Counseling Center

Navigating Living at Home

With the transition to online instruction for the spring quarter, many students have returned home for the quarter. What was potentially a temporary (and maybe exciting) homecoming is now a new norm. Your friends or primary supports may be very far away from you now. In addition to learning how to navigate online classes, you may also be (re)learning how to navigate shared spaces, rules, and boundaries at home. With all these changes, you may notice feelings of irritability, frustration, worry, or sadness arise. These are all typical reactions. Remember to be with gentle with yourself (and those around you) during this time. Setting boundaries, establishing a routine, and taking time-outs may be helpful ways to stay grounded and manage this return home. You can read more about these strategies below.

Setting boundaries 

Discuss how common spaces and workspaces will be shared. Establishing a plan for how to navigate living together in this new way will help to reduce opportunities for conflict. Also, check in with yourself and those at home regarding your social and emotional boundaries as well. We vary in our needs for social interaction and alone time and these may fluctuate as we continue to adjust to physical distancing. Everyone is having to adjust from what they’re used to, so remember to approach it in a gentle manner.

Establishing a routine 

The return home may feel really disruptive, especially with beginning a new quarter. Create a daily routine to help you adjust to this new norm. Let others know about your new routine, especially when you’ll be “attending” classes and taking exams. Be specific when creating a routine and don’t forget to implement some self-care activities.


Stress can drain our cognitive resources, making it challenging to access empathy. When feeling overwhelmed, especially in times of conflict, it can be good to take a time-out. Stop and take a couple minutes to check in with yourself. This may require you to physically remove yourself from a situation. Take a few slow, deep breaths to help bring your physiological systems back down to baseline. Time-outs can help reorient yourself to the present moment and allow you to tap into the resources you need to move forward.