How To Ensure Your Relationship Survives Self Isolation
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With all the new measures being put in place due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, everyone has been instructed to spend extended periods of time at home. Lots of people are now working from home, or looking after their children due to school closures; meaning we are all spending more time behind closed doors.
It can get tough, Fairies, our relationships will be hugely important for getting us through this unprecedented time but self-isolation, social distancing and concerns about issues like finances may also place them under added pressure. So, how can you ensure tensions do not arise and if they do, are quickly dispelled?
With Your Partner
Don’t make assumptions about their feelings
The Coronavirus was unexpected for societies, but also for relationships. You may have gone through testing times with your partner before, but this is a whole new experience. Often, we feel that others are experiencing the same emotions or thoughts that we are. Assumptions breed resentments as they lay down false expectations.
Do communicate openly
Tensions are running high, and so we understand that it can be hard to keep an open dialogue – especially if you’re feeling scared or upset. This heightened anxiety may create strong negative emotional reactions; anger or frustration. When experiencing these emotions try and stay mindful of your responses. If you’re struggling with your anxiety and how you respond, the best thing you can do is communicate. Giving yourself time or telling your loved ones you’re struggling and that you may react uncharacteristically. Of course this doesn’t justify being cruel but helps ease the possibility of reacting in a way that you might regret and add to stress.
Don’t work all the time
It’s easy for the line separating work from home life, to become blurred.To maintain the balance, your partner and yourself should establish some clear barriers. Create schedules for yourselves, and then compare them. Then create a schedule that includes both of you in it – trust us, it will make your day-to-day life much more stress free. Balance and communication are key.
Do put big arguments on hold
Try and not use this time of tension to address all of your ongoing relationship issues. Of course, you should not suppress your feelings – but still make sure that you don’t elaborate on small matters. Choose your battles and figure out if they are worth it during this strenuous time.
With Your Family
Do establish a routine
It can be tricky to establish a routine when your whole day happens within four walls but it is crucial for long-term success. Drury says: “The brain loves patterns and hates randomness, so to give it some patterns to ease it. Moyle agrees: “Make your own routine. Children especially thrive on routine, but it’s helpful for adults too. It can be particularly challenging if there is more than one of you working from home, so try and carve out time to be spent together and time to be spent apart. E.g. at 11am you all sit down and have a coffee together.”
Do set family goals & expectations
In a calm setting, sit down with your family – especially your children – and discuss how this is going to work. Talk about expectations and if you need to change up certain responsibilities, such as chores. To make things interesting, consider coming up with a family project. This is a great way of occupying everyone and doing the things you’ve wanted to do, but never had time to.
Don’t avoid answering your children’ questions
If you’re a parent, you may be sick of talking about the Coronavirus. But, if your children have legitimate questions and you refuse to answer them, this could cause heightened tension. Speak to your children in a factual way and prepare for questions and confusion.
Do designate areas of the house
Sort out your spaces with your partner and children. The categories could range from ‘work’, ‘relaxing’, and ‘privacy’. Additionally, if you have children, it is best to alert them of these changes. Depending on their ages, make sure you have plenty of activities prepared for them to do, in their bedroom, or wherever their designated area is. An ‘activity’ corner could also be a great addition to this!
Do treat each other with kindness
Regardless of who you are sharing your home with during self-isolation, every relationship can be improved with kindness. Practice gratitude, and thank those around you daily – it will change the mood for everyone.
“So many people have never before been forced to spend so much time with their loved ones. Of course stresses are bound to emerge. Conflict is bound to be increased. Knowing how to communicate effectively can help. Knowing how to calm your brain by taking things slowly and not escalating irritations in aggravations. Knowing how to talk without criticising, listen without judgement and connect beyond your differences. The skills in this course can help a couple to listen properly, so that the other feels heard, and you feel heard. You can learn how to express yourselves without being provocative. And you can learn how to connect and deepen your love even though you may need to be distant from the wider world around you.”