With the on-going situation with coronavirus, we’re all stuck in doors for the foreseeable future. Those of us who are isolating with their partner are definitely not used to spending this much time in close quarters! Usually we see them a few evenings a week and time at the weekend, but we have time away from each other when we’re at work, or having time to blow off steam with our friends, Under the current circumstances, however, we’re working in the same house and spending time together 24 hours a day. With all this time together, even the strongest couples are bound to experience tension. So how can we try to keep a harmonious house during the lockdown?
Get out of the house
Government guidelines do allow us to leave the house for exercise once a day, so make sure you make use of that time. Either go for a walk together or use it for some alone time and go for a run or walk alone. Either way, it’s important to get out of the house. It clears your head and makes you feel better, which means you are less likely to snap at each other and create arguments.
Keep a routine
It’s tempting to just wake up late and lay about in our PJ’s all day, but keeping your routine is important for your mental health and its important to keep the same rhythms when you are working from home or on furlough leave. Get up at the same time, shower, get dressed, and sit down for breakfast together (which may be something you didn’t get to do before!).
Keep date nights
You may not be able to go out to a restaurant or to the cinema, but you can still make date night happen. Instead of just falling into the trap of sitting in front of the tv in your PJ’s, take one night a week to dress in normal clothes (or even dress up!) set the table, eat together, and watch a movie with some popcorn. Make your time together special, even if you’re seeing each other all day every day. It’s surprising how much of a difference it makes!
Respect each other’s work boundaries
If you have a house big enough and you’re both working from home, try to work in separate rooms. Keeping boundaries between your home and work will ensure you don’t frustrate each other with work calls or talking about home related stuff when you’re trying to work. It also means you can listen to your own music without having to compromise!
Give yourself space and time to yourselves
Open communication is important and that means telling each other when you need some space. We all need it, and from time to time it’s good to do your own thing in different rooms. You don’t need to do everything together just because you’re both in the house all the time at the moment. Make space for yourself, and agree not to disturb each other during this time.
Put petty arguments aside
This is a time when petty arguments really don’t matter. Try not to pick up on things that aren’t important. It’s easy for us all to get annoyed at the little things, but if there was ever a time to take a breath and let it go, it’s now! That being said, respecting each other’s boundaries is also important, so if there is something you know annoys your partner, make a special effort to try not to do it. It’s all about keeping the harmony as much as possible!
Do something different, like playing board games
Board games are really coming into their own during lockdown! Dust off that old set of monopoly, or order something new from Amazon for you to play. It gives you something different to do than just watching tv, just make sure you don’t get too competitive and cause arguments!
One of the key aspects of a healthy relationship, but it’s even more important right now. Extreme close quarters can make us feel trapped and anxious. As does the scary situation going on in the world. This can lead to defensive responses which we might transfer to our partner in the way we talk to them or treat them, which can feed their own anxiety. All in all, you can go round and round in circles with reciprocal defensive responses to the way you’re feeling inside. Talk to your partner about how you are feeling to avoid miscommunication. Discuss your own coping mechanism and what you need from each other to get through this.
Listen to each other
Just as important as talking to each other is listening. We’re all going to be going through the same things, anxiety about coronavirus, feeling trapped in the house, boredom, missing our other family members or friends. Even though we are all feeling it, it’s important to be able to get it off your chest and we all need to listen to each other as we work through those emotions. Feeling listened to and supported is important for communication, so put down your phone, step away from your work and face one another to make sure you are really connecting to how you are both feeling.
Ultimately, this time reminds us what is really important, and that is the people that we love! There are bound to be issues and arguments, but make time to keep your relationship strong with special allocated time together, allocated time for your own space, and keeping open those windows of communication.