11 Tips to Maintain Relationships During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everything in the world; it created drastic changes in our ways of living and jobs. It also affected all the people from all walks of life; may it be financially, socially, physically, and mentally. It has created huge impacts in our lives that we never expected to experience. Cutting off relationships, whether with your special someone or with friends, in the midst of the pandemic is never a good ideaSo how do you maintain these relationships healthily? Here are some tips and advice that you can keep in mind:
1. Spend quality time together by trying new activities
It may be a drastic change for you and your partner that you’re stuck together for most of the time; especially if the two of you have been used to make yourself busy with other activities. It may be hard for you to connect and empathize with your thoughts and feelings.
Either you may be blessed enough to be able to work from home or lose your job and worry about your financial prospects; you are longer alone in dealing with yourself. With your partner beside you who is ready to support and take care of you, you two can create new hobbies or interests that help you ease your anxieties and distract from your worries, promote physical health, and even acquire a new skill. You both can read books and discuss it with each other, binging movies, baking or cooking new recipes, playing sports and games that you’ve never done before, or gardening.
2. Create a personal space for yourself
Your home may be your own comfort zone but you share it with someone else. And although it is important to cultivate trust and intimacy with your partner, it is also essential to claim a space of your own. You may claim an empty room and stay in it, recharge and relax all by yourself.
Of course, there are some of you might find this challenging if you have limited spaces in your living quarters. One thing you can do is to go out for a walk by yourself for a few hours so that other household members can also have their peace and quiet alone. Don’t forget to observe covid-19 health protocols such as wearing a mask and social distancing when going outside.
3. Express your needs
We all need to freely express our own needs and desires; but are we aware of them ourselves? During this pandemic, you have the opportunity to articulate our personal needs and wants to your partner. Without the social and work distractions, you are forced to face the hard reality of your current situation. These situations understandably puts people in great distress: Adjusting to working from home, coming to terms with one losing his job, or visiting friends during the covid-19 pandemic can now impose health risks, etc.
These changes can greatly affect your relationship with your partner. Now is the opportunity to face the new normal in your life, try to articulate to your partner and discuss it.
When conflicts arise, the only way to resolve it is to try to understand each other’s perspective; stifling your dissatisfaction with your partner or withdraw from them won’t help improve the situation. Express what is upsetting you so your partner understands how to improve the situation, and in turn, be prepared to address your partner’s concerns by being motivated to solve any problems that arise.
4. Be more responsive
Providing good support also entails being responsive to what your partner needs. Does he want or like emotional comfort, or does she like practical advice to deal with her current difficult situation? Does she just want a nice, warm hug, or does he want to stay up reading the latest news with you together? Listen and try to match what your partner needs, which might mean just being there without giving comfort or advice. Be there not only physically but also mentally and emotionally as well.
Bottom line is try to have open communication with each other. Lend an ear, empathize, and say your grievances with each other. This will help lower both of your demands from each other. This might be easier said than done, but having healthy relationships always require work.
5. Give time and be present
You may be stuck with your parents/kids/siblings/extended family members at home during the pandemic. You might be juggling tutoring your kids while working from home, or adjusting to online schoolwork, or just feeling exasperated being cooped up in a house full of impatient, antsy family members who are desperate for their own space.
But fear not as there are things you can do to help you get along with your families better, maintain strong relationships and to try to avoid clashes during these trying times. Here are some tips to guide you.
Instead of always facing your gadgets and spending it on social media or apps, put more time aside to connect with your family. Face to face interactions is important to establish a strong communication with each other. Try to be more mindful and pay attention to your family members. You can see how they are coping with the pandemic and pick up some vibes from them that you may be able to discuss with them in a heart to heart talk.
6. Listen to each other
Instead of hearing, listen to what others are saying and try to understand it and to focus on their needs in that moment. When you are in that position, honestly share how you are feeling, and allow yourself to be heard and supported by others.
Sharing feelings, without fear of being criticized, can help you feel calmer and closer to your family members. It may help to avoid mental illness as you are free to express all your strong feelings and thoughts to each other.
7. Acknowledge conflicts and face challenges together
Being stuck at home creates opportunities to get on each other’s nerves. Stress often creates conflict and depletes our ability to manage conflict effectively.
