Locked down with your partner, kids, parents or just self isolating? I feel you! I seriously do. It’s been months and we all are going through a rough time. Most of us are working from home and some of us are ‘working for home’. While most of us are frustrated being at home with our Family, many crave to visit their homes and to be with theirs. What an irony? I understand, spending too much of time with the same person is little too much but, why ain’t we thankful for what we have? I am probably stressing on being grateful a lot many times. being grateful is what I asked for in my previous blogs as well. Because, I have been reading a lot, on how couples are unable to stand each other 24/7. How parents find it chaotic with their kids around and how desperately they want to go out. But I have also been hearing a lot on, people suffering for not being able to reach home, or not have enough food or job etc. This breaks my heart.
I totally get the feeling of not being able to go out but, one thing keeps hitting my brain, that how would things change if we are out with the same person, with whom we are not willing to stay at home? Lets say, If I want to see a place and admire it’s beauty, why would I need a person along? And if I need a person beside me always, how does it matter what place it is? I agree, shelter in place is no easy job because of work -from- home situation and kids not going to school, parents talking too much etc etc.. It is difficult to manage meals, work and children’s online classes and what not. But at the end of the day we are doing it. We are managing it somehow. I know it sounds preachy, but trust me it is all in our head that exhausting us.
While we are busy complaining about living with parents during lock down or too tired to see our partners and kids 24/7, there are people who are not able to reach their homes due to lock down in various countries. Health care workers do not go to their homes to protect lives of their patients, leaving behind their own children and families.
We all are ready to spend time on our mobile phones chatting with a friend for hours but not ready to talk to the person sitting on the couch right in front. It seems more convenient to handover an iPad or switch on the television for the toddlers, instead of playing with them, paint with them or simply sing for them. Why do we seek happiness outside, when we get it from the simplest of things.
We all can manage our relationships whilst in lock down/shelter-in-place. Be it mommy-children relationship, husband- wife, parents-kids living together or long distance. A little change in your attitude can make a difference. Relationships take effort and time, Pandemic or not. But when we are stuck in a situation like this, even a tiniest crack starts to show. Things start to seem like upside down. Perhaps, we start to observe our partner, or parents or whosoever we are living with. a little closely. Suddenly, the faults which were never observed or bothersome, starts pricking us. Or perhaps our priorities change as per the situation.
But where there are problems, there is solution.
Trying out some in-home activities can certainly help. Let us look at the techniques that might work for us in managing our relationship whilst in pandemic:
Movie Nights: If you are with your partner, make sure you watch a movie together at least once a week. It would be great if it is a Rom-com or plain romantic depending on preference. An action movie is a strict no-no to watch together(watch it during Me time ). Watching a good movie together will not only bring smiles to your faces, it will also help in refreshing your mood and divert you from work stress. If you are with your parents, arrange a movie night (necessarily comedy), and watch it with them. Making them laugh and giggling along will be special for them and refreshing for you. With kids, watch a good animated movie as per your child’s preference and keep some snacks along to call it a night. The Idea behind movie night is to spend time together, Make sure there are no cell phones and other distractions included.
Communicate: Communication is the key. Sometimes we are so full of ego that we don’t feel the need to talk. Or perhaps under an impression, that the other person won’t listen. But communicating effectively is worth a try. If nothing works, simple chat over evening tea asking about each others’ work or probably planning about the movie night at home or talking about something that’s bothering you since a long time. Talking helps. Communicate with your children to make them feel that you are available for them. For all the attention they need, a simple conversation with the little ones can make their day.
Sharing work load: Household chores can be tiresome along with office work. Dividing duties and sharing the load can bring peace and harmony in home. Cooking duties, dishes duty, cleaning the house and managing kids. everything can be done with ease, if equally shared. If the other one does not know cooking, this is the time to experiment and there should be no judgement involved while learning . And if anyone does not want to cook at all, well, then he/she should be available for other duties.
Me time : Me time is also an important aspect here. With so much going around, one needs a break for sure. Spending time with oneself is necessary to calm the brain and relax. Go for a walk alone, or just read in quiet room or anything of your preference that can relax your body mind and soul.
Do Yoga together: This really is a need of the hour. We all should indulge in some kind of exercise, with all the baking sessions going around. It will be great if anyone in your household knows yoga and can teach other members. However, if everyone is unaware of the poses and techniques, take advantage of online courses (both free and paid) available. Signup for the course together and stick to the routine.
Dance together: Don’t know Dancing? Do not worry! No one is watching you. Let the music play! Hop, jump, Strike a pose, shake that booty, how ever you like. And if you are a dancer, this is the time, don’t stop, just dance and forget all the worries.
Read : If you are into reading and your partner/ parents too, read the same book and discuss. It can be interactive or you can create little quiz session and ask each other questions about what you’ve read. With kids you can do the same. Don’t forget to be patient.
Date nights: Now that you are not going out for dinner at a fancy restaurants, why not order food and create a date night ambiance at home. Light up the candles, good music, some wine, and enjoy the dinner together. People living with parents or kids, can absolutely make this night as family night and eat together with same plan.
Learn from each other: Every one of us is blessed with one or more unique talents. Ask for me, I am good in playing musical instrument and my partner is good at Chess. Likewise, we all have some thing or the other to teach each other. When weekends turn boring, take out some time to learn a skill from your partner or teach your partner.
Call or text: Staying connected with friends and family is a good idea. Couples in long distance relationship are suffering to the core. People away from family are in need of a glimpse of their family. With so much of constraints, we can still try to be hopeful and remain connected with our loved ones. Text your friend, partner or your mother whenever wave of fear arise in your mind. Video call these days is a life saver. I remember back in time when technology was not this advanced. Today it is easier to video call in a jiffy and see our loved ones overseas.(PS: I remember, when I was a child, how my relatives, who went abroad call for only few minutes, as calling abroad was a thing and was so expensive)
Support each other emotionally: Different people have different emotions. Validating and accepting each others’ emotions should of prime importance. People living together can cope differently to same situation. One might be good at managing stress and the other, too anxious. Rather than being insensitive about the feelings of the other person, one must try to see things with empathy.
News later: Most of us have been reading/hearing news more than ever. Every conference, every stats, every study and contradictory statements and then discussing it for hours, develops rage and builds up anxiety. Being ignorant is not what is asked for, here. However, if too much information is taking a toll on you or your health, better line it up for tomorrow.
These Tips are worth trying to refrain from getting stressed and avoid monotonous schedule. If nothing seems to work, a good meditation will definitely help. Take out time for yourself and for your well being. You totally deserve it.
With all the tips and tricks mentioned, the positive side shouldn’t go unnoticed. There exits couples, who enjoy being locked down together, cook together, enjoy each other’s company despite of silly arguments and little fights and then making up. Ofcourse they are sensitive towards the ongoing conditions, but choose to handle it with positive attitude and no complaints. They are natural.