Relationships During Isolation



However much we love our spouses, partners, parents and kids, spending lots more time together, at home, has its challenges.  Whether they are noisy, demanding, untidy, restless, stressy, or even aggressive, we have to interact with them SO much more now we are all being asked to stay at home.

There are many different types of families and homes all over the world and each relationship, within that unit, is unique.  However, we all have human traits in common and recognising these helps us manage all our relationships.

Firstly, most of us need attention – to be listened to, because what we have to say is far more important than what anyone else says.  It’s one reason children and parents raise their voices and behave badly, shouting,


It’s frustrating that we feel the need to demand attention but it’s normal human behaviour. Being listened to attentively makes us feel so valued and loved but we don’t always know how to communicate that. We have a basic human need to matter and be heard.

Secondly, many of us need personal space and that’s something that is suddenly being dramatically reduced with having to stay home together.  People aren’t that good at politely saying,

“PLEEEASE give me some space!” 

They are far more likely to become irritable, snap your head off or even have a tantrum, just because they need to be left alone for a while.

Lastly, we all need to feel secure and if there is one thing a pandemic will do, it’s rock our boats. We are suddenly unsure of everything and each of us in our family will feel that insecurity, in different ways and to varying degrees. The kids are adapting to online lessons and us grown-ups are stressing about food, bills, money, and the possibility of losing our more vulnerable loved-ones.

So, how does Mindfulness help us with our family’s need for attention, space and security?

1. Observe their behaviour and decide if it’s a cry for attention.  Ask them what they need and listen to their response.  Listen mindfully, giving them time to explain what they are feeling.  They might not know, so ask them to describe how it is affecting them.  Simply listening will help enormously and it will give you a far better insight into their needs and how to meet them.

2. Notice if they keep disappearing into another room or the garden and if they are snappy when you ask questions. Leave them alone once you’ve assured them that you’re around if they need anything. Give them the time they need and they will surely reappear when they need to interact again. However sociable us humans are, most of us need at least a few moments to think or to do our own thing for a while.

3. Try not to be irritated by constant questions as these are the most obvious sign of insecurity. Be honest in your responses as no-one knows what will happen in the next moment, let alone the future, so children especially need to understand that uncertainty is something we all have to deal with. Reassure them that, although we can’t see into the future, we can trust ourselves to deal with whatever we have to face. We can actually make uncertainty our friend, rather than something to be feared.

We can always cope with what is happening right at this moment but we can’t cope with the collection of thoughts about an imagined future.  So, stay present with your family, listen to them, be grateful they are in your life and find your deepest compassion and love for them. Then they too will hopefully give you the attention, space and reassurance that YOU need.

If you would like help to apply Mindfulness to your personal situation or circumstance, drop me an email on: or send me a message on