Quarantine tends to bring out some ugly emotions—crankiness, loss of control, grief, disappointment at thwarted plans. We need to find creative ways to keep ourselves sane and capable of handling stress (like belting angsty songs in the shower or hopping on a call with a therapist in Redondo Beach). Otherwise, we may end up taking out our frustration on the people we are stuck with in isolation.
If you need more specific tips on how to manage anger during quarantine, here are ten ways to start!
How to Manage Anger Under Quarantine
1 – Understand That Anger Is a Valid Emotion and Reaction
The first thing to do is acknowledge and validate your anger. Remind yourself that it’s a normal reaction, even if the cause is a small thing.
We become more angry when we feel unheard or gaslighted into forgetting our anger. Telling yourself that it’s okay to be angry can help you feel safe about expressing your feelings. This can help you respond in a less defensive or combative way.
2 – Focus on the Solution
The next step is to understand why you are angry. Put a name to the cause. Are you frustrated? Anxious? Scared? Sad? Disappointed? Tired? Figuring out what’s causing your anger can help you communicate what you need to defuse your emotions.
Most things can be resolved with a solution, a compromise, a negotiation, or simple reassurance. In this case, cut to the chase by addressing the problem rather than attacking the people involved in it.
For example, your family members might expect you to be able to take on more chores because you’re working from home. These misaligned expectations can cause frustration due to a lack of clear boundaries.
Instead of lashing out in anger, you can go straight to the root of the problem by creating boundaries at home. Work on a set schedule, and if possible, in a private room.
Aside from talking about the problem, you are creating actionable solutions that can minimize the possibility of misunderstandings occurring again.
3 – Find an Inanimate or Healthy Outlet
Sometimes, not all solutions to a problem fall within your sphere of control. In this case, it is natural to feel helpless and frustrated. The important part is for you to express those emotions without hurting anybody else.
Here are some healthy ways to purge negative emotions out of your system:
- Write in a journal. Get all the angry words out on paper so they’re not in your head when it’s time to speak to others.
- Tend to the garden. Manual labor is excellent for blowing off steam.
- Deep-clean the house. There’s nothing like aggressively scrubbing mold off bathroom tiles!
- Create (and sing along to) playlists filled with relevant songs.
- Escape into someone else’s life. Listen to podcasts, read books, or binge-watch TV shows.
- Scream into a pillow. It’s free and very therapeutic!
4 – Learn to Appreciate Small Achievements
On the flip side, learn to appreciate the smallest efforts. There are many areas of life that are beyond your control during quarantine, but equally plentiful are the things within your sphere of influence that you can win at.
Celebrate little successes, like the fact that you were able to shave this morning or that your kid enjoyed their breakfast. This will help train your mind to look for the positive, rather than search for reasons to get angry.
5 – Accept That No Kind of Life Is Perfect
Let’s face it—life can get messy and unpredictable. Even when things are going well, we have to accept that circumstances are not going to be right and perfect forever. We are going to have to learn to adapt to rather than resist change.
This goes for big events such as pandemics, and small things that can test our patience. For instance, your kids may be the light of your life, but they can also be true tests of a parent’s patience. Dogs are cute and loving, but they can also cause a mess around the house or turn your garden upside down.
We’re not going to like the things we love 100% of the time. That’s reality and that’s okay.
6 – Do a Self-Care Check
It’s easy to be mad when you’re sleepy, tired, hungry, dehydrated, or overstimulated.
Anger caused by these conditions can be avoided by simply catering to your human needs. Eat your meals on time, drink plenty of water, get a good night’s sleep, and schedule in some alone time.
7 – Think Before You Act or Speak
Being cooped up in tiny spaces with people for a prolonged period of time can cause tension between all parties.
In times of conflict, think about how your words or actions could make the other person feel. Then think about the fact that you’re going to have to see this person at dinner later. And at breakfast. And in the living room. And in the hall on the way to the bathroom, and so on until quarantine lifts.
Not all battles are worth fighting. It may not even be worth alienating your support system during a pandemic. If there is a way to address the matter without anger, that’s the way to go. This will keep the peace for everyone stuck quarantining together,
8 – Practice Mindfulness Meditation
Anger is often an impulsive emotion. One way to curb anger is to master your impulses. Practicing meditation can help you regain control of your thoughts and emotions, especially raging anger.
Here’s how you can achieve inner calmness through mindfulness practice:
Focus on the moment you are in without judgment. Accept it as it is.
Use your five senses to feel, see, taste, smell, and hear what’s in your surroundings.
Try to describe what you gain from your surroundings with words.
Allow your mind to wander, then slowly pull it back into focus. But don’t force yourself to have control of your thoughts at once. Allow it to run on an auto-pilot mode without overwhelming yourself.
9 – Write Your Feelings Before You Speak Them Out
There’s nothing wrong with venting out your feelings to other people as long as they are willing to listen. However, there are times that riding the crest of your anger just exacerbates negative emotion and clouds judgment.
Try writing your thoughts and feelings first before sharing them with others, especially when you’re angry. Then, read your words to reflect if they’re worth mentioning to other people.
This also helps in censoring the words you say so you don’t end up hurting others at the height of your anger.
10 – Talk About Your Feelings
Suppressing your anger can eventually lead to a sudden explosion of intense emotions, words, and actions.
To release pressure, reach out to a family member or a trusted friend from time to time and talk about your struggles. (Don’t forget to introspect before dumping your feelings—see #9!)
If you need more than just friendly advice, you can turn to a therapist or counselor. In-person consultations may be limited for now, but telehealth hotlines are available.
If you are in the South Bay area and need professional help to manage anger issues during quarantine, you can reach out to South Bay LA Therapy.
Redondo Beach anger management therapist Vonique “Vo" Schmidt caters to trauma, addiction, and anger conditions. Discounted brief-term rates are available on online therapy sessions that can transition to in-person sessions when quarantine lifts.
Contact South Bay LA Therapy today by sending an email to email@example.com!