How to isolate with tricky flatmates

Toby Green on 5 May 2020
Broken plate on the floor.

Tips and tricks to ensure your relationship with your flatmates doesn't get the better of you during lockdown.

The world’s awash with stories of separation – lovers longing for one another, families feeling the distance and mates missing each other's madness. 

And with a huge 95% of students being ‘very’ or ‘slightly’ concerned about not being able to see family and friends during the COVID-19 crisis, how do you deal with being separated from your support network and dependent on a bunch of people you’ve only known for a few months in halls? 

Well the good news is, nobody will expect anything from you. Nobody has a clue how to react to this. So, if you remember anything: be kind. After all, that’s what’s going to get us through this. 

And for more tips? Read on.

1. Don’t be afraid to say no

People are pack animals, so it makes sense they’ll want to spend time with you. Plus, boredom is real – especially in week 6... Or whatever it is now.

But if you’re not feeling it, and if it’s not respecting social distancing, then tell them no.

There are much bigger things going on than partying. Be smart.

2. Stick to a routine

Keep your body and mind active to avoid a dip in your mental health. You’ll soon relax into it. Our bodies like to know what’s coming, so it can be a really positive step to take in the bigger picture. 

Existing respectfully alongside one another is the key to all of this. Harmony will help, not hinder your lockdown experience, so try to be understanding of others’ routines.

Besides, having things set throughout your day will make it feel like time speeds up, too. Useful during something as weird and stressful as lockdown.

3. Don’t take any unnecessary risks 

Stuff like having your partner or mates over, going out when it’s not essential, stuff like that – it’s all completely unnecessary. So don’t do it.

And make sure you’re keeping your shopping and other outings to a minimum.

4. Keep your cool

Try not to flip out too much when your housemates rub you up the wrong way. We’re in tense times, and even the littlest things can feel catastrophic. Remember that they’re human too – even when they’ve just done something unforgivable like used up the last of the loo roll.

5. Create boundaries

There is zero shame in this. University is a pretty boundaryless place usually, but in times like these? Well, we’ve gotta make it clear what’s ok and what’s not. Because preserving our mental health is super important. And finishing your tea bags without asking is a real dick move when the only permitted shopping trips are a majorly stressful experience.

6. Get out of the house

It’s not healthy to be cooped up 24/7. We’re all allowed our daily exercise. So make use of the time you can be away from your house or flatmates. Alone time is not to be underestimated – it can make all the difference to your head.

7. Move it online

If you’re feeling any of the symptoms – or your housemates are – isolate. Follow the NHS guidelines on the finer details but get yourselves away from each other so you don’t spread the virus.

There are plenty of halls-inspired things you can do over Zoom or Skype or whatever. Video beer pong, anyone?

Above all, follow the guidelines. It’s essential and urgent that if you develop symptoms you must immediately move into self-isolation (so stay in your room and do not have visitors) for a minimum of 7 days.

How are you coping in lockdown? Let us know by joining our student panel and earn a £10 Amazon voucher just for signing up.

Toby Green
Toby Green on 5 May 2020