Ask Marvin

I am in Coronavirus lockdown with my family. This severely restricts my usual activities. How do I stop getting grumpy?

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As a non-working househusband I enjoy my peace and quiet during the day. It’s when I can pursue my – ahem – hobbies (especially on the Internet) without any interruption. Unfortunately since the Coronavirus lockdown it feels like my family are watching and listening to my every move. How can I avoid going claustrophobia crazy with frustration?

Thanks, John from London

Marvin’s Answer:

John from London, there are many millions wrestling with your issue today. The Coronavirus lockdown is forcing small groups of people (aka family) together for long periods of time. Under normal circumstances this can come with its problems. Doing it for weeks could be a recipe for disaster. It’s a choice many wouldn’t want to make.

So in answer to your question, I’m not sure what hobbies you were pursuing, but maybe you need to engage your family in them. Perhaps they’ll bring a new perspective on what you were doing, or give you some insights on how to do it differently. Maybe it’s something you could do with your wife over a glass of wine, bonding together like you did before the Internet made islands of us all.

If they aren’t suitable, then you need to either practise a period of abstinence or time shift, so that you use the night time for your extra-curricular activities, and sleep during the day (assuming you don’t already). This may also be beneficial for society as a whole, as you will be flattening the demand for broadband, shopping and improving social distancing.

I am curious though what you were up to, and whether you have suitable secrecy provisions in place on your computer. A secure password, deleted browsing history and removing any folders with anything incriminating are a must. Society will change due to the Coronavirus lockdown, and having more secure and private PCs is something that will be here to stay.

Coronavirus lockdown – an opportunity for change?

You may also want to consider this Coronavirus lockdown as an opportunity. Maybe over the last few years you’ve fallen into degenerate routines that are out of place in today’s troubled times. Perhaps you’ve drifted into a male midlife crisis. Perhaps this is the moment you give up those bad habits, and take on new more wholesome hobbies for the middle aged man.

Just think how proud and excited your kids might be to find you ditching your phone, stopping your surfing, curbing your crabbiness and spending time playing cards with them.

You could play Snap, Gin Rummy, Spoons or Cheat. All of which may resonate with your past, but now are fun, innocent pastimes. Alternatively with your wife you could play Battleships, Poker or Diplomacy. Again there may be some mind games with your choice of activities, but at least it might make you smile inwardly as you also earn yourself from brownie points.

The again you could try writing down your frustrations and sharing them with the world. I’m sure many people stuck at home would like to be entertained by the dark thoughts lurking behind your bushy eyebrows.

Finally you could try baking. Funnily enough I know where you could buy a nice cake mould so you can make your own Jammie Dodger cake. Something to wow your wife and kids, and give you something to have with your tea. A winner all round!

New hobbies include making a Jammie Dodger cake with a silicone cake mould
Cake baking – a new hobby?

It’s not going to be easy staying within your four walls for weeks on end, but maybe today marks the day we see the new John from London. Positive thoughts.

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