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Maintain Healthy Relationships in Lockdown

8 September 2020

Finding the right balance between connection and maintaining healthy boundaries is essential for a relationship during lockdown.

Here’s what you should consider:

Start With Taking Care of Yourself

In order to have fulfilling relationships with others, you’ll need to work on your relationship with yourself. These are some essential self-care tips:

  • Validate your emotions: Lockdown can unleash a range of emotions, from frustration to stress and worry. Experience it all without imposing any judgment. What we resist persists, so acknowledging how you feel is the first step in dealing with a challenging emotional situation.
  • Write down your thoughts: Spend at least 10 minutes each day journaling your thoughts, feelings and experiences
  • Meditate: This is an essential part of prioritising your mental health
  • Exercise: Structured physical activity releases endorphins that help manage stress, improve mood and boost immunity, so find some time to add it to your daily routine
  • Seek connection: Reach out to friends and family through texts or video calls to widen your support network and limit the possibility of feeling lonely during this time

Use Candid Communication

Open and honest communication is an essential part of a healthy relationship. Assuming the motives, feelings and intentions of others has the potential to breed conflict.

Create a safe space for both you and your partner to be open with one another about how you are feeling. It is important to make sure to use words like “I feel” and not “You make me feel” so that you take responsibility for your emotions and do not shift blame.

Make sure to actively listen to your partner’s concerns without interrupting or making any assumptions about what they have expressed. If a misunderstanding develops, consider approaching the situation from a different perspective. For example, instead of stating: “So you mean…?” ask “What do you mean?”

Offer More Compliments and Less Criticism

Now is not the best time to point out that your significant other is “very messy” or “chews too loudly”. Instead of drawing attention to each other’s faults, find ways to compliment them and express gratitude. For example, thank them for the coffee they made this morning, commend them on a job well done after they’ve closed a business deal, or tell them how much you enjoyed the meal they cooked.

Authors and Couples-communication Specialists, Dr Helen LaKelly Hunt and husband Dr Harville Hendrix, suggest that you tell your partner three things you appreciate about them before you go to bed every night. They add that even if you’re not able to find compliments every day, try to avoid criticism. “If you want to be close, you can’t be critical,” says Dr Hendrix.

Set Healthy Boundaries

You’re spending much more time with your partner than usual and, as much as you love them, this can lead to tension and frustration. Here are additional ways to set boundaries:

  • Create separate workspaces: If you and your partner are both working from home, create separate work areas to give you both the opportunity to work constructively.
  • Give one another space during the day: This might not work for everyone, but it might be a good idea to limit verbal communication during the ‘working day’ and, instead, text one another to check in. It will give each person more time to be productive and, in some cases, may mimic how you would normally have communicated before lockdown. When you take time out for some me-time – free of child care or your partner – spend it doing things you enjoy, such as writing, listening to your favourite podcasts, reading or baking.

This article is published courtesy of CareWays.

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