The Social Distancing and Family Dynamics Study
If you have a school-aged child (5-18) living in your home, you could participate in a new study!
This is a stressful time for everyone, and that stress can quickly sour our moods before we even realize it. Getting snappy and cranky with each other will only add to the stress of this crisis and worsen both of your moods. Now more than ever, a little kindness can make a world of difference in our day to day lives. So, if you find yourself getting irritated or cranky, be proactive. Take a walk, take a couple minutes to stretch, or take a moment to listen to a favorite song. Do something to help shift your mood, so that instead of just snapping at the people around you, you can be patient and kind. Choose to be a kind and loving partner in the midst of this crisis.
Although one or both of you might still be working and you may have other responsibilities (like parenting), try to make some time to have fun with each other. You could play a board or card game, go on a youtube/tik tok/instagram scavenger hunt, do a puzzle together, start a fun project, or just watch funny videos together. Humor has a miraculous way of lightening our hearts and lifting our spirits, so anything you can do to share some laughs with each other will make a huge difference.
SURPRISE EACH OTHER
This might sound hard to do when you and your partner are confined to the same space, but get creative. Challenge yourself to think of one thing you could do for your partner to make his/her day a little nicer. This could be as simple as making your partner one of his/her favorite snacks, or hiding little post-it notes around with loving messages for him/her to find. If you have the time, it could also be a bit more elaborate, like preparing a mini treasure hunt, making him/her a small gift, or doing one of his/her least favorite chores. Showing your partner that you love him/her will not only make him feel better but will also help pull you out of your own worries and make you feel better too.
Try to take a few evenings and make them special each week. You could order food online and then eat it on nice dishes at the dining room table by candlelight. If you have a fireplace, you could light a fire and then sit by it together enjoying its ambiance as you chat, drink some wine, have cocktails, enjoy a snack, or watch a scary movie. You could even go a bit old-school and pull out board games that you loved as kids and rediscover them together as a couple. If you have the time, you could even challenge yourselves to make the most fantastic and elaborate pillow-cushion-sheet forts of your lives. Get creative!
No matter how strained or stressed we might be during this crisis, there are always things we can find to be grateful for in our lives. Take some time each day to look for things you are grateful to have in your life and then allow yourself a moment to truly cherish just how special and amazing those things are. This list could include small things like a favorite cup or beautiful tree outside your window but it also could include loving pets, dear friends and family, your partner, and more broadly the people who have truly touched your heart and your life. Take some moments to truly count and savor those blessings.
SHARE YOUR GRATITUDE
Maintaining a grateful attitude can transform your outlook and your mood each and every day. However, gratitude is most powerful in ou lives when we take the time to express and share our gratitude with the people closest to us. Let the people you love know just how much they mean to you with words, with a text, in a dm, or in a social media post. Tell your partner how amazing he or she is and what you love most about him/her.
BE AN AWESOME COWORKER
If one or both of you is now working from home, that can bring up a new set of challenges. Most of us have had an annoying coworker at some point in our lives, and we know how difficult people like that can make it to get work done. Strive not to be that person for your partner now that you are effectively coworkers. In order to do that, you will need to talk to each other and find out what an ideal home work environment would be for each of you. Try to coordinate who will be working where in your home, how quiet various parts of your home need to be, and what each of you needs to get done each day. Also be sure to plan coffee breaks or water-cooler breaks with each other during your workday! How else are you going to gossip about your bosses, coworkers, friends, or family?
GIVE EACH OTHER SPACE
Most of us are used to having some down time each day, time by ourselves to unwind and relax. This could be as simple as the time spent traveling to and from work. However, in the context of this pandemic, most of us have lost that alone-time and may just now be discovering how important it really was for our daily wellbeing. So, even if you are confined to a small space, schedule some time for each of you to have that alone time, whether it is a long bath, reading a book, listening to music on headphones, meditating, or taking a quick nap. By giving each other that time alone, the time you spend together will be more enjoyable.