As Texas continues to shelter in place, you might find yourself spending much more time than usual with other people, whether it’s your partner, kids, family, or roommates. Navigating this unprecedented time with loved ones can be difficult, but it might actually help you build stronger relationships in the long run. Here’s how you can work through the many tensions of togetherness.
Schedule Some Alone Time
You were probably used to having time apart from your personal relationships when you went to work, school, or ran errands, but these opportunities for alone time are now much harder to come by. Being in close proximity all the time might leave you feeling frustrated.
At least once a week, schedule time to do something you enjoy on your own. If you have enough space, consider physically separating yourself, but if you’re in an apartment, use this time to pursue one of your interests. Put on some headphones and focus on yourself.
Focus on Healthy Communication
It can be easy to get frustrated during this unprecedented time. If tensions begin to run high between you and a loved one, ask to remove yourself from the situation for a minute so you can calm down and return to the discussion with a more productive mindset.
“While no one is saying panic is abnormal, there is a difference between handling these uncertainties in a panicked way and an appropriate, calm way,” said Dr. Asim Shah, psychiatrist at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center.
After calming down, be sure to state your feelings calmly and ask for theirs as well. Gaining a better understanding of each other can help you overcome difficulties without anybody getting hurt.
Express Gratitude Often
While it may seem odd to pencil “gratitude time” into your calendar, it can work wonders for your relationships. Take some time to remind your loved ones of certain qualities they have that you’re grateful for, or thank them for doing stuff around the house, like cooking dinner, cleaning up, etc.
Maintain Positive Body Language
You can communicate just as much with a look as you can with words. Making an effort to maintain positive body language, such as smiling, standing tall, and avoiding crossing your arms, can make your loved ones feel more comfortable, and they might even begin to do the same in return.
If your situation starts to take a toll on your health and well-being, schedule a virtual visit with one of our primary care physicians at BSLMG.org/VirtualVisits. You can also call the 24/7 Statewide COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line at 833-986-1919.
The Atlantic | How Not to Tank Your Relationship in Quarantine
Psychology Today | Steps for Healthy Relationships During Crisis and Quarantine
BBC | How to maintain relationships in self-isolation
Psychology Today | 7 Ways to Protect Live-In Relationships During Isolation