Guys I know, obviously we never even thought to consider what it would be like to spend a month in lockdown with our flatmates – and now it's too late to swap them out for polite, quiet ones.
But now that Covid-19 has forced us into isolation with our chosen inmates, we simply must find ways to survive this without going all Lord Of The Flies and killing one of them.
If like me, you are quarantined with flatmates who are lovely but who also have the tendency to shriek like banshees during conference calls, and who NutriBullet at godforsaken hours – don't worry, I'm here to help.
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This is an absolutely cooked time so be kind to yourselves mates. If you wanna workout, go for it. If like me you've decided now's your chance to get heavily into cask wine, go for it. If like me you're also at your wits end listening to your shrill flatmates on Zoom calls, I highly recco investing in noise-cancelling headphones. (Not spon but @sonynz did kindly give me these ones after I vowed to give them all my organs and my first born if they could please render me deaf immediately). Keep in touch with all your pals, keep in touch with your therapist and remember I'm only a DM away if you want a chat and / or to get lit with me via that HouseParty app. Plus tomorrow I'll try get round to publishing some actual useful tips on how to stay sane while Social Distancing In The City cause honestly what a fab rebrand, now I never have to go out again.
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1. Invest in noise-cancelling headphones
I simply cannot stress this enough – drain your KiwiSaver if need be because this is an essential purchase.
Even if you don't have misophonia like me (whereby even relatively non-offensive noises like incessant finger-clicking makes me want to claw my ears off) - noise-cancelling headphones are vital if you're working from home.
And if like me you also have no idea what's what when it comes to headphones – I talked to a nerd and they told me to buy the Sony's WF-1000XM3 in-ear headphones, because even though they sort of resemble hearing aids your grandfather wears, they're so noise-cancelly that you literally cannot hear your flatmates breathe, which is exactly what I want.
2. Get comfortable with brutally honest communication
Although for the past two years I have had to grin (scowl) and bear it every single morning when my flatmate woke me up at 6am by smashing the kitchen drawers shut – now is the time to speak up.
I strongly suggest you take a leaf out of my book and send a slightly passive-aggressive but honest text to your flatmate and explain that you simply cannot bear their racket for another minute longer, and certainly not for the next four or however many weeks.
3. Create a shared calendar
Another tried-and-tested tip from me is a shared calendar, where everyone in your household adds in their working hours or any other commitments that require an acceptable level of noise. If you want to take it a step further (which I always do) you can even block out all the hours before 9am with a friendly note saying "do not knock on my door or speak to me unless the house is literally on fire").
4. Be extra thoughtful and complimentary
If like me this lockdown has turned you into a noise-controlling, raging witch, it's a nice opportunity to show your fellow inmates that you really do appreciate them accommodating to your needs.
To counteract my dictatorship, I now constantly praise my flatmates for their efforts to be quiet and go out of my way to ask if they'd like me to make them a coffee whenever I'm making one, or a wine whenever I'm having one – which is every hour on the hour post 11am.
5. Delegate tasks
I live with a couple and although under usual circumstances we don't have a chores roster in my house (as we're fortunate enough to have a cleaner), during lockdown we've morphed into a 1950s, gender-roled throuple.
One of us cooks all the meals, one cleans and tidies up, and the third person tags in to help if that second tidying-up person has tagged out again to drink wine with their friends on HouseParty (I'll let you figure out which one I am).
6. Tag team your work-spaces
If like us you're attempting to cohabit and work from home all in the same tiny apartment, might I suggest hot-desking with the communal spaces?
Take turns using the dining room table and kitchen bench as makeshift desks, while the rest of the inmates sprawl on the couches avoiding Zoom calls and telling their bosses they've ducked out to the supermarket for essential supplies when really they're just day-drinking and watching Tiger King.
7. Mandatory yard time
While on lockdown/home detention with your flatmates, it's essential you're all getting regular doses of fresh air and exercise.
Whether you head out for a walk every afternoon or just pop out to your lawn for some yoga, meditation or to simply vape and drink G&T's - it's all good. Selfcare comes in many forms.