This is a challenging time that can cause stress, anxiety, frustration and boredom. These emotions can cause conflict in our relationships. Some reports show increased divorce rates in couples coming out of stay at home orders. But many people are finding ways to maintain healthy relationships during the crisis.
So, how do they do it? Here are some tips below may help:
- Compassion. Does your partner seem irritable or otherwise grouchy today? Try to understand their point of view. If your partner seems more irritable or emotional than usual, this may a reaction to the stress that they are experiencing. Be compassionate by trying to see their point of view.
- Self-Awareness. Be sure to check in with yourself and your own needs. If you are feeling stressed, or not taking care of yourself through diet, exercise, and getting enough sleep, it can impact your emotional health. If your own well-being is off balance, you may be more likely to take small comments out of context. When you’re maintaining your emotional health, you can even defuse arguments with humor. Laughter can definitely help release stress.
- Schedule time apart. If you’re like most couples, you each enjoy different activities. Schedule time apart to do something that you each enjoy. This can help you relieve stress. For instance, your partner may enjoy jogging and you can use that time apart to read, do in-home yoga or pursue other hobbies. If you need space, ask for it. And if your partner seems like they need space, allow them to have it.
- Try new things. The American Psychological Association recommends staying connected with your partner in new and fun ways to help maintain a healthy relationship. This is no different during COVID-19. Here are some ideas of things you can do together despite the pandemic:
- Create a date night with a homemade meal or delivery from your favorite restaurant along with a walk in the neighborhood and a movie on the couch.
- Revisit memories. This can be a good time to go through and organize old pictures and maybe create scrapbooks together.
- Throw a video-party. Invite family and friends for a video call. Play games like charades, do online karaoke or do a group talent show.
- Be supportive. Remember that a little bit of kindness goes a long way. Small efforts around the house that show your appreciation for your partner can make a big difference.
- When getting groceries, pick up your partner’s favorite snack.
- Wake up a few minutes early and have coffee ready for when they wake up.
It is important to remember however, that you aren’t responsible for your partner’s behavior. Violence or threats are never acceptable. If your partner’s stress is crossing a line, reach out for help. If you or someone you are helping feel unsafe, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE. You can also text LOVEIS to 22522. Representatives are available to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also visit TheHotline.org for immediate help via chat.
Center of Disease Control. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html Retrieved on 5/4/20
American Psychological Association. Happy couples: How to keep your relationship health. https://www.apa.org/topics/healthy-relationships Retrieved on 4/29/20.
California Coronavirus Response. Resources for emotional support and well-being. https://covid19.ca.gov/resources-for-emotional-support-and-well-being/. Retrieved on 4/28/20.
World Health Organization. Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak. https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/mental-health-considerations.pdf. Retrieved on 4/29/20.
Mayo Clinic. Stress relief from laughter? It’s no joke. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456 Retrieved on 4/29/20.