Let’s be honest, almost anyone will get on your nerves when you’re with them 24/7. Even the cat and dog will start to irritate you. Relationships are tricky in the best of times, but they become especially difficult when you throw in a life-threatening pandemic, stay-at-home orders, and possibly unemployment. Even if you’re lucky enough to still have a job, it’s not unusual to feel a bit angry at the world right now and take it out on the people who are closest to you. So, how do you get through this pandemic without heading for divorce court? Open Mind Health has four suggestions to help you and your partner cope with COVID.
Carve out some alone time each day
So, we know you can’t actually go many places right now, but you can still go for a walk, read a magazine or take a class online. The point is to carve out some enjoyable time just for yourself. And don’t use this time to do chores or catch up on bills — remember, it’s supposed to be relaxing! Make a deal with your partner and agree that every day at a certain time you get some alone time, and then you reciprocate the favor. You’ll be surprised at how much better you both feel when you have some uninterrupted time to just focus on something that you want to do.
Plan something fun for the future
Whether it’s traveling to see Grandma, a day trip to go hiking, or splurging on a fancy dinner, plan something that you can look forward to doing when “normal” life returns. You will likely find the planning process to be enjoyable as it gets your mind off your day-to-day problems.
Reconnect virtually with some old friends or family
Make a date to eat dinner together or watch a movie virtually or just have a long, meaningful conversation. You will be surprised at how broadening your circle will help take the pressure off of you and the person(s) that you live with day to day.
Find an opportunity to use some of your extra time to give back. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities that you can do from the safety of your own home. Again, doing something for others will get you out of your own head a little bit and out of the hair of your partner.
It’s important to remember that COVID-19 hasn’t been easy for anyone, so you’re not alone if you feel sad, stressed, anxious, depressed, or all of the above. An important thing is to find and incorporate coping techniques, including to distract yourself from the situation. Whether you do that by taking an online class, planning a new adventure, talking with an old friend, or volunteering, find a way to focus on something less stressful and more positive. However, if it gets to be too much to handle on your own, please know that there are professionals that can help. If you or someone you know is struggling, contact us at Open Mind Health.