Lockdown has been a struggle for many people. Not being able to go about our lives as usual can be stressful, but there’s also the issue of who you find yourself in lockdown with.
Many people are finding themselves locked in their home with a partner or family member they would usually only see for an hour or two per day. Long working days, long commutes and active social lives mean many people may live with other people but actually not see them for more than a small percentage of their day or week. And now suddenly there’s no escape!
Whether you’re in lockdown with a partner, family members or children, it can be hard to deal with spending that amount of time with people if you’re not used to it.
Here are some tips to help your relationships survive lockdown:
Communicate how you feel
This sounds really basic, but often we can expect people to just know what’s wrong or how we feel without ever telling them. If we don’t tell people how we feel we can’t resonably expect them to know. Just saying something as simple as I’m feeling pretty grumpy today; you might want to give me a wide berth can help
Being stuck in the house together 24 hours per day doesn’t necessarily mean you’re spending quality time together. You might be sitting in the same room, but are you actually connecting with each other? Look for ways to intentionally spend quality time together where you are able to connect and engage with each other. This will help to maintain your relationship in the longer term.
Work in separate rooms
If possible, try to maintain separate work spaces. This will allow you to still have time apart throughout the day, as if you are still working separately. You can then come together over lunch and again at the end of the day, without being in each other’s pockets for the duration.
If you’re really struggling to get along with your partner whilst in lockdown, you might look into free marriage counseling online. Online video calls etc are not just for work meetings or keeping in touch with friends and family; you can also make use of online counseling services which can be really useful in times of struggle.
Take time alone where you can
We all need down time, especially when experiencing stress. Communicate to your partner or family members that you need to take some time alone, and use it wisely. That might mean taking your daily exercise alone, or moving to another room to sit and read a book. Don’t pressure yourself to spend your entire day in the same room as someone just because you’re both in the house at the same time.
Allow others their alone time too
It’s important to remember that just as we need our own space, others do too – and these may not coincide with each other. Try to bear in mind that your relationship will be much more healthy if both of you are able to take time alone, even if you find yourself wanting to spend time with someone who needs some personal space.
Organise a date night
If you’re together all day, every day it is easy to let relationship maintenance slide a little. Being together all day doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make a little effort every now and then. Get dressed up as if you’re going out, and turn your living room into a cinema, or your dining room into a restaurant. Really put some effort into acting as if you’re on a real date together. Pay attention to each other and maintain that connection, rather than just plodding along as normal.
Maintaining a relationship requires effort at the best of times. While we’re in lockdown it’s important to keep making that effort to communicate and show our loved ones that they are indeed loved.