Claustrophobia is an anxiety condition that makes you feel as if you are smothering from being in close quarters. Family claustrophobia can develop when you have too much togetherness. The recent shelter in place orders has affected people negatively.
Many families only have a few hours together in the evenings, and they long for more time with their loved ones. However, too much of a good thing is just too much. If you’re struggling with having too much togetherness, then here are a few tips to ensure that you don’t feel smothered by your loved ones.
16 Ways to Cope with Family Claustrophobia
Here are 16 behaviors you can adopt to beat the feeling of family claustrophobia.
Meditation is a great way to release negative energy and allow positivity to flow. When you are feeling overwhelmed by your children or spouse, then meditation can transport your mind to another place where peace and tranquility reside.
2. Spend Time in Nature
If everyone is in the house on their video games and such, then getting out in the great outdoors may be just what you need. Walk barefooted and allow yourself to be grounded.
Also, let the warm, golden rays of the sun penetrate your soul. There’s nothing better than fresh air when you’re feeling closed in and in need of space.
3. Set Firm Boundaries
When everyone is crowded inside together, and family claustrophobia is taking over, you need to set some firm boundaries. Children love to hang on parents and be nearby. Set restrictions for everyone so that your personal space isn’t completely taken over by everyone else.
4. Identify A Quiet Spot
Some parents like to create a place where they can go to get away from it all. You can identify your bedroom, the garage, or the basement as your retreat. Let your family know that you don’t want to be disturbed when you are in your space. It’s essential that you don’t let too much togetherness get the best of you.
5. Listen to Instrumental Music
Sometimes, there is something so soothing about piano music. There are plenty of online videos that can help you to calm yourself. Whether it’s listening to the ocean’s waves or hearing the rain falling, find some instrumental that can help you stay calm when everything seems wrong.
6. Zoom Chat with Your Friends
While you may not be able to get out and about just yet, you can at least utilize the power of the internet to connect you. You can call your family and friends with apps like Zoom. If you need to vent or just deflect from the happenings at your house, then chat sites are the way to go.
7. Ask Relatives for Help
When you have children that are in constant need of your attention, you must realize your limits. You can only do so much in a day. When togetherness is getting to you, then you should call in friends or relatives to help.
Even if you only get an hour or two to go to the grocery store alone, it’s worth it to clear your mind and destress a bit.
8. Do Fun Group Activities
If togetherness is getting to you, then you need to have a change of pace. Many people have no choice but to be together, so you might as well enjoy the time you have. Why not play some board games, have a picnic in the back yard, or spray the kids off with the water hose?
The little things you do can really make a difference in breaking up the monotony of the day. Plus, when you have fun and laugh, you will have less time to stress about the claustrophobic feelings you’ve developed.
9. Take a Nice Bubble Bath
It’s easy to get testy, irritable, and lose all tolerance when your stress load is too much to bear. Thankfully, you can soak your troubles away in a bubble bath. If you don’t like a tub, then you should consider a nice, hot shower.
Water is very calming, and it can wash away your stress and anxiety from dealing with your family. Close the door, light some candles, and slip into a tub of relaxation. It’s the best thing you can do to deal with family claustrophobia.
10. Get a Message
Ask your partner to give you a massage. Stress can quickly cause your muscles to feel strain in your back and neck area. You can combat this stress by having a massage.
When you put firm pressure on these sore muscles, it can release the tension that makes you feel bad. Things can look so much different when you relax after a massage.
If the family claustrophobia is starting to take its toll, then you need to laugh. Laughter is good for the soul because it allows you to release stress hormones like cortisol. When you’re releasing those hormones, you instantly feel calmer.
Research shows that you must have a significant belly laugh to feel these effects. Also, ask your family to join in with you on watching funny videos, comedians, and other hilarious things. It will make everyone feel much better and lift the mood of your home.
12. Chew Gum
It probably sounds like the craziest suggestion around, but a study proved that chewing gum could help with your stress levels. Being around family for long periods is incredibly hectic, so by chewing your favorite gum, you can alleviate some of the angst.
The Swinburne University in Melbourne conducted a study in 2008. They found that chewing gum can relieve anxiety, improve alertness, and reduce stress, plus it helps to clean your teeth. So when your family claustrophobia is becoming too much, chewing gum might help.
13. Give Hugs
Since you’re already in close quarters, you may find that a hug is all you need to make things better. Carnegie Mellon University has proven that a hug releases a feel-good chemical in your brain that instantly makes you calmer.
While you must make sure that you’re not hugging someone who is sick, you often can and should hug your family members. Who knows, maybe the family member you hug needed the embrace just as much as you.
14. Unplug from Social Outlets
Cell phone usage is a big part of life. People don’t just use these phones for calling or texting people, they have become hubs where bills are paid, you shop for groceries, and you can’t put them down for more than five minutes.
Did you know that people who are addicted to their phones have a much higher chance of developing depression? You feel like you can’t get anywhere without your phone with you, but there is such freedom in unplugging from the world.
When you’re having high stress and feelings of family claustrophobia abound, then try turning off all your devices. You may be surprised at how much better you feel by getting rid of this one load.
15. Dispose of Unwanted Items and Organize Your Home
Since you have some downtime, you might as well put this time to good use. If your family being so close is bothering you, then why not put them to work? Everyone has things around their home that needs to be done.
Make an inventory list and see what items you can accomplish with the whole brood helping. Do you have closets that need to be organized, or do you need to tackle that messy garage? Use the time you have to make the most of all the help.
16. Learn Breathing Techniques
Did you know that breathing techniques can help you to relax and ease the tension? If your family is hovering around and you feel like you can’t catch your breath, then doing some simple rhythmic breathing can be the key.
Slip away to a quiet spot, even if it’s the bathroom, and try power breaths. You want to Inhale to the count of seven, hold it for seven seconds, and then release it to the count of seven. As you begin to breathe, your heart rate will slow, and your mind will clear.
The beauty of this calming technique is that you can do it anytime or anywhere. You can even practice this on the side of the freeway if necessary. Within five breaths, you should see a dramatic improvement in your mental clarity and overall mood.
Togetherness is a good thing. Benjamin Franklin said that fish and relatives are similar because, after three days, both start to stink. If you find being in close quarters with your loved ones to be overwhelming, then trying a few of these 16 tips listed above may help you.
There are many times when you may be home with the entire family. From times of global pandemic to the school’s summer vacation, it can be described as the best of times and the worst of times. However, try to make the most of the time you have together as it won’t last forever.