Focus on fostering your relationship
Life feels scary and uncertain right now. As COVID-19 spreads across Canada and the US, our daily routines and realities are changing quickly.
Millions of people are joining forces isolating themselves to help stop the spread of the virus. Many businesses are closed, as are schools and daycares, many people’s jobs have changed or been lost, and frontline healthcare providers are working tirelessly to care for the ill. Our lives have been changed by the pandemic. But we can get through it by supporting each other. Below are some tips to help with this:
Set a routine. With many people staying at home with their partner or children it is easy to fall into airport rules, where days and time don’t matter. However, this can have a detrimental effect on your mental health. Making an effort to create structure in your day will help maintain balance in your life, especially if you have kids.
Build healthy habits. The first step to building healthy habits is to define your goals. Research suggests that goal setting is a behavior change technique that serves as a fundamental component of successful interventions. So, spend some time exploring what you want and need in your life at this very moment. Knowing this will allow you to start formulating a plan. Think about what small, sustainable steps you can take to build healthy habits as building a routine takes consistency. And be sure to go easy on yourself if you have to deviate from your plan or goals at times.
Take care of your physical health. Being stuck inside makes it very easy to fall into a sedentary lifestyle. Taking time daily to exercise daily is beneficial not just for your physical health, but your mental health as well. Multiple websites and apps have offered free access to their services, you can check out a list of free options here.
And your mental health. The quick change in routine has had a negative impact on many of us in terms of mental health. As previously mentioned, physical activity is a good way to combat this. Many people also find that taking time to meditate daily, even for as little as 5 minutes, helps with mental health and mindfulness. Two popular mediation apps with free options are Headspace and Insight Timer.
Be responsive to your partner. During anxious times, it can be easy to become self-focused (and this might be necessary to get through everything you have to do). But if you are living with a partner during this time, try to understand their needs and challenges. Partners can be an important support for each other.
Take time apart. For many, we are now in constant close quarters with our partners and while this can be enjoyable, it is also important to take time apart. This can be achieved by taking walks alone (if you’re allowed based on the social distancing guidelines in your area), meditating, reading, or simply having separate areas in your home, if possible.
Try something new. Although there are many challenges right now, change can also bring new opportunities. When couples share a novel experience or do something that expands how they see each other or the world, they desire each more and feel happier in their relationship. When you get a chance or during a home “date night”, try planning something new and interesting—take a class together, try a new recipe, play a new game together These could be things like trying a new game together, painting, or even reading together if that's more to your liking!
Stay connected. It is important for our wellbeing that we stay connected with our social support network. This connection helps to make us feel safer, less stressed, and less anxious. While we are limiting in-person social contact to contain the spread of COVID-19, there are still lots of ways we can connect with others such as through social media or on Houseparty, FaceTime, or Zoom.