Everything is changing so fast these days with the coronavirus pandemic. Schools have shut down for the foreseeable future, work has transitioned to completely virtual, and grown men and women are getting into wrestling matches over none other than… toilet paper. Trust me when I say, I’m dealing with all the same stresses you are.
I lost my sh*t a few days ago when I returned home from vacation to find that my youngest daughter had 24 hours to move out of her sorority house (and bring all of her belongings back into my house). As if that wasn’t hectic enough, I had to take my dad to get a Coronavirus test after I’d just spent a week with him. And my fiancé started working from home and was in my “space” and before I knew it, I lost it on him.
Within one day, I went from being on a beach (how blessed am I?) to pure chaos and panic. I was more overwhelmed than I have been for many many years, and even though I know every life coaching tool to stop myself before I lose my sh*t, I’m also human and reacted like a caged animal.
So, in light of all this, I know first-hand how hard it is to keep your wits about you—let alone maintain a healthy partnership with your significant other. Fear not because I’m sharing my tips for keeping your own sanity and maintaining a healthy relationship through these trying times.
1. Create your new normal. When the world around you feels out of control, your daily habits are what keep you centered. Whether that means finding 5 minutes in the morning to meditate, incorporating an at-home workout, or cooking dinner with your partner, try to create some structure around your day. It may also be helpful to have a designated space you can escape to when you need to get away.
2. Maintain a well-rounded social life. Rather than using your SO as your only connection to the outside world, use technology for good to reach out to others in your network. While I don’t see technology as a replacement for in-person conversations all the time, it is a real benefit when you physically can’t be around people. Use the extra downtime to call that college friend you haven’t talked to for 6 months, or catch up with your grandma over FaceTime.
3. Verbalize EXACTLY what you need. Ideally, your partner would just magically meet your every need and know exactly what you’re thinking all the time. Reality is, no one is a psychic. Don’t be afraid to tell your partner what you need from him or her. If you have a separate workspace, make sure they understand exactly when it’s OK to enter that space and when it’s not. Need some time to yourself to go on a walk? Just give the other person a heads up. For example, “I need some alone time,” or “The kids are on my last nerve! Could you please take over for an hour?” Catch my drift?
4. Cut each other some slack. Listen, everyone is on edge right now and self-compassion has never been more important. Any relationship, no matter how solid, can be strained when you’re spending all day, every day together. If you snap at your partner, or one of you is feeling bored, impatient or grumpy, remember that it’s normal. This is a weird time, so be patient with each other. It’s also a great time to remember your vows (if you’ve made them or not). Love is patient. Love is kind…
5. Lighten up! There’s no reason you can’t make the best of the situation. Look for ways you and your partner can have fun together while you’re stuck at home. Turn off the news for an hour. Have great sex. Look at old family photos. Play hide and seek. Whatever it is — find some time for play.
6. Remember that nothing lasts forever. As hard as it is, remind yourself that this is a temporary situation. Focus on the things you’re looking forward to this year. By looking ahead to the future, there’s less chance to catastrophize the present.
I hope you’re able to find the silver lining in this tough situation. I’d like to leave you with this quote from author Jamie Tworkowski:
“Conversations will not be canceled. Relationships will not be canceled. Love will not be canceled. Songs will not be canceled. Reading will not be canceled. Self-care will not be canceled. May we lean into the good stuff that remains.”
How are you and your partner doing during this time? Have any fun tips you’d like to share? Leave a comment below!