Couples & Covid Stress
We’re working with a lot of couples right now helping them to get through the stress that Covid is causing.
I asked Carol Metcalfe, Registered Social Worker on our team to offer some guidance for couples who are having a rough go of things. You’ll find Carol’s suggestions below.
Tips to Help Couples Cope During The Pandemic
We have been dealing Covid and the pandemic for months now. Life has become a continuous routine of socially distanced interactions, virtual living and changing guidelines on how to navigate life on a daily basis. For most of us, this is becoming stressful and often overwhelming. For couples, it is an emotional roller coaster that can create seemingly unmanageable relationship stress. We long for life to return to normal pre-pandemic comfort and routine.
Here are some tips to help you:
Firstly, it is important to acknowledge what is happening; this is an exceptional moment in time. A global pandemic creates an environment of uncertainty, stress, fear and a lack of control. Invariably, this heightens anxiety, negative emotions and stress which may culminate in picking fights, emotional reactivity, arguments and resentments. Complicating matters is the guilt and critical self-talk around how you may have dealt with the matter more effectively.
It is important to be aware of your thoughts and feelings that drive your behaviours. Feeling irritable and angry at your partner often triggers unflattering thoughts, judgements and criticisms. This pushes your partner away creating emotional distance and hurt that can jeopardize your relationship.
Compassion toward yourself and your partner
Acknowledge that you and your partner are trying to cope under unusual circumstances; everyone is feeling stress. Naming this can help reduce emotional reactivity. Engaging in compassion towards your partner and yourself creates an opportunity for you to pull together instead of apart. Acknowledge that you are both struggling and give each other some space and some grace.
· If tension is getting the best of you…suggest taking a break and checking in with each other in 30 minutes
· Do your best to empathize with your partner about what they are going through
· Engage in some form of intentional self-care to try and work through your stress
· Do your best to be aware of your emotions and let your partner know you are feeling on edge
· Let your partner know you are angry or irritable, and are having difficulty coping
· If your partner is irritable with you, try not to take it personally
· Remember that you are both experiencing stress, fear, anxiety and may also be worrying about finances. Be sensitive and empathic to these worries and turn towards each other for support.
We thrive in positive relationships. In order to maintain healthy relationships infusing fun and playfulness into our daily routines is very important. Playfulness can be as simple as a silly morning greeting, or as elaborate as learning a new skill together. Get some fresh air together. Being outside soothes the stress response. Go for a walk together, listen to the birds, feel the sun, sit on the porch, gaze at the stars, feel a breeze and be kind to yourself and your partner.
Remember these are atypical times and the burden of pandemic life can burden even the strongest relationship. Together, build a realistic plan to get through these difficult times, overcome hardships and draw closer together.
Great advice. Thanks Carol!
If your relationship is struggling right now, don’t wait any longer. We can help you.
Read all about the Couples Work we do at Penney Murphy & Associates and book an appointment with one of our excellent Couples Counsellors. You’ll be glad you did.
Cheers to making relationships great,