Tips to get through being house bound. During this period of social distancing, isolation, quarantine, etc. I’ve received many calls from couples who are experiencing very challenging times. Beside the normal things couples fight about, they now have additional stressors of uncertainty about the potentially life-threatening illness; Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it impacts their well being and livelihood. As a Marriage Counselor/Couples Counselor who is also housebound, I’m experiencing similar feelings. I’m impatient, irritable and sometimes unkind to my husband. I’m talking to couples (via online counseling) who need to express their thoughts and feelings so they can process (wrap their heads around) our Country’s crisis and what it’s doing to them.
Being confined to limited space together can be quite stressful as you may have trouble tolerating one another. In healthy relationships, the individual is number one priority. When the individual gets his/her needs met the relationship receives the benefit of it. Some of us grew up thinking if we take care of ourselves first we are selfish. On the contrary, taking care of oneself is appropriate to maintaining a sense of well being and managing any co-dependency.
Fortunately, there are some ways to help one another get through quarantine. Here’s what you can do to manage being house bound with your partner:
- Take some individual time to recharge (go to another room, spend time in your backyard or balcony, go for a walk, go for a drive, listen to music, dance, become physically fit, get some personal space)
- Help each other deal with feelings (reflective listening, show empathy, validation) – ex. “I’m hearing you say this is a scary time” “I can imagine you being scared” “it’s ok to be scared” – Just knowing that you’re listening can provide a big sense of relief for your partner.
- Healthy coping includes: meditation (even if its five minutes), yoga, breathing exercises, coloring, writing, reading, singing, dancing, aerobic exercise,
- Be mindful about being kind and respectful – I sometimes find myself telling my husband to get out of my way when we’re in the kitchen (not good; apologize sooner rather than later)
- Talk to friends via phone or online
- Make a Date Night (set up a cool place to have coffee or drinks while listening to music) – Friday nights I dim the lights in my master bedroom, put on some spa music and talk about when we started becoming interested in each other.
- Ask Date Night questions to reconnect
- Use this time as an opportunity to enhance or repair your relationship – grow closer together
- Look at this with another perspective – One of the best ways to get through a stressful situation is to imagine yourself talking about it in one year or even five years into the future. It can help you look at the present with a slightly different perspective
- Make an online counseling appointment individually or conjointly to get that perspecti