As people do their best to stop the spread of COVID-19, countless couples are stuck at home together. And many of them are making critical, relationship-straining mistakes.
No matter how much you love each other, being cooped up in the house for days on end can disrupt your dynamic. The first couple days might feel effortless, cozy, and fun. After a while, though, being stuck inside all the time with your significant other starts to get old.
Nevertheless, you can get through self-quarantine with your relationship and sanity intact. You might even come out the other side stronger than ever. Here’s how to do it:
Get into a groove
According to the University of Virginia, excessive, unstructured time indoors can result in mood swings and depression. The best way to fight that? Establish a routine.
Get on the same page with your partner about how you want to spend your days. It might be tempting to play video games or watch Netflix from dawn till dusk, but you have to decide as a couple when to work and when to play.
Determine what tasks must be completed throughout the day. Get dressed. Eat breakfast. Exercise. Shower. Sit down and get your work done and decide when you plan to take breaks. It’s important you’re on the same page so you can support each other.
Create an ideal workspace
Chances are, you and your partner are both working from home right now. And when you’re both in work mode eight hours a day or more, you tend to butt heads.
Whether you’re telecommuting, freelancing, studying, or working on personal projects, cultivate a workspace in a designated area of your home. Encourage your partner to do the same. Even if your living space is small, each of you needs a space where you can focus and get down to business.
Figure out chores
Spending more time in the house means more clutter and messes. More messes mean more chores, which means more stress.
Dishes pile up faster. You notice every speck of dirt on the carpet. The toilet needs to be cleaned more frequently. The list goes on.
To avoid frustration with each other, agree on who’s going to do which chores and when. Whatever you do, don’t “just do it yourself” all the time. This is a recipe for resentment against your partner. Be explicit: You can even make a chore chart if necessary.
Social distancing can be hard on your psychological and physical wellbeing. In order to be your best self in your relationship, make sure you’re getting your needs met.
Prioritize a good night’s sleep. Eat balanced meals. Keep taking your birth control. Don’t lose sight of your fitness goals. Do what nourishes you, whether that’s reading, journaling, or taking a nice hot bath every day.
Hone your communication skills
All this time at home together will put your communication skills to the test. You cannot expect your partner to read your mind, and vice versa.
If you feel frustrated, express it and explain why. If you need help, ask for it. And if you need space, take it and explain that you’re not upset.
Even though you’re inside together, you don’t have to spend every waking hour in each other’s company. It’s normal to simply need a minute alone. Likewise, it’s OK for your partner to ask for time alone. Don’t take it personally.
Every couple has hot-button issues that trigger arguments. Take care to avoid these. Now is not the time to work through your deepest issues as a couple.
Enjoy time away from media
Naturally, we’ve all been glued to the news. It’s important to shut our laptops, unwind, and have fun.
Activities you both enjoy will help you pass the time and keep your spirits up. Being stuck indoors doesn’t mean you can’t have date nights. You can also take this time to revitalize your space.
Take this time to start new projects. From reorganizing to DIY beauty to knitting, there are no limits to what you can do. After all, when will you have this much time for personal projects again? You can even make a little extra money by selling gently used clothes and accessories online.
Distinguish between conflict and abuse
Conflict is part of any healthy, balanced relationship. However, conflict differs distinctly from abuse.
Isolation during the pandemic may worsen abuse, whether that it is verbal, emotional, and/or physical. Your relationship may be emotionally hurtful if your partner:
- Gaslights you;
- Makes you feel as though you must walk on eggshells ;
- Interrogates you about what you’re doing or who you’re texting;
- Criticizes you constantly;
- Controls your access to money or resource.
This list is not exhaustive, but it is a starting point. If you or someone you know is being abused, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Your relationship will get through this. Don’t forget that. In all the chaos in the world today, you have each other. Even when you drive each other a little nuts, your love matters most of all.
Keep being AllDayChic!