“From what I’ve seen with my clients, they all feel stifled and overwhelmed,” says Alyza Berman, a clinical social worker and founder of a mental health treatment center in Atlanta, USA.
With fewer options for personal space and our own routines, even the most suitable couples, for example, are struggling after 12 months of intermittent lockdowns. “It’s not that they don’t love each other; they just never expected to be so inseparable, ”says Berman.
When it comes to relationships with your loved ones, whether they are children, partners, friends, or roommates, Berman suggests setting some boundaries. It could even be literal: rearrange a living space so everyone has a separate area for alone time, or set up different areas for different activities.
Limits can also be emotional. Supporting friends and family should not be done at the expense of your own mental health, remember Dr. Kalanit Ben-Ari, psychologist, author and therapist. “Express validation, compassion and empathy for your friend’s struggles,” he says, but also recommends, “Explain why this is a challenging time for you, what overwhelms you, and how you are going to take care of yourself.”