Though the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted almost everyone’s lives in some way, it has offered a unique experience for many couples who are “stuck” at home together.
While some states are now returning to normal operations (or a “new normal”), others are still in lockdown mode or encouraging people to stay home. These stay-at-home orders have caused many to get creative when it comes to work and play.
However, if you’ve been at home with your partner for weeks, you might be noticing a bit of extra tension by now. While emotions are running high already during these uncertain times, don’t let the stress of the situation take control of your relationship and cause extra discord.
What can you do to ease the emotional tension and continue to make the most of staying at home as a couple?
1. Be Self-Compassionate
Again, these are uncertain times for everyone. It’s okay if you don’t feel your best every day and if you feel unmotivated or stressed. One of the best things you can do for your relationship is to be kind to yourself.
Don’t beat yourself up for not getting your work done today or not getting more accomplished around the house. If you need a break, that’s okay! When you’re kinder to yourself, you’re less likely to feel stressed and overwhelmed.
2. Be Compassionate With Your Partner
While keeping that first tip in mind, understand that your partner is dealing with many of the same stresses as you. Maybe they’re trying to work from home or they’ve lost their job. They have worries and doubts of their own.
So, be kind and patient with them, too. These are unique circumstances that may require a bit of extra compassion from all of us.
3. Work Through Problems Together
There are some unique opportunities when you’re stuck together that you may not otherwise have. For example, this is the perfect time to work through any issues you may be having as a couple.
You have the time to sit down and talk to each other. Take advantage of it! Don’t be afraid to show vulnerability instead of anger. Without life’s typical distractions to get in the way, you might find that your communication skills with each other start to improve.
4. Be Flexible
While keeping a regular routine can help you to feel more comfortable while you’re home, it’s also important to be adaptable and flexible.
Your typical roles around the house might shift for a while. If you normally cook dinner every night but you have to work from home, your partner might have to start doing it. If you’re immuno-compromised, but you’re usually the one who runs errands, your partner might have to start doing that.
It can feel a little daunting to have to get out of your routine, but adaptability will go a long way in easing tension.
5. Make Time for Each Other
This might sound like a silly tip, considering you’re in the same house together. But sharing a space doesn’t always mean you’re spending quality time together.
Don’t ignore your relationship while you’re staying at home. Carve out time during your day that is specifically dedicated to your partner. Have “at home” date nights. And use these times to really focus on one another and staying connected.
6. Do Things You Enjoy
Between watching the news, hearing things on social media, and letting your mind wander about the state of the world, you’ll add extra stress on yourself and your relationship.
Take the time to do things you enjoy and practice self-care. Then, do things you enjoy together as a couple, too! You don’t need to ignore what’s going on in the world around you, but taking a break from it can actually help you to feel less stressed and more level-headed.
7. Understand It’s Okay to Grieve
For many, this has been a period of loss. Some people have lost jobs. Others haven’t been able to see friends or family for weeks. In some unfortunate cases, this virus has taken the lives of loved ones.
Lean on your partner during this time. Talk to them about your worries and anxieties. Work through the losses you’re both experiencing together. It’s okay to grieve! And when you’re at home with someone you love, you don’t have to grieve alone.
8. Seek Out Help
If you’re really struggling with the emotional tension in your relationship, seek out help from a professional therapist or counselor.
This can be a difficult time for relationships, especially if you were having issues before. If you’re looking for more strategies to ease that tension and strengthen your relationship, feel free to contact me for more information.