You are NOT who I married! Why are we even dating?! You are breathing TOO LOUD! Have you or your significant other found yourselves uttering these and similar sentences since the COVID-19 lockdown? Well, you are not alone. These past few months have been trying times even for the best of us because after all…we are only human. Sometimes we need to take a moment and work through what we are feeling to better understand ourselves and the relationships we have cultivated.
Here are just a few tips on helping you do just that if you feel your relationship is struggling during this very stressful time in the world.
- Give yourself permission to feel what you are feeling. Everyone is experiencing increased stress at this time in our lives. However, if you try to suppress the feelings that stem from this, it will only get worse. If you give yourself permission to feel every emotion as well as validate that what you are feeling makes sense, you can get through those negative feelings and thoughts much faster.
- Move something! Exercise and physical motion produce endorphins in our body. There is a lot of research to show that endorphins are the best response to managing and reducing stress, improving your mood and even boosting your immunity. If you can swing it (pun intended), try going outside for your exercise for even better effects of your exercise.
- Create a relationship calendar. It probably feels like you are with your partner every single minute of every single day, which can quickly lead to escalating tensions and frustration. To help set healthy boundaries for how and when you spend time together, try scheduling it. If you both know when you are expected to be present with each other, you will both be able to take the left over time and be in your own space practicing the self-care you need.
These are only a few of the ways couples can manage the new stressor of ‘forced togetherness’ as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. What’s more, we don’t really know when things will get back to “normal” so this is how it will be for the foreseeable future. I hope these tips work for you and I encourage you to come up with your own ways to cope during these unprecedented times to ensure that your relationship flourishes today and in the future.
Written by Natasha Powell, LAMFT