Let’s be honest about it guys: “Quarantined together” sounds like a movie title. However, for 1/3 of the world’s population, this is a reality.
Many of us are experiencing a severe change in our lifestyle like restricted movements, anxiety, financial difficulties or … “the longest time we’ve ever spent with our partners”, yikes! Have you ever complained about not spending enough time together? Well, now you have plenty of it.
There’s great news though. I have the ultimate ‘get out of jail free card’ that will exonerate you from whatever situation may arise while you are holed up together. It is called COMMUNICATION. It is the level of your communication skills that will help you during the days of being quarantined together.
Communicating in a clear and confident way is truly an art in itself, and it takes a lot to master it completely. However, in a situation like this where you will both be in the same space all the time, it has never been more important to speak to your partner openly and clearly.
This is the perfect opportunity for couples to work on their communication skills. It will benefit your relationship in the long run but particularly will help you both get through the next few months, when quarantined together.
A lack of communication in a time like this can be very detrimental to any relationship.
There was a funny meme circulating the internet asking couples this question: HOW WILL YOU END UP AFTER THIS IS OVER?
I personally would’ve loved the third option because I don’t plan to end up with either of the two, after being quarantined together with David.
These of course are two extreme options, but the subtle question here is: When this is over, will you end up weaker or stronger together?
Here are some tips that have helped David and I as a couple as we continue to adjust to our current reality. Bear in mind that all the tips mentioned below are nothing without COMMUNICATION.
Respect each other’s time alone
The schools are closed now so obviously this is more challenging for parents. The reality, in addition, is that most parents are still required to ‘work from home’ (wfh). The opportunity to effectively wfh is your time alone, and your partner should respect it.
David and I have a weekly rotating schedule of who takes the AM or PM shift. When he’s on the morning shift he does all the activities that morning with the kids, after we have breakfast together as a family. I’m able to go up to the office space and concentrate on work – no interruptions! And vice versa. We would meet again for lunch together, and afterwards, put the kids down for an afternoon nap. I usually will do a bit more work until the kids wake up from their nap, then my afternoon shift starts and I engage with them fully.
Enjoy your silence
It’s important to talk but sometimes it’s also nice just to have a cup of tea and be quiet together. You know that silence you crave when you’ve finally put your ever-so-chatty toddlers to bed? YESSS, that one! The sanity that silence brings is underestimated.
Share domestic responsibilities
‘We should all be feminists’. There should be no gender-stereotyped domestic roles, especially not at a time like this. Share household responsibilities between yourselves +/- your children if they’re old enough. And step up for each other when one person needs it more.
Stay fit and active
This is crucial for our mental health as much as for our physical health. Yoga, meditation, pilates are examples of other practices that will be beneficial for your mental health. This will also help minimise conflicts at home. Speaking of conflicts…
Do not let the sun go down on your anger
This particular skill is GOLD and is a great asset for any relationship to possess. It is my relationship motto. It means that no matter what, we will resolve any lingering issues before we go to bed. As everyone is simultaneously adjusting to a new lifestyle, it will be a lot easier for conflicts to arise. You should ideally talk through conflicts that occur on that day, so you can wake up fresh and ready to tackle another day.
Remember the little gestures
Little acts of kindness go a long way, especially now while we are quarantined together. Be intentional about doing something nice for your partner. This could be preparing a hot bubble bath, cooking a favourite meal, or offering a lie in if you have young kids. It’ll help make all this a little bearable.
Sit down together and talk about future exciting plans. What have you always wanted to do as individuals or as a family? Write it down. Look towards the future and feel inspired.
Remember that this is a challenging time for everyone and it’s OK to feel anxious. But you owe it to yourself, your partner and your family, to contribute positively to this transition that we are all experiencing.