The strain that the Coronavirus is putting on our lives is substantial. It may look different for you depending on your unique situation, but we are all feeling the affects on our relationships... And it makes sense as to why. Whether intimate relationships, friendships, familial relationships or even relationships with colleagues-The impact is huge.
If you happen to be in a relationship and are quarantining with your significant other, this post is for you. And if you're in another type of "live in" relationship situation (living with roommates, for example), the same strategies and principles can be of help to you, too. The virus and stay at home order is guaranteed to have impacted or changed your intimate relationship in a number of ways-Including the ways in which you communicate with each other, your roles, perspectives or needs, feelings toward one another or your partner’s habits and behaviors, etc. And how could it not- We’re stuck in our homes, finding ourselves spending a significant amount of time with our partners, sharing child care responsibilities, conflicting work schedules, physical space, persona and emotional needs, much more than ever before. On top of that, we are relying on our partner for almost all of our social and emotional support. It is totally OK (and definitely important) to recognize and admit how these challenging times are affecting your relationship.
There are different ways to decrease the negative and adverse effects that shelter-in-place has on your relationship. Our hope is that you can actually enjoy some of this time together, get your needs met, and discover positive shifts in your relationship.
Taking the time to replenish and care for yourself helps you show up more for those you love. Designated time for yourself: a bath, your skin care routine, journaling, yoga, meditation, going for a walk, reading a book, or your favorite hobby. Think about what makes you happy and leaves you feeling rejuvenated… and keep it consistent.
Regular, scheduled, healthy communication is key. Everyone responds to stress differently and It's important to remember that your partner might not want or need what you do right now. It's also important to remember they might not know how to care for you during this time without communicating this to them. Have regular check-ins to take turns talking about how this is all affecting you and how you both can help each other during this time. You can also schedule a set time daily (in the morning or evening) to discuss what both of your schedules look like. Remember to VALIDATE feelings and mourn losses before moving on to practical solutions.
Here are some questions to help get you started:
"How is all of this making you feel right now?"
"What does your day look like today/tomorrow?"
"During this time, what are ways I could help support you?"
Intentional Time Together
Spend more, intentional time together. This means giving each other space when it is healthy and necessary. If possible, have separate work spaces and give yourself room to breath throughout the day. When you have the time, be creative with date nights. It is so easy to fall onto the couch at the end of the day and continue the evening routine that you're used to.
Discuss an activity that you both would be interested in doing and plan it.
Some ideas for you:
Sunset wine or tea time and conversation
Online workout classes
Create a book club
Play different board, card, or video games and create a tournament
Learn a something new together
Cook a meal
Finish a puzzle
Keep It Light and Find Gratitude
When things seem heavy and you're both feeling the stress simultaneously, try to express what you are grateful for. Start small: your physical well-being, safety, positive qualities in your partner, etc. You can also find ways to keep it light, laugh and joke more often.
When everything outside the home feels so overwhelming, we don't need our personal space to feel this way too. Hopefully some of these tips and techniques are ones that you can continue on after quarantine. When able, we can use this time to slow down, learn more about ourselves, and nurture our relationship in a healthy way.