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How to Manage Living in a Toxic Household – Quarantine Edition

For many, a home is a place of peace, comfort and individuality. This is a place where you make food to nourish your body and rest your head at night after a long day. With the outside world being chaotic enough, the last place you want to experience hardships is in your home. Because of quarantine restrictions, many students have returned home to live with their families or are stuck living in student housing with peers, friends or strangers.

While this can be a great bonding experience for some, it can be detrimental for those with strained relationships. It often seems like things will never get better, and that there will always be awkwardness, tension and stress in the air. Through all these difficulties, sometimes the only thing you can do is learn different approaches to coping with the situation until you can find your freedom. Listed below are some tried and tested ways to deal with a toxic living arrangement:

Think about your own role in this toxic relationship

In the thick of negativity, it can be hard to put aside your frustration to think about your role in the toxic relationship. Sometimes you can be so worried about what the other person is doing and how it makes you feel, you forget to consider how your actions contribute to the environment.

Recognize what specific toxic behaviour you are experiencing 

It is important to really figure out what makes the living situations negative for you and why you feel that way. Writing down your feelings or talking it out with someone can help you monitor your emotions and let out bottled-up emotions.

Outline your boundaries

After reflecting on the situation and contemplating everyone’s role in it, you can set boundaries that align with your best interest. It is important to prioritize your mental health and set boundaries of communication, so you know when to engage or leave the situation. With clear guidelines of what you will tolerate and what you will not, interactions will become less emotionally exhausting.

Keep yourself occupied

In normal times, living in a toxic household is suffocating enough. COVID-19 does not help the situation, considering many people sought to escape by going to work, hanging out with friends or running errands. I used to fixate so much on my toxic living situation, that it would make me unproductive and emotionally drained. Picking up new hobbies and focusing on the things within your power to change can help to cope with your living situation.

Seek guidance

Toxic households can be very lonely, and many people isolate themselves in order to avoid conflict and maintain peace. Communicating with siblings and friends, seeking professional help and journaling are some of the ways to release the stress of living in a toxic living arrangement. You'd be surprised how many people can relate to the things you're going through!

If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is important now more than ever to try to make the best of our current circumstances.

Her Campus at Wilfrid Laurier University
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