How to Keep a Healthy Relationship During COVID-19

Updated: Dec 29, 2020

The Corona Pandemic has got everyone struggling to balance work, kids, household responsibilities of cooking, cleaning, laundry, homeschooling kids, and practicing self-care. While at the other end of the spectrum are the hapless, unemployed individuals struggling to figure out how to pay next month’s rent or mortgage and still manage food for everyone at home, besides everything else. Many feel overwhelmed and looking up for ways to help calm anxiety and practical advice on maintaining relationships.

For many couples, the time spent away from each other at work fuels the conversation that happens together. This means that spending the whole day together can give couples less to talk about - meaning there may be more quiet time than usual. One thing that could help with this is spending time “alone together,” meaning doing different activities in the same room. If you like to read, then you can sit in the living room with your partner while he watches a game. You guys are still doing your own thing, but together in the same place. When breaks come n for the game, maybe tell your partner about your book a little, or he can tell you how the game is going.

Spending day after day in the same place can make even devoted couples a little stir-crazy. A sense of monotony can cause numbness to feelings, which is part of coping with so much uncertainty in the world. Though relationships can offer solace, each person needs to take responsibility for individual health and well-being. Here are things to do so you and your partner keep a healthy and robust relationship through a time like this.

Maintain Self-care & a Routine

Self-care is essential. With everyone’s schedule changed, it’s necessary to establish and maintain some kind of a routine. Stick to regular sleep hours, wake up on time, make the bed, and get dressed each day. Eating nutritious foods is essential, too. Scheduling breaks can break up the day and help partners stay grounded.

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Keep the Workday Limited

For couples working at home, it helps to set boundaries between work hours and time spent together. The anxiety caused by the pandemic may tempt people to lose themselves in work, particularly people who invest a lot of their identity in their professions. They might miss the routine, the meetings, the structure that goes with that.

Beware Substance Use & Abuse

Increased stress can aggravate habits such as smoking or substance abuse, including drinking more alcohol. Too much alcohol can set the stage for harmful interactions. Without going to meetings regularly or have that in-person interaction, it could cause some irritation. This can then possibly lead to relapse due to the lack of consistency and stability they had pre-pandemic.

Go Out Together

Exercising outdoors together can be a powerful way to reduce stress and strengthen positive connections. Couples who are used to spending time in the gym might require changes to keep up with fitness and exercise when you can’t work out on machines or take live classes. Go for a run or a bike ride, dig in the garden, or even just take a walk together. Couples who are more sedentary can start a healthy habit.

Work Together to Keep Kids Occupied

Kids sequestered at home during the pandemic create another whole dimension of family togetherness, along with overwhelming stress, especially when one or both parents are trying to work from home. It can be all but impossible to do work, attend video meetings, help kids with home school lessons, and deal lovingly with their emotions and behaviors. Couples should plan kids’ days when possible and ensure that each partner is taking a fair amount of time to keep children occupied and content.

Broaden Your Support System

Your partner is just one person, no matter how amazing. You shouldn’t slightly be leaning on any single individual for all your emotional needs just because you’re under the same roof. Both people in the relationship need to stay connected with family and friends who can be available for them, especially as time wears on with continuing physical distancing measures.

Plan Something Fun

Though couples’ pre-pandemic plans may be canceled or postponed right now, make new, different ones. You can take a drive together, plan a special meal, or even make a small purchase that you can both enjoy if you have the resources. Apps can help couples virtually get with friends for dinners, game nights, or movies. The important thing is to create something to look forward to, even if they’re small.

When Couples Are Apart Due to the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has separated couples due to work schedules or just geographic distance. Young couples and new relationships might be suffering from physical space strain as each person shelters in place with his or her own family, sometimes miles apart. There might be a silver lining in separation. This situation allows couples to get to know one another through a conversation without physical contact. Learning more about the other person can help intimacy grow and create a strong foundation for when reunited.

Be on Your Best Behavior

It’s helpful for partners to look at the shelter-in-place situation realistically and consciously commit to staying healthy for one another during these unusual — but finite — times. Most people understand these are unprecedented circumstances and will work at being more patient and considerate than usual. The pandemic won’t last forever, even though on some days, it feels like it might. Treating one another well could leave couples even better off once the pandemic is under control and we return to a more normal life.

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