HOW do you take care of your emotional wellbeing while trying to navigate new worries and routines that involve home working and schooling all under the same roof, with reduced contact with friends and family?

Many fear rising tensions and frayed tempers. But relationship experts insist that difficulties are not inevitable and advise clear communication and planning to help navigate new waters.

Mhairi Canning, a senior couples counsellor for Relationship Scotland, said: “There is a lot of anxiety around because so much is unknown and the situation is constantly shifting. But it’s all worrying enough without panic setting in.”

Instead, take time to stop and listen to your feelings, and be gentle on yourself, she advised. “Mostly at this time it’s important to think about what you can influence and make decisions that make sense to you,” she added.

“For some people that will be staying at work – for others it will be continuing to get out within the current restrictions. It’s a time for listening to yourself and trying to see what makes sense to you.

“What can be difficult is there might be a couple with quite different takes. One might be very anxious and if the other thinks they are over-reacting then that could make things worse.” The main, she said, was to keep lines of communication open. “It’s about acknowledging the difference and the need to discuss those feelings.”

She urged people to try to avoid being dismissive of the feelings of others and to listen to each other even when they had different points of view. “I would usually say that the only person you can change is yourself,” she said. “And if you can’t change the situation then the only thing you can do is to try to adapt your response to the situation.

“You could ask yourself: why is this upsetting me? How am I going to share my distress with my partner?” Communicating in the first person – explaining why you are feeling rather than telling someone about their perceived faults – is the most effective way of avoiding unnecessary conflict, she claimed.

“You want the other person to know how you feel so it’s an exchange,” she added. “As soon as you get into accusatory language the other person will get defensive.”

She urged people not to anxieties spiral. “It’s about understanding that this is a temporary situation,” she added. “It will end, so try not to catastrophise. I know it’s easy to say and not so easy to do, but try to listen to each other.”

Planning ahead for what you might find especially difficult, talking about it in advance and trying to come up with solutions together might also be helpful, she claimed.

“You could even have a little family meeting,” she added. “You should plan it in advance so the children can think about what they want to talk about, and everyone can have their say uninterrupted. Everyone gets to be heard and you are giving the kids a voice so you can find solutions.”

Alison Outred, a life coach who runs Bright Thinking in Edinburgh, admitted that many of her clients were struggling to cope with the rapid changes to their lives and plans.

She said: “This is time to start trying to take one day at a time and stay in the present moment. Admittedly that can be a challenge even in normal circumstances but try to focus on your breathing and your surroundings.

“Longer term these will be more challenges but in any change there is always also opportunity, so I’ve been trying to ask my clients to look at that.

“It may be that this is an opportunity for us to look at what really matters. Look at how you can use this time for self-development or self-reflection. Remind yourself that you can get through this.”

If you are struggling with your mental health contact the Samaritans: Available 24/7 on 116 123 or