1. Get control of your emotions – practice relational mindfulness
In times of stress, our emotional systems go into “overdrive.” Coping mechanisms (healthy or otherwise) are amplified by stress and fear. If you were already disconnected before the crisis, it could get worse. Try regulating your emotions by practicing this simple technique – before you react to your partner, STOP – BREATHE – THINK. Don’t just dump because you’re triggered. If you’re “really triggered,” the best action is taking a time out.
2. Carve out quality couple time each day (not too much though)
Many of us are going to find ourselves spending a lot more time together during isolation. “Quality couple time” should include deepening your connection and creating intimate togetherness. Maintain rituals such as sharing morning coffee or having creative date nights. A great way to stay connected is to have a Daily Check-In with your partner. This helps to improve communication and reduce conflict.
3. Take time “apart/together”
Divorce rates often increase after spending long periods of time together, especially in close quarters (“cabin fever”). Welcome to our new reality! Confinement and lack of routine can cause claustrophobic irritability and restlessness, which puts stress on intimate relationships. Take time apart, even if you can’t physically do that. Create a psychological boundary of space between each other for a certain period of time each day.
4. Set limits on “virus talk” and the news
Some people will want to focus on and talk about the “situation” all the time. Don’t do that. Make an agreement to limit discussion about unfolding events. Staying informed while keeping healthy boundaries is necessary for our mental health. Remember, we’re likely in this for a long haul!
5. Seize the opportunity
Traumatic events or “working against a common threat” can bring couples closer together. But for others, it can drive them apart by revealing different “coping styles.” Seize this opportunity to strengthen your bond and improve your life on the other side of this. Examples are mindfulness practices, healthy family time, setting up new routines, getting caught up on projects or hobbies, making your home a sanctuary and readying yourself for the future.
If you find that you or someone you love is in a situation where they are not only housebound but in an abusive relationship a helpful resource to keep in mind is The Canadian Lifeline. Please know that you are not alone and there are many resources available to assist you during this time!
If child management is an issue, I highly recommend 123 Magic – “3-Step Discipline for Calm, Effective, and Happy Parenting.” I’ve used it for many years with my clients and for most parents, it really does work like magic!
Lastly, don’t hesitate to get help! Click here to schedule an online video appointment.
Stay safe & healthy.