Being locked down for a week or two with the one you love sounds like a dream come true, but when weeks turn into months it might start eating at the relationship. We’re not saying every relationship is bound to fail during this time, we’re just saying it is normal to drive each other up the walls a little. Throw in the financial stress of perhaps not being able to work at this time and just the general toll a pandemic has on your psyche, and things are bound to get a little tense.
Sure, healthy relationships are built on things you have in common and the things you share. But it is also built on the respect and love you have for the other person and the differences that make them unique.
So, what do you do when you’re working on each other's nerves while working from home, playing from home, basically doing everything from your home? Here are a few tips that could help you stay sane and stay in love during lockdown.
- Make time for yourself
It doesn’t matter how much you love the people you live with, you need some time alone! Not only to get away from other people, but also to check in with yourself and figure out how you’re feeling and what YOU need. Whether you read your book, meditate, exercise, or take a long hot bath, just take some time away from the other people in the house and focus on you. We all need personal space ─ physical and emotional.
- Set boundaries
A lot of couples are working from home at the moment. This can be really stressful if each of you don’t have your own space set up. But let’s be realistic, having an office for each working person in the home is not an option for everyone. So whether you’re sharing the guest bedroom or the dining table, set some boundaries. Communicate your needs with your partner and come to a compromise so everyone can function optimally. This also comes into play with children running around the house. Close the door behind you, or let them know what you need while you’re working. This will save a lot of frustration down the road. This isn’t just the case for working from home, but also for the alone time mentioned above. Managing expectations is key here, so if you need time to do something on your own, let the people know. Being locked down together 24/7 doesn’t mean you have to do everything together.
- Stick to some sort of schedule
Your routine might have flown out of the window as we hit the triple digits of lockdown. But consider re-introducing some sort of structure to your day. Set your alarm to get up at a certain time every morning, get dressed, eat your breakfast before you start working and eat your lunch outside in the garden or in the dining room with your lockdown co-workers. Having some sort of schedule will help you set out specific times to connect with your loved ones, be it over dinner or a walk with the dog or perhaps playing board games or watching a movie together.
- Romance does not have to be dead
You can still have date nights, even if you aren’t allowed or don’t want to risk it in the outside world. Schedule a date, swap your tracksuit pants for something a little fancier, and focus all your attention on your partner without any distractions. It’s important to let your loved one know how you feel about them and not take the time you have together for granted.
- Stay in touch with friends and family
It’s important to connect with your friends and family in the outside world while locked down. If you’re used to having tea and scones with your mom every Sunday, make time to chat with her every Sunday, or if you usually go out for drinks with friends after work on Wednesday, stick to it, but please do it virtually and safely. Connecting with people other than the ones in your home can play a vital role in keeping your relationship healthy and takes the pressure off your quarantine buddy.
- Make the most of the time you have together
Try to see the silver lining of the situation. You get to spend as much time as you want with the one you love. Take the time to work on your relationship, get to know them again (no matter how well you think you know someone, you can always know them a little better), or set goals and accomplish them as a couple with the time you have together at home.
Lockdown doesn’t have to mean the end of your relationship. If you’re struggling, reach out to a counsellor or therapist that can help get you back on track again. One of our service providers, Global Choices and their mental wellness partner, The Talking Point are reaching out to pay it forward during these trying times. They are offering support and counselling services free of charge during the lockdown period. Call Global Choices on 0861 887 887 Monday to Friday between 07:00 and 21:00 during the lockdown period only. Their case managers will connect you with a qualified professional who will engage with empathy, listen carefully, guide, counsel and assist where necessary.
Please remember that it is up to each one of us to do our part and keep ourselves and loved ones safe. Visit https://sacoronavirus.co.za/ for more information about the current pandemic.