Living with flatmates can provide the benefits of social connections and decreased costs. But as the COVID-19 spreads through close human interaction, and another lockdown is in place this winter, socializing is now again at a halt. Instead of spending the majority of the time at their jobs/school, those living in shared flats might now be crammed up together for the whole day. This closeness can complicate social distancing and flatmates might require a few additional steps to protect themselves during this lockdown.
Here are 5 strategies that can help flatmates manage themselves properly, take care of their wellbeing, and stay safe during the pandemic.
1. Be patient and tolerant
Living with flatmates can be tricky even under normal circumstances, but now with the addition of the pandemic anxiety, things can get stirred up. Everyone must learn to stay on the same page as others in the flat. You are bound to experience some tension so it is more important than ever to communicate honestly with one another to avoid friction. Being patient and not aggressive is key to go through this pandemic together.
2. Strictly follow safety rules
Going outside multiple times a day can put you and your flatmates at risk. Avoid unnecessary visits and tell your flatmates to do the same. Wash your hands regularly and disinfect doorknobs, handles, laptops, and shared computers. Don’t share towels, keep frequently touched places clean, regularly wash your clothes, only go out if it is absolutely necessary, wear masks outside the apartment and sneeze into your elbows even if you are sure you are not infected.
3. Have a contingency plan
If one of your roommates is infected or at a greater risk of being exposed to the virus then it is important to create a plan and communicate promptly about it so others stay safe. There might be disagreements but creating a safety plan for other people in the flat is well worth the effort. Try to limit the infected person’s shared spaces and make sure to follow the CDC recommendations for coronavirus prevention.
4. Respect the need of others
Don’t forget that they have their responsibilities such as taking online classes or working from home. Try not to take calls or online classes in a common space and use headphones to avoid annoying others. Similarly, put down ground rules for everyone to abide by so it can be easier to perform your duties from home. The more respectful you are of the need of others, the easier it will be to go through this pandemic together.
5. Anticipate some tension
Things will be difficult in the weeks or months to come. Living for too long with one another can introduce you to new challenges and drive people nuts, but good communication can keep friction at a minimum. Learn relaxation techniques to quickly calm you down and advise your flatmates to do the same. Understand that times are tough, but the more you communicate, the easier it will be for you to go through this pandemic safely and effectively.