Keeping Relationships Happy and Healthy During Isolation.
Creating a New Normal During Isolation
Isolation is going to bring new demands on our relationships, especially with those we are isolating with. We don’t have the usual distractions and we are spending a lot more time together. The truth is, your relationships are going to be different when this is all over. It’s important that during this time you create a new normal for you and your loved ones.
Because we’re all human, the first things we’ll notice when in isolation with others are the things that most annoy us! Remember that people in happy and healthy relationships consciously look beyond the annoyances and keep an eye out for the positive things too. This is one way to sow into your relationships, to cultivate them and not neglect them even though we’re living in such unusual circumstances.
Here are some pointers:
For families with kids:
• Respect people’s boundaries and different needs. Everyone will respond differently and that’s OK.
• Establish a routine. This doesn’t have to be rigid, but just a rhythm of the day.
• Run family meetings. These are a good chance to check in and air grievances.
• Share the chores. The house may be busier than usual, make sure everyone is contributing.
• Have meals together. Make this a time where you focus on positive things in the day.
• Play with the kids. Play board games. Read to them or listen to audio books together.
• Don’t feel you need to entertain the kids all the time. Boredom will prompt them to get creative.
• Try not to argue in front of the kids. Take arguments away from kids if possible.
• Postpone the ‘big’ conversations at this stage. This is not a time to work through big issues.
• Look for ways to connect with each other. Check in daily. Plan a date night, get creative, dress up and do something special. Lock the kids in another room!
• Learn something new together – dancing, singing, DIY, gardening. Google has lots of ideas.
• Notice your partner’s effort and tell them about it. We all need encouragement and support at the moment.
• Don’t criticise. Recognise that your partner might be more stressed than normal.
• Ask for what you need. Your partner is not a mind reader. Let them know if you need a hug or need space!
• Understand people will respond differently during this time. Some may withdraw, some may become more clingy.
• Respect each other’s boundaries and space. If someone needs time alone, let them have it.
• Have time together and apart. Schedule to do things together, but also have time on own as well.
• Run house meetings. Regular catch ups are good where you can organise the house and air grievances in a calmer manner.
• Allocate chores and jobs. Make sure you are sharing the load of the busier house
• Don’t just talk about the pandemic. Make sure you talk about positive things aswell including what you are looking forward to doing when it’s all over! choose to speak about positives as well.
• Set aside a few minutes day for yourself. Think of it as time out to reset your mind and body. Try journaling, a gratitude diary (list three things you’re grateful for), a mindfulness practice.
• Read my blog on Managing Anxiety During the Coronavirus Crisis for more tips on how to care for your self.