Coping with Quarantine
The quarantine probably has you pulling your hair out about how to cope with your partner. Before quarantine, you probably thought your partner was the one person you’d choose to be on a deserted island with. Then quarantine happened, and now you’re rethinking that choice.
The COVID-19 pandemic turned our homes into that deserted island. We may not be surrounded by thousands of miles of ocean, but it can certainly feel like it—isolated and alone, trying to survive with the same person for days on end. This scenario can turn any loving situation into the Lord of the Flies.
The little things become reasons to go to battle. Are they chewing with their mouths open again? Why do they read books out loud to themselves? Why are their feet so smelly? How can anyone forget to put the cap on the toothpaste—all—the—time? Things can get to a fever pitch quickly. Pretty soon you’re painting your face, lighting your torches, and getting ready to vote them off the island.
People are anxious about the pandemic and the economy. On top of that, we’re having to adjust to being further from others, but much closer to the people within our homes.
The quarantine conditions can put even the most solid relationships to the test. Fortunately, there are things you can do to keep everyone on the island without losing your mind.
Make an Effort to Do Things You Both Enjoy
It might feel like a luxury, because the world outside seems to be in disarray. However, doing activities you both enjoy is a way of taking care of your mental health. It’s very tempting to read the news and catastrophize about the future, but by doing so it makes the present worse.
Instead of catastrophizing, concentrate on making the most of the present by doing fun activities. They may feel silly at first but getting the “feel good” chemicals in your brain going will help you be more tolerant of your partner. Activities like watching a movie at home, playing a board game, or even having a virtual “double date” with other couples can break the tension.
Allow for Role Changes in Your Relationship
The pandemic places people in roles that they would not have been in before. For instance, the breadwinner of the family may be the one who can telework and stay home with the kids. Someone who’s not typically caring for the children must now work and manage childcare. All while the other partner goes to work as an essential worker. Understanding and allowing for these changes can make partners more sympathetic to each other’s needs.
Take into Consideration that Everyone is Grieving. Be kind.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had personal costs for everyone. The losses have been great, even for children. The losses mean that we are all grieving together in our own ways. Accepting that this change is difficult for others, and that grief can show itself differently in each person, can allow you to be gentler with the people around you.
One way to reminisce about your losses together. Talk about what you used to enjoy together. Going to the theatre. Your favorite restaurant. The loss of someone you both cared for.
It’s difficult to vote someone off the island, after all, if you know they are grieving along with you.
Ask Each Other for Help and Be Grateful
We might assume our partner “knows” us and should already “understand what we need.” It would be great if that were true, and in better times it may be. But the pandemic has distracted people and changes the entire landscape. We need to make more effort to communicate our needs.
Genuinely asking for help in a calm manner lets the other person know what’s expected. And when they perform the task, be grateful. Even if the task wasn’t performed exactly to your liking. If the laundry wasn’t folded as precisely as you prefer, but it was folded—say thank you and leave it at that. Now is not the time to worry about the small things.
Set an Appointment for Arguments
If you’re angry that your partner chews with their mouth open at every meal, set an appointment for later to discuss it later. Wait for at least an hour, but not longer than a day.
By delaying arguments, you diffuse the situation and hopefully find a less combative point of view. Because there’s nowhere to go, and emotions are high, it’s vital to try your best to cope with your partner during COVID quarantine. Sometimes, when you eventually find yourself at your “appointment,” you’ll find the whole event funny in hindsight.
Get Professional Help
Although you’re both in your home, it doesn’t mean you can’t go to counseling. Many therapists are performing telehealth counseling, and are available through video, phone, or even texts. If you’d prefer, individual counseling sessions are also available.
Some therapists are also certified hypnotists —or can refer to one—who can work with you in controlling your anger and frustrations. Many individuals now use hypnotherapy to address feelings such as anger, anxiety, and trauma. Eli Bliliuos from the NYC Hypnosis Center says, “Because hypnosis taps into the unconscious mind, it is an excellent tool for managing stress and anxiety”. To learn more about hypnosis to improve relationships, click here.
Challenging situations can fray your nerves and cause blow ups, but often bring people together when they’re over. It’s vital to remember that there’s more than just you involved in this event. Looking at things from the other person’s perspective, and realizing they’re going through the same emotions, can make you a much more patient person.
Learning to cope with your partner during COVID-19 takes a little patience and some creativity, but it’s better than voting them off the island. We need all the help that we can at this time.