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How to help your relationship survive a lockdown

Try these tips for supporting your relationship
Posted at 1:35 PM, Jun 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-10 15:49:17-04

Coronavirus-related anxiety is real and can cause serious damage to our partnerships. We're stuck inside our homes, forced to spend more time together than ever before. We're relying on a partner for almost all of our social support. It's a lot of change at once.

Relationship Coach Val Baldwin joined us with some tips to ease the strain.

First, she says take care of yourself. Nurturing your relationship has to start with nurturing yourself. Baldwin offers these tips:

• Allow yourself to feel your feelings. When we give ourselves permission to feel the full range of our emotions, and validate that what we`re feeling makes sense, emotions calm down much faster
• Move your body. The endorphin rush you get from exercise can be invaluable for managing stress, improving your mood and even boosting your immunity. If you can safely go outside while you exercise, that's even better.
• Seek other sources of connection. Reach out to friends and relatives, without your partner by your side.

Baldwin also recommends making a plan. Sit down with your partner to discuss everything that's on your plate, and make a plan for how you're going to handle it as a team. You may even want to have a brief weekly meeting every Sunday to go over the week ahead.

Be intentional about time spent together. You're probably spending more time together than ever before. As much as you love your partner, this can quickly lead to tension and frustration. Set some healthy boundaries:

• If you`re both working from home, carve out separate work spaces. If you can close a door between the two of you, that`s ideal.
• Try to give each other space during the day. If you can, limit your verbal communication. Try texting instead.
• It's not normal to need alone time. Be creative about how you can carve out that time. For example, maybe you can trade off taking the morning shift with the children so you give each other the chance to lie in bed alone for a few wonderful moments.
• Be creative with date nights. Sticking to (or starting) a date night tradition can bring some much-needed joy and anticipation into your relationship. Try visiting a museum online, reading a book to each other or cooking an elaborate meal together.

Practice appreciation and gratitude
Dealing with this pandemic is a challenge for everyone. None of us are perfect partners. Do your best and thank each other for being willing to make an effort. Tell your partner: 'I really appreciate all the work you've been doing. Thank you.' As challenging as everything is at this time, there`s also a lot to be grateful for. Try to share a few things you're grateful for every few days. The more gratitude you express, the more often you will find yourself noticing little moments to appreciate. And we could all use more of those now.

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