COVID-19 has united everyone in terms of feeling the same harrowing fears, worries, and spiraling anxiety. Having suddenly been caught in the eye of the Corona storm has thrown us out of gear in terms of everything, including how to maintain relationships.
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, in addition to everything else.
Many are starting to feel overwhelmed and looking up for ways to help calm anxiety and practical advice on how to maintain relationships.
That’s why we have rounded up expert advice that will help you and your family to destress, look after your health and wellbeing and stay connected during this trying time of COVID-19.
Here’s how to maintain relationships and responsibilities during the Corona Pandemic.
1. Refrain from snapping, criticizing and judging
Katherine Mazza, LMFT
A crucial personal safety tip. Pause your auto-response of snapping, criticizing, judging and immediately replace it with the opposite: kindness and patience. Modeling this will yield you the same level of regard.
It’s a wonderful time to show and receive kindness and respect.
Remember: your partner, too, is experiencing stress and fear.
The expert mental health advice on how to maintain relationships and overall well being is to look at it as an opportunity to reset ourselves and our relationships. It is now that we awaken to what’s important and remove ourselves from the autopilot.
2. Reevaluate each member’s domestic participation
Barbara Martin, LMHC
- Be mindful of your alcohol intake. Every day can feel like a Saturday now that most of us are forced to work from home. Make a plan for you and your partner to moderate your alcohol intake. A bit of advice on how to maintain relationships is to hold one another accountable.
- Readjust and adapt domestic tasks. Your families’ typical assignment of domestic tasks may not adapt well to the current realities of COVID-19. Working from home means there is more laundry to do; meals to cook and clean up.
- Reevaluate each family member’s domestic participation and adapt it to meet the needs of your family. This effort can help mitigate some of the stress of feeling overly burdened with work and domestic chores to help in maintaining relationships.
3. Use this frightening time as a learning experience
SaraKay Smullens, PsyD
Keep in mind that this surreal existence will pass.
- Stay in touch with friends and loved ones through social media, texting, Zoom, etc.
- Be especially mindful of those who live alone: Reach out to them.
- For younger children without access to school programming, elicit help from family and friends for storytimes online.
- Use this frightening time as a learning experience: When it passes, what important political activity can you become involved in to protect our country from future “plagues” threatening our health and our environment?
- Go online (if possible) and visit the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. You will be inspired by the small quarters where Anne and others lived in terror of the Nazis. This will put what we are going through in a different and more tolerable perspective.
Remember we are all in this together. We care about others. We understand the importance of the three Cs: Connection, Courage, CommonSense.
I now sign all of my correspondence “To Be Continued” and life will continue. We will endure. We will learn. We will put lessons to good use.
4. Recalibrate your priorities
Maegan Casanova, PsyD
The primary thing I want people to remember in this time of unknown is that we are more anxious, stressed, worried than normal and our first response will most likely be fear-based.
Knowing these two things- here’s what I suggest:
- Allow priorities to change in a time of crisis.
- More than ever it needs to be ‘us vs. the issue’ instead of ‘me vs. my partner’.
- Find compassion towards your partner’s fears.
- Be brave (while being scared) and express your own fears.
- Remember that no one knows how to respond ‘correctly’ as this is new to us all, so allow room for all the options for maintaining relationships.
5. Maintain a healthy routine
Micki Lavin-Pell, LMFT
- Keep as much of your daily routine happening.
- Do a few minutes of morning meditation to help stay positively focused.
- Shower (you don’t want to upset your family by smelling bad).
- Get dressed, look good.
- Exercise: If you usually get up and go to the gym, get an online workout subscription or find a work-out on Youtube, or go for a quick walk or jog with no one around.
- Eat a healthy breakfast.
- Practicing a morning routine, uninterrupted helps you start your day feeling accomplished.
- Take turns with your spouse/partner doing schoolwork and activities with the kids. While one of you is working with the kids, the other has a block of time to work. Try to do this in 2 block periods.
- Make easy to make yet hearty meals.
- If your kids are old enough, have each one take a turn at preparing dinner (or whatever your main meal is).
- Enjoy your meals together as a family.
- Create a chore chart– Make sure kids can be involved as much as possible. Evenly distribute chores.
- Be sure to show gratitude to your partner for all that they do.
- Have a brief family meeting after dinner to assess what is working well. Talk about what improvements can be made.
- Make a plan for tomorrow: meals, and activities so you aren’t left in the lurch and feeling unproductive.
6. You don’t have to be stuck in your negative thoughts
Ezzat Moghazy, Psychotherapist
I am dedicating this work for the universe to live in peace and harmony. As a Doctor of Integrative Medicine and a Clinical Hypnotherapist trained to help people handling anxiety, stress, worries, and tension around relationships and responsibilities during coronavirus pandemic and any other natural disaster.
Here’s the advice on how to maintain relationships and your sanity!
- Even though you are isolated and stuck at home, it does not mean that you have to be isolated or stuck in your mind or your negative thoughts, the universe is teaching you something here.
- Repeat the story of gratefulness and appreciation in your mind.
- Hold your partner’s hand, look into their eyes, lovingly and gently squeeze to show them that you appreciate them and are thankful for having them in your life.
- Seeking professional help and asking for support ( you could go for Clinical Hypnotherapy) is essential for our mental and physical health and wellness, during such time.
- Get out of the state of fears, see yourself in the state of peace and calmness.
- The definition of FEAR, is “False Emotions Appearing Real”. Therefore, don’t allow these false emotions to take the best out of you.
- Don’t complain – don’t explain – Create a deeper sense of gratitude for whatever that you have and don’t have.
- Try having positive thoughts.
- Communicate with others through other mediums like phone calls or emails, FaceTime, Skype or whatever suits you the best.
- Medical research has shown that we have over 60,000 thoughts daily. Of these 60,000 thoughts, most are the same thoughts over and over. Furthermore, the practice of self-hypnosis, meditation, and silence will help create a gap between these roaming thoughts allowing yourself to be connected, centered, and balanced.
- Connect with nature.
- Keep yourself away from unhealthy food; sugar, carbs, alcohol, and smoking. Medical research has shown that eating sugar diminishes your immune system by 45%.
- Reflect on yourself and create a gratefulness and appreciation mindset.
- Experience kindness with your partner and family.
- Foresee a beautiful and bright future for yourself.
- “I have a better relationship now than ever before. I have better control over my responsibilities now than ever before”, say it and write it every day as your new mantra or affirmation, it will become your new reality.
- See the positives! People are donating to their favorite causes and showing gratitude in ways that have since diminished.
- Do things that you’ve been postponing or didn’t have the time for.
- Have you ever tried Telehealth / Telemedicine? This form of medicine is flourishing now more than ever before.
A final word on surviving in the times of Corona
“Life is what we feel, not what we see.”
Please share this with the world, because when you share it, it shows you care. While staying indoors, take care of yourself and others, as it will equip you with stronger coping skills, a greater sense of purpose and make your community stronger.
Even with the limited bandwidth of resources, energy, and access, try your best to look out for each other to help survive the spiraling anxiety from the Coronavirus threat.
Stop fearing the fear, keep calm, and carry on! This too shall pass.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.