Dear Landing: Sheltering in (Very Shared) Space
I live with two roommates, and we’re trying to navigate being around each other ALL the time during the shelter-in-place without going insane. I’m worried that we won’t be able to make it through lockdown and still be friends...any advice?
Locked with Roomies
Dear Locked with Roomies,
We know it can be tough to share space with roommates even during normal life, so, switching to full time coworkers, roommates, and each other’s source of 24/7 companionship is a tough adjustment to make no matter how well you get along. Staying indoors all day for an extended period is difficult, so setting up your space to support your happiness and well-being is even more important during these trying times. Whether you’re living with friends, family, a significant other, or any combination of these, here are some ideas that have helped us share space while sheltering-in-place.
Set up Designated Work Stations: Creating and maintaining a sense of structure is key. We recommend sticking to regular working hours, setting up a designated work station, and finding ways to create some space within that station, even if you live in a small shared space. For example, you can turn a corner of the living room into your “office,” you could even hang a sheet from the ceiling to create a temporary room to help avoid distractions.
The goal is to give yourself a workspace that is uniquely yours, and that you can set up in a way that is most suited to you! Encouraging your roommate(s) to do the same will help you all feel more organized and structured during the workweek.
Bring Back the Chore Calendar: One of the biggest causes for contention in a shared space? Chores, and chores that have been left undone. The best way to solve that is to delegate! Split up the housework in a way that feels manageable and fair. This is helpful for ANY household, and not just during lockdown, of course. But, with everyone at home all day, the space also will need to be cleaned more. And if everyone knows what they’re in charge of that week, it will minimize arguments or grudges!
Cook and Share a Meal: Sometimes coming together and working towards a shared goal with a reward (dinner anyone?) is the best distraction. Plan some meals with your roommates, and make it collaborative and adventurous! Branch out and try a new recipe! Bake a cake and learn how to decorate it! Get creative with food, maybe you’ll find a new favorite dish. Maybe cooking has never really been “your thing” and now’s the time to fall in love with it!
Even though you’re together 24/7, consider picking a date in advance or creating a standing time. Designating a time can give you a sense of routine and normalcy, and contribute to making the practice special.
Work out Together: First of all, we all know working out is the BEST stress reliever. When you’ve been sitting inside all day, it’s easy to forget to move around and get your sweat on. Make a pact with your roommates to help keep each other motivated! Sign up for virtual classes to do together, or hit up YouTube, even 10 minutes of shared jumping jacks can do the trick!
Get Creative and Have Fun: This is also a great time to learn something new. Maybe one of your roommates plays an instrument, and another can draw; set up mini music and art lessons, use this time to teach each other. You might even learn about some hidden talents that your roomies have. :)
Find Pockets of Alone Time: The bottom line is that there are a LOT of things that we can do indoors, we might just need to get a little creative. We also recommend that you be sure to take some time every day to be by yourself. Go on a walk alone, journal, read, or call a friend or family member that you’re not co-quarantining with. The silver lining to this uncertain moment in our lives is that it’s given us the opportunity for some quiet reflecting. What really brings you JOY? How can you cultivate more of it in your life and in your space? It’s hard to contemplate these questions amidst the noise of the everyday so cherish the stillness and see what comes up for you.
Let us know how your lockdowns are going! We’d love to see how you’ve gotten creative with shared spaces @thelandinghome or via writing at email@example.com.
Yours in #CreatingSpace,
Miranda and The Landing Team