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CoronaVirus “Shelter-in-Place” Survival Guide


CoronaVirus can mean time drawing closer to God, great family time and a time of great creativity! But it can also mean “Get on-your-nerves irritation-time,” friends! Here’s how to avoid the worst of being inside together.

1. Stay calm or calm down fast. Did you know that if you start getting worked up, one study says you have about 7 or 8 seconds to calm down before your body is flooded with "fight-or-flight" chemicals? Even after you seem to "calm down," these “fight-or flight” chemicals remain in your system for 12 hours or until you get some sleep. If you or your spouse get worked up, best to reschedule your talk until tomorrow.

2.Listen. Listen well enough that you can rephrase your spouse's words sentence by sentence, if necessary. Have your spouse slow down so you can do this. Don't even think about what you will say until they're done speaking. Focus on them, not you. Comment or nod from time to time. They will feel you're hearing them.

3. Pause. Once they have stopped speaking, wait a few seconds before responding to them. Look like you are thoughtfully considering what you say. Hopefully, you have been listening, but this helps them FEEL you have been listening.

4. Use "I" language. say what you think and feel, don't tell them what sort of person they are. For example, "when you say ____, I feel upset," not "you make me angry." The first way you are simply stating what happens inside you when they say something. The second way attempts to put the blame on them for what you're feeling. Take responsibility for your own feelings.

5. Focus on this issue, not the person. "When you didn’t take out the garbage tonight, it made me sad." not "you are such a ______ for not taking out the garbage!" The first statement reaches out for sympathy. The second puts your spouse on the defensive.

6. Be specific, not global with your comments. Say, "I'm disappointed you're watching TV tonight instead of talking." not "You always start watching TV when I want to talk." or worse, "You are such a _____! You always watch TV instead of spending time together"

7. Brainstorm solutions together. Make sure it's not the two of you facing off against each other but the two of you trying to tackle a problem together. There are different many ways of doing marriage and parenting kids that work well.

8. Identify the problem, but don't assume you know the perfect solution. if you only accept your solution, not any other way of solving the problem you are "locked-in." When you get "locked-in," you aren't able to see and consider other solutions that may be even better than yours. Worse, you may come off as "my way or the highway."

9. This guide works with parents, kids, and other family too!

10. Consider a call to me at 507-269-9079. I can offer advice or mediate by phone or Facetime. Or you can make an appointment together and agree to let it sit until you can work it out with me. I can help.

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