Relationship Self Care in Isolation
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder … but what happens now with all this forced togetherness from shelter in place rules?
Some people may have been dreaming of having even just a bit of downtime to spend connecting with your partner and kids, but never would have expected anything like this.
At the best of times in a relationship, we are generally able to balance each other out. When one is going through a stressful period, the other can pick up the slack. Unfortunately with COVID, almost everyone is experiencing higher than normal stress levels, whether we are worrying about the health or finances of our loved ones or for ourselves. Triggers that were lying under the surface during the best of time might now be fully in our faces.
We know that stress response makes it harder for us to focus on what’s important and sometimes to make the best decisions.
Do you want to keep your relationship healthy or even improve it during this time? Here are some tips to do just that:
1. Set boundaries
I know I’ve said this one before, but it works for so many different areas of your life! If you’re both working from home, set boundaries around work time/space and home time/space. When the workday is done, use a change of clothes, or a phrase you say, or whatever that might be to move into family mode. Your work is literally home with you, so it’s even more important to set the clear line.
2. Greetings matter!
At the end of the work day, greet each other with joy and curiosity. A simple hug, a ‘how was your day’, or something even more fun (I’ll let you get creative with that one!) will make all the difference! If you’re both working from home, schedule a quick lunch date or bring laughter into a work break.
3. What are your relationship strengths?
What are you really good at together? What has been a strength for you in the past? How have you had fun together in the past? How can you mimic some of these experiences now? If pre-kids and/or pre-Covid, you loved to go out to dinner, make a special date night where you order in or make a meal together, enjoying music that lifts your spirits and has you laughing together. Get creative!
4. What are your relationship challenges?
A relationship is a living thing, it needs attention and care. Keep the communication lines open, talk about how to divide the household chores so no resentment builds up. Use your individual strengths to divide and conquer responsibilities with the kids. Schedule a regular time where you can both check in. When it comes to relationships, it’s best not to expect our partner is telepathic!
Think about what your partner is needing most right now, and how you can help. Are they needing certainty around the relationship, some variety to the day, or maybe some loving connection or to feel like they really matter? How can you help your partner and yourself feel more of these?
5. Treat each other with kindness and respect
It is normal to feel frustrated right now, you’re not alone. Having said that, it’s always important to treat each other with kindness and respect. Modelling this is even more important if you have kids. Especially during these trying times, they need some certainty and stability at home, and simple acts of kindness and respect towards each other will go a long way to giving this to your children and each other.
These are difficult times. But, you can choose how you experience them. You can choose to use this time to really connect with each other, get curious, like when you were first dating. Bring some fun into each day, take responsibility for your needs and actions, explore and most importantly keep those communication lines open. You CAN come out of this stronger than ever!
Important Note: If your relationship is in crisis, and there is any sort of domestic violence or potential for that, here are some essential resources .
If you could use some help taking those micro-actions you know will help you put your best foot forward and come out of these uncertain times stronger than ever, let’s talk. Book your complimentary 30 minute Clarity Session, where we will:
• Clarify your vision - so you know exactly what you want
• Identify some of the blind spots and challenges that are holding you back
• Explore how coaching can help you get from where you are to where you want to be
Feel empowered and excited about moving forwards towards the future you truly deserve!
Wishing you and your families much health every day in every way!
Nancy Brooker, CPA CA
Certified Master Life Coach
Photo by Kristina Litvjak on Unsplash