Updated: Nov 4, 2020
Learn How to Maintain The Strength and Health of Your Relationship During the Pandemic, From a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Mental Health Expert!
Since the start of the COVID-19 in March of 2020, numerous individuals have been forced to remain inside for far longer than they would like. The increased time indoors and away from hobbies and other familiar routines can add to the stress of everyday life.
When you add that to schools being canceled and the normal difficulties of being in a relationship, these last few months have been especially strenuous for many couples and marriages.
Seeking a little help or advice to build healthy relationships doesn’t mean you are weak. In fact, it is actually a sign of strength and one of the best ways to solve your pandemic problems!
It is easy to allow yourself to become overwhelmed with the current state of the world and take that anger or stress out on your significant other. Now more than ever, it is important to stay proactive in maintaining a healthy relationship with the ones you love. For this reason, I’ve created this free online guide to building and maintaining healthy relationships during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The 9 Best Ways To Create and Maintain A Healthy Relationship During the Pandemic
1. Focus on FUN In Your Relationship!
Fun? You might be thinking, “How can I focus on fun during such stressful times?” Shifting your focus from stress to something that brings you joy, is a key element to creating not only a great relationship but also a great life. Your well-being, happiness, and relationship health are more important than ever before.
Creating space and time to “play” and engage in hobbies is one of the best ways to create a viable and healthy relationship during the quarantine.
Couples who spend more time doing what they love, spend far less time focusing on the negative aspects of the pandemic. Investing time in activities and experiences that feel good, create momentum over time. When you feel good, you attract more good experiences.
If you and your spouse share a hobby, create a scheduled time during your week that is designated to free yourself from the stress of daily worries and relax, have fun, and play more!
If in your relationship, you and your partner have separate interests or hobbies, that is OKAY! Use the designated time slot during the week to spend a little bit of time apart and work on yourself. There is absolutely nothing wrong with spending allotments of time apart to invest in yourself and practice a little self-love. In fact, there is everything right about that!
A healthy life and relationship is one where you can be interdependent (which is a nice combination of dependence and independence blended together in an easy-going way).
When you are happier and feel more relaxed during the pandemic, I guarantee you it will be far easier to work out problems or issues that arise in your relationship during lockdown! Your mindset will be more open and available to resolution for any obstacle when you are coming from a peaceful place inside yourself.
A large part of creating fun during these stressful times is by working on yourself! Learn more about self-care strategies during the quarantine here!
2. Control Less
During the recent pandemic, many individuals have felt stressed about not being able to control where they go or what they can do. This is completely normal! Feeling out of control is not something many people are used to in 2020.
I think the overall tendency for people plucked out of their normal routines is to panic a little bit (or a lot). When your mind is stressed and you feel anxious, you literally don’t have access to the part of your brain that is in charge of rational thinking. Anxiety shuts down the part of your brain responsible for thinking clearly and logically. Relax your mind more by letting go of attempting to control things beyond yourself.
If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed by this sudden lack of control, both personally and in your relationship, it is time to LET GO! I am guessing that might sound terrifying to some, and I imagine you might have resistance against that idea.
I will remind you again that you really never had control in the first place. Remember, you have no power to control what others do and no control what is happening around you. What you can control is how you respond to what is happening.
Make a list of things that are causing you to feel anxious or out of control. Look at your list and separate the things you can change, and the things you can’t. Make a clear decision to surrender to the items on your list that are about other people or conditions going on around you. Stop focusing on those aspects. Give them none of your time, energy or attention.
With the list of items that DO pertain to you on the side of the list of things you CAN control, decide what actions or steps you will make to immediately help yourself feel better.
For example, you can’t control being restricted with what you can do in your community, but you CAN control how you decide to feel about the restriction. You can say, “This is a great opportunity for me to do things around my house I have been needing to do for years.” Thinking that way would cause you to feel productive and happy. Or you can say, “I feel so bored and irritated.” Thinking those thoughts would cause you to feel more stressed and mad.
What you focus on creates the way you feel. If you don’t like the results you are seeing in your life, take time to determine where you can shift your focus. Give your attention to things you WANT.
Surrender, which means let go of, or stop giving energy or attention to the things you DON’T want. When you decide to be intentional and clear about what you will give your valuable time and energy to, it will be far easier to cope with the situation at hand when you master ‘going with the flow.’
This step can feel scary and difficult for numerous reasons, but once you experience the freedom that comes with letting go, you will never try to control things outside of yourself anymore.
Taking responsibility for controlling your behaviors only, and letting go of trying to control your significant other is a vital element on your journey to creating an emotionally safe and effective relationship for the duration of this pandemic and beyond.
3. Adjust Your Expectations In Your Relationship
While this step sounds simple enough, it is actually far more difficult than you may expect. Humans carry the beliefs they developed from long ago and many of these beliefs stay tucked away in our subconscious mind. What we believe drives our behavior, our choices, and what we value.
Without realizing it, someone’s belief system may interfere with their ability to be present, rational and logical, especially during high-stress experiences. Conflict arises from belief systems and if you are unaware of which beliefs are driving the conflict, you won’t be as clear about how to resolve the conflict.