Staying home is the healthy thing for all of us right now. There are some challenges and advantages to this mandate. You may be relishing the time with your partner and you also may be feeling a little closed in. You are used to being away from each other during the day and now you are together all of the time! Here are some tips to surviving and even thriving this new normal.
- Create individual space. If one or both of you are working from home and/or have parenting and home school responsibilities, it’s important for each of you to have your own space where you can get your work done and get some alone time. If there’s not room for both of you to have an office, maybe during the day one of you stays in the bedroom while the other is in the living area.
- Have a routine. We all feel a bit safer with things we know and can count on. Schedule things each day that help help you cope, feel productive, and get connected. At the same time don’t be too rigid. The world is changing rapidly right now, don’t expect too much of yourself. Be mindful of your needs moment to moment.
- Get outside. Take a walk, alone or together. If you can do so while maintaining a safe distance, take a walk or a hike. If that is not accessible to you, find a sunny spot and soak up some vitamin D 15-30 minutes a day.
- Connect with each other. Just like you may need time to yourself, make time to be together intentionally. In the “noise” of being physically in the same space more now, we may miss opportunities to be mindfully together. Schedule a dinner, walk, happy hour or morning coffee to sit and talk. Now is a great time to share how you are feeling, what you need from the other and how you may be able to support each other in new ways.
- Be attuned to bids for attention. This is a confusing time for all of us. We all have new and unfamiliar needs. Your partner may be annoying you with constant chatter. What this means is s(he) really needs to connect. If you cannot take a break that moment, let them know you see them and schedule a time in the near future to sit down and be there for your partner.
- Let go of all the “shoulds.” Maybe this is a time of growth for you. Maybe this is really disruptive and annoying and you hate it. What ever you are feeling is OK and normal. Honor it. Everyone is doing their best. Give yourself, and your partner the benefit of the doubt.
- Practice gratitude. Look for all the things your partner does for you/the family. Over time we can start to take things for granted. Does your partner make sure your favorite foods are in the fridge? Is your partner making the coffee every morning? Is the grass getting cut? Notice these things and appreciate them. Verbalize your gratitude for their efforts. Doing so not only increases positive thoughts and thus behavior, it emphasizes connection. If I am grateful for a gift, it implies that there is a giver. It highlights reciprocity.
This post was written by Valerie Thompson, a Licensed Professional Counselor with over 20 years experience specializing in self care, balance, and personal growth. She is committed to creating a safe space where people can tell their story and discover their strengths. To connect with Valerie, visit our Member Directory.