If any of you feels overwhelmed with negative emotions like fear and anxiety, allow each other to cool off and make sure you agree to regroup to discuss your issues more calmly when you are ready.
8. Commit to being a team and reach out to support one another
When you and your family commit to getting through the pandemic as a team; it puts any grievances and frustrations in broad daylight. Through this, you can overcome it together and strengthen your relationship. For example; you can all agree on a time each day when everyone can say how they are feeling; it could be what you have found most difficult recently and what we you grateful for that day. This will help maintain a healthy lifestyle for your family.
This is also a crucial time to lean on each other. Support is the most important thing you can provide your loved ones and is essential to avoid physical health problems and improve social health.
9. Create some boundaries
Being constantly together can feel a bit suffocating and lose your focus and concentration for yourself. This might be a problem for anyone who is especially working from home and needs an area to be alone for them to stay focused.
Make best use of the physical space in your home. You can plan your day, alternating your use of space with each family member, and be aware of others’ needs. It would also help if you can divide household tasks so no one has the burden on doing all of these. Having a daily routine may help you feel more in control of your lives.
Going outside for daily exercise as part of your routine may also help avoid physical health problems. Physical activities such as walking, jogging, yoga are good for our well-being. Contact with nature and exercise can greatly improve your mental health and decrease the likeliness of having a mental illness.
Remember that this pandemic you only need to keep physical distance from other people. Now more than ever it is important to connect with your family. Having your family by your side is a blessing since it will help you how many people you have in your corner, and this will reduce the pressure and anxieties the current pandemic has thrown at us.
10. Switch your methods of communication with your loved ones
We all usually connect with loved ones through apps and social media sites such as Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, Skype, Zoom, Twitter, etc. But sometimes, they can get boring or we get sick of using the same old sites we are used to consuming. Try switching up your methods of communication with your loved ones by sending emails, or using other apps that makes you connect with your loved ones by asking random questions through ask.fm, or making a personalized playlist for them for free through 8tracks.com, creating a blog that let you share similar interests through tumblr or pinterest.
You can also go the extra mile by sending snail mails or random small gifts to each other to share your appreciation and love with each other. Embrace the idea that not all connections need to be instant. Sometimes, it needs tangible things too.
10. Try to set a schedule of when to communicate with each other
If you're more introverted, or swamped from your work from home; quality time communicating with a loved one is a challenge. And so, try to approach a more minimalist communication. Choose to make the most of the time you share with a loved one. Set aside time to talk when you can be more present.
11. Just say what you want
There's a lot of pressure to keep conversation light and airy; especially if you’re long-distance. But at this point, if you want to talk about something specific, or if you prefer a certain communication style, speak up!
Most people in long–distance relationships have let their relationship consume their entire life. It dictates their schedule and attitude on life. Don’t be that person. Find the time and have the attitude to be comfortable on your own. You can become a homebody or both morph into having the same personality. Regardless of whether you're with and if you can be physically together or not, you should never stop living your own life.
Now is the most crucial time to receive support and love from your cherished ones. So it is worth trying to be a little more patient and understanding with our family, friends, and also ourselves.
We are forced to isolate in our homes to protect ourselves from contracting the deadly virus. And because of this, all trips to faraway places, visiting friends, meeting loved ones, eating out, shopping, and all activities involving outdoors and socializing with other people are halted indefinitely. We are forced to be cooped up in four walled spaces we call home 24/7, either by ourselves or with our family. The lockdown has brought new pressures and challenges in our everyday lives. It could greatly impact our mental health and emotional well-being.
While this is a great opportunity for us to unwind from our busy lives and spend more quality time with our family or with ourselves; it can also be sort of suffocating after a few weeks of staying in one place for a long time. At a time where everyone faces ongoing uncertainties and concerns about coronavirus, these mental and emotional stress can make it hard to cope up with our relationships with our loved ones.
It can create friction with our loved ones, and for the people who live alone; they might have felt lonelier and disconnected more than ever. This is why relationships need to be nurtured even more and an added effort needs to be seen from everyone involved in the relationship. Times are indeed tough but as long as you have a strong bond with your loved ones everything will turn out just fine.
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