How is your relationship coping under isolation? Being with your partner all day every day is not something a relationship is normally built upon, so you may find you are struggling to adjust.
The Coronavirus has forced us to deal with life-changing and impactful events like never before. Given the stress and anxiety we have been put under during the Covid pandemic, it’s not really surprising that it may have taken a toll on your relationship. Particularly if you have children to home school or entertain as well. Friction can easily build and little things can become overwhelming.
That doesn’t mean that you are helpless to do anything about it. In fact many couples report that they have become closer during this period.
As we don’t know how long this situation will last, it’s worth taking some steps to ensure we get through this with our relationships intact. Aiming to come out the other side stronger than ever before!
Here are some strategies that are worth implementing to get you started:

Re-connect the love you have with each other by following these simple tips.

  • Our brains are wired for negativity especially, in stressful situations. So during this time of isolation, you may be noticing every single thing that your partner is doing that irritates you – leaving a cup in the sink, talking too loud on the phone, watching too much TV. It can lead to explosive exchanges and needless arguments.
  • Instead, write a list of the positive differences between you. Your individual qualities and strengths, both practical and emotional. This can help you begin to appreciate each other again and recognise the fact that you both bring things of value to the relationship.
  • Rewire your brains to notice the good things rather than just the bad things. Really make it a priority to look for the positives throughout your day. Every time your partner does something nice – or even just something that isn’t annoying – take notice. Say thank you to each other for the little things. Pay each other compliments, they go a long way to making us feel valued and secure. These little things will help train your brain to seek out the positive.

Avoid Criticisms and Put Downs

  • Criticizing your partner implies that you think there is something wrong with them. Saying things like ‘You never’ or ‘You always’ is like a global attack. Put downs can become extremely vicious and very personal, which leads to hurt feelings that are difficult to shake off. It is much better to make a calm, clear but direct complaint about the specific matter in hand. Try to explain why it’s important to you and how much you would appreciate them doing it differently.
  • Most people defend themselves when they feel that they are being attacked and this can escalate the scale of the disagreement. Instead, listen to the complaint and accept some shared responsibility for it and try to see it from the other’s point of view.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open

  • Always set some time aside to check in with each other. Ask your partner how they’re feeling or what there biggest concerns are. It shows that you care and that you are in this together and gives them the opportunity to talk if they choose to.
  • Make a conscious decision to really listen to what they have to say and understand that not everything requires a solution or an answer. In fact sometimes it isn’t possible. A hug and some reassuring words can go a long way in these instances.

Do Stuff that Makes you Feel Good

  • Stress, anxiety and negativity are contagious and can send you both into a downward spiral.
  • Schedule some fun time every day. Make an appointment to do something that makes you laugh or that is uplifting every day. Get a board game out – make a silly video to send to friends – learn some new dance moves from You Tube – anything at all that makes you feel good. Doing something enjoyable together triggers the release of feel-good neuro- hormones and enhances bonding.

Introduce More Humour

  • Humour in our neurology has the ability to cancel out anxiety, stress, anger in a millisecond, so use this to break the tension.
  • Turn irritating comments or behaviors into humour – NOT SARCASM – see the situation as a cartoon or say/do something silly that allows you both to laugh at it.
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