By now you have probably seen a few hilarious videos of couples and families showing how they are surviving DAY XX of QUARANTINE.
Being forced into a confined space has made many of us tap into our creative minds to figure out how to entertain ourselves, and others.
For instance, here is an accurate map of my daily commute.
Being in close quarters with anyone, makes you start to notice things more about them, and about yourself.
Outside of the honeymoon phase, most of us are not used to being holed up with our partners. When you factor in work, social commitments, day to day errands, time at the gym, we are left with a few hours to spend with our significant other.
Toss in the stress of a potentially life-threatening illness, its safe to say most things will be amplified. You start to notice your partner's habits, quirks and other things they do unknowingly that are helpful.
And the things they do that are not helpful, which quite frankly, drive you up the wall.
Luckily there are ways to help both you and your partner survive each other.
Addressing the Psychological Consequences of COVID-19
One of the first and most important things to do to maintain the peace is to identify and acknowledge how real these fears are.
Here are some of the fears:
Fear of contracting the illness
Fear of having to spend time with a spouse/partner where there are pre-existing relationship concerns
Feeling anxious about apocalyptic situations
Impact of COVID-19 on income
Changes in personal/family plans
Changes in business-related plans
Living with someone during a period of uncertainty means you have to learn how to cope with not only yours but also with their anxieties and needs.
Changes in day to day routine can bring about several anxious responses, many of them being unconscious behaviors, and addressing and acknowledging fears is a great place to start.
Show appreciation of the small things
It is easy for many of us to get lost in the things that our partners are doing wrong, especially when we are constantly around them.
Notice the things your partner is doing that makes things easy for you. Whether it is putting their plates in the dishwasher, giving you space, or just turning down the volume on the TV.
I'm not saying you have to ignore the things that annoy you, because those need to be addressed as well. However, addressing the things that annoy you are easier when are also noticing and are appreciative of the good things.
Expressing appreciation of the good things will gain ''brownie points'' in the bank, and difficult conversations are much better discussed when your bank is full vs empty.
Remember, the foundation to a healthy relationship is appreciation and fondness.
During times like this, we all have to do our part to maintain the quality of our own well-being- be it physically or mentally.
While spending time with your partner can be fun at times and frustrating at other times, it is very important to carve out time for personal needs.
A good way to start this is having a conversation about clearly defined private spaces.
Envision that space to be sacred - when your partner is in that space, it is a ''no-entry'' zone, unless absolutely important. This allows both you and your partner the space to highlight any areas of concern within yourselves.
This is also a great space to read that book, meditate, pray or dance to your favorite song with no disturbance.
This is the space, where there is no right or wrong. It is a judgement free zone.
TIP: Take it up a notch for your safe space for yourself by burning some candles/essential oils, great book, yoga/prayer mat or listen to a great podcast.
Look for activities that you both enjoy
Remember the days we didn't have access to smartphones?
Think of this activity in a similar way. Kick it old school!
Get creative. Think of the things you haven't done in ages.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Pull out the old CD collection to listen to slow jams '98
If you still one of the few ones to gave a VCR that isn't a piece of art, time to pull out the old video tapes
Look at old photos from a fun trip you both took
Plan an upcoming vacation, maybe even your dream vacation?
Print a weekly calendar and take turns to pick 1 fun activity for the day
Use this time to increase intimacy in your relationships
Learn a dance routine, like these two:
COVID-19 has brought about change in everyone's lives globally.
It also has shown us how humanity has come together beautifully - working, growing and supporting each other.
How will you use this time to strengthen your relationship with your partner?
It is a very rare opportunity that the entire world comes to a pause.
Use this to your advantage, slow down, and take your kindness up a notch.
Remember to focus on the things you can control, not the things you can't control about your partner.
We are all in this together, and will get through it together.
Until next time,