unvaccinated and vaccinated people are living life as it used to be.
I recently taped a segment on It’s About You with co-host, Joe Cronauer, on this topic: Pandemic-Related Stress and What it Can Do to Relationships. For those who choose to continue to be more cautious and careful, “restriction stress” can take a toll.
Not everyone deals with “restriction stress” in the same way. For example, a person who is more introverted may tend to retreat into himself or herself during the pandemic. Those who are introverted to begin with can burrow farther into themselves when under restrictions. If the introverted person lives with someone who derives his/her energy by socially connecting, that can end in a conflict, especially if the more extroverted person chases the introverted one.
Here are some tips to handling “restriction stress”:
- If there is a conflict that feels explosive, be quick to own your behavior and apologize by saying something like, “I apologize for blowing up. It’s not you. It’s a build-up of stress from feeling restricted.”
- As we enter another pandemic winter season, keep your communication pipeline open with your mate and family members. If you’re feeling stress or anxiety, communicate that to your loved ones. If you’re on the receiving end of someone who is expressing fear/anxiety, make sure you listen and validate the other person’s feelings instead of giving advice, unless advice is requested.
- Touch base with your mate or family by having a weekly meeting. The agenda for the weekly meeting can include cross-checking calendars, scheduling quality time together, and during the winter, having a “Pandemic Check.” For example, “How are you feeling about any current restriction or the pandemic, in general? On a scale from 1-10, how stressed are you?”
- If you find you re-energize yourself by having more alone time, explain that to your mate/family and schedule time during the weekly meeting to be alone.
- If you re-energize by socializing with others, explain that to your mate/family and schedule time with friends/relatives during the weekly meeting.
As we enter the winter season, remind yourself that you are resilient and adaptable. Pivoting has become something we’ve all had to do. And that’s not a bad thing!