Containment: what it reveals about our intimate territories


The confinement has put our intimate borders to the test, sometimes abused and flouted. How to reinvent the rules of cohabitation?

The boundary between private and professional life is more porous than ever, especially for those who work remotely. The lack of personal space accelerated family anxieties and conflicts. So how to find a space of freedom in all this?

The reinvention of our intimate spaces

Confinement has called into question our personal intimacy, our couple intimacy and our family intimacy.

Where everyone’s roles were well defined in the family system before the crisis , isolation and promiscuity forced some to leave a new place for the other.

“The urban couple of the 21st century is not used to spending all their time together,” says Valérie Charolles, researcher in philosophy. Confinement imposes the fusion of our different identities and at the same time reveals our need for autonomy”.

Dating sites have even seen their attendance explode during the last two confinements as well as cerebral virtual infidelity to deceive boredom, with seduction games that act as safety valves to spice up where the annoyance of manias of the other took place in a sad camera.

“In a context where one finds oneself one-on-one with one’s spouse, sharing one’s most intimate thoughts with a third party is a transgression. »

– Valerie Charolles

The feeling of intrusion of the other in our psychic sphere can be very difficult to manage. Where we had our space of individual freedom by leading a good part of our life outside the house, how far can we keep our secret garden when we are locked up 24 hours a day together in small urban spaces ?

Physical space, psychic space, area of ​​expertise, we had to revisit the basics and review our limits.

Unfortunately, taken to the extreme, it is also a factor of intra-family violence. During the first strict confinement, the emergency services recorded a 30% increase in calls relating to domestic violence in France.

Nostalgia for the metro, work, sleep?

“Subway, work, sleep. Normally, you complained about the journey between your home and your place of work. However, this daily path brings you much more than what you think, and its disappearance induced by telework can have repercussions on the body and the mind “says Christophe Haag, researcher in social psychology.

Even if it’s a short trip, you also benefit from the beneficial effects of light . Light participates in the constant regulation of our internal clock and its lack can cause serious sleep problems.

“Seeing greenery (a park, a tree) will have a regulating and soothing effect and will lead to a drop in blood pressure in anxious or angry people”. A bit of nature provides a relaxing effect, which the researcher compares to the photosynthesis of plants: “Toxic emotions will be sucked up and transformed into positive emotions.”

It is also a “decompression chamber”  for the roller coaster of our emotions, a bubble of self-esteem that allows you to gain height in your day and not bring home the interference of the day. Some people have even discovered a side of their spouse that he did not know getting upset in telework. Combined with the fact that there is no longer this ritualized break from the “coffee machine” or just the simple fact of going to see a colleague on another floor which allows you to stretch your legs.

A porous boundary between work and private life

Because of this lack of transition, professional life and personal life become entangled.

“It’s a problem because this mixture is one of the factors of burnout,” warns researcher Christophe Haag. “It’s as if we were in a permanent state of apnea,” he continues. We no longer have this respiratory phase, and we remain in a constant flow of negative thoughts.

Teleworking obviously accentuates the need to clearly define the procedures for exercising the right to disconnect.

No real border now separates the kitchen, the living room from the office. The difficulty is then to organize oneself due to the lack of benchmarks, of references in relation to the work of others. When does the activity start, when does it end? The feeling of never leaving work is growing. Such an idea arises during dinner, such another late at night…

Thus, teleworkers will have to adapt to this absence of borders by creating their own limits between work, family and leisure.

“There is no longer this movement outwards, it is necessary to restore circulation at home”,

– Catherine Gadea, sophrologist and somatotherapist

And to recreate a “geographical distance” between workspaces and private, intimate life, it is interesting to “lighten your apartment, sort it out, avoid disorder. We can put the objects in a crate or in the cellar if we have one”, she gives as an example.

The art of recreating a resource place

For everyone, and especially hypersensitive people, it is all the more important to be able to create “refuge” places to compensate for this blurring between private and professional life and to manage strong emotions. A run outside to let off steam and get out of your saturation state will limit the risk of overheating at home and put you back in a state of availability. Listen to music or a good book too.

Self-hypnosis also allows us to escape through the imagination by pushing back the physical walls of our home thanks to the search for a place called “resource”, calm and security.

This place can be used in hypno-therapy, before work that risks provoking intense emotions. In this case, the therapist asks you about a place in which you feel good. It then induces a state of hypnosis and guides you to that place where you feel good. To help you find this state of well-being more easily, the therapist performs an anchoring. Once this place is installed and anchored, it is easy for you to return there in case of too strong emotion. This reassures you and calms your emotions.