If someone had told me three months ago that I would be stuck at home with my family and with almost nothing to do, I would have just laughed and blown them off. There was no way I would survive that. My quick temper, my resting bitch face and my snarky mouth cannot handle other people for an extended period of time
And I’m pretty sure that other people can’t handle it too.
But two months later, here I am, trying to wrap my head around the fact that I’ve spent so many weeks alone in my house with just my family who I normally would just get to see at night after work.
The global health crisis and the quarantine measures that followed messed up a lot of the habits and routines that people religiously follow, so a sense of anger is understandable—disruption in daily life is not something that people can adjust to immediately.
Being isolated from other people for a long period of time can take a significant toll on one’s moods and emotions. It’s also incredibly stressful when you’re faced with a confrontation that you literally cannot step away from. It doesn’t help that besides health concerns, there are other problems that come with it like unemployment, a dwindling supply of food and basic necessities and frustration about the global situation, among other things.
Anger is also a completely valid and warranted emotion when you see many of your countrymen (or worse, family members) approve of the incompetent government response toward the pandemic. Since the lockdown started all over the world, sexual abuse and domestic violence rates have gone up so this quarantine is not something that any of us would have been able to prepare for. There have also been protesters who insist on breaking lockdown violations just to be able to get a haircut.
You have every right to be mad, there’s a lot to be angry about. But anger is also exhausting and can be pretty destructive. There are ways to make your anger more constructive, of course, and we’re not telling you to stop caring about all these issues. You just need to make sure that your anger doesn’t bleed into your daily life and affect your well-being and relationships.
Of course, I’m grateful to be with my family, safe at home with access to our basic needs. I know that not everyone is as lucky as I am. Still, tensions are bound to arise when you’re cooped up at home, nestling emotions like frustration, boredom, hopelessness and sadness. Although it might be difficult, reeling in that anger will be better for you in the long term. I haven’t been exactly the poster child for peacefulness and serenity (I would like to think that me going into my sisters’ room and sharing some meme while they’re on an online class is chaotic good energy), here are some of the things that help me get through fits of anger while in quarantine.
If you have nothing good to say, don’t say it
My sisters and I divide our chores based on how much workload we have on the day. Since I’m working everyday and they only have online classes from time to time, the brunt of chores goes to them. Still, I find myself telling them off when they tell me to do this chore or that. I sometimes even call them “lazy” when it’s my turn to do the dishes. Catching myself before I say hurtful things does wonders—it lessens fights and helps the whole family continue on with pre-designated chores.
It’s also useful to note that just because someone appears “lazy” or “unproductive,” doesn’t mean that they are. Sometimes things can just be too much because of the existential dread that comes with the situation we’re all currently living in. It’s never okay to get mad at someone just because you think they’re not doing enough. At this point, we’re all just trying to do what we can to survive and stay mentally strong.
Communication is key
My parents are Virgos and that means in every argument they try to be rational and unswayed by emotions. Unfortunately, I am not like them. When I get mad, I get real tears-streaming-down-spit-flying-at-whoever-you’re-arguing-with kind of mad. But this kind of emotional exchange just creates new problems and doesn’t solve anything. Before your emotions get the best of you, tell whoever you have an issue with (as calmly as you can) why you’re angry and if it would be possible for them to please, stop whatever it is they’re doing.
Always remember that you cannot always rule with your heart. Act with your mind first because emotions can escalate things, and fighting can be so exhausting.
Try and be empathetic
My dad’s coping mechanism for this whole pandemic is keeping himself informed. He always has to know the latest updates, recovery count, vaccine development news and virus complications. This means that he has a livestream of news channels always blasting on full volume in our living room. My youngest sister has been baking endlessly to fight boredom so this means that the kitchen floor is always littered with flour, sugar and parchment paper. These are some of the things that, in the beginning of the quarantine, I would get hella annoyed over. I mean, who can write an article when news report sound bites keep on interrupting your train of thought? Who can go on a quick pee break without your body parts being spattered with itchy dusting sugar?
I used to always call these things out, but I realized—what if I just don’t? It would save me time, tears, breath and energy when I go out of my room and stop looking for a fight in every room I go to. I also realized that maybe there are some things I do that annoy them, but they don’t always make a big deal out of it. Yes, I drink too much cold water, so much so that when afternoon comes, my sisters no longer have ice cubes to use. Yes, I sometimes hog the electric fan. But these and all the things my family has been doing is not worth fighting over. It’s just so much better when we all try to be a little bit kinder.
Unsolicited and unchecked anger is not an act of kindness. It’s an unnecessary stressor to an already stressful situation. So I try hard not to give in to it—the world could use a lot more kindness and empathy.
Plus, people are out there dying, economies are collapsing, frontliners are risking their lives… maybe a TV that’s left on a bit too loud isn’t the worst thing?