2020 had a rough start.
Hell, it’s been a rough year. PERIOD.
You may or may not remember, 2020 started with talks about the potential of having war with Iran, and the following month Coronavirus hit the news. A crazy obsession of Tiger King started, and with Carol Baskin being a Florida resident, it was a very popular topic around us. After that, the lockdown began, and most of the world was deprived of seeing and spending time with loved ones and to have the daily routine they were used to. And as if Coronavirus wasn’t enough, we even temporarily had a threat of killer hornets.
I think it's safe to say that 2020 has brought many changes, but the most permanent change that keeps affecting our lives is the COVID-19 pandemic, which is causing strain in many people’s relationships.
Here are some of the common things relationships face when there is a high stress situation that is out of our control such as the current pandemic, but are similar when there is a recession or social turmoil:
- Financial Uncertainty: Whenever we face a world crisis, many couples will have to deal with job loss or income changes creating worry about their current and future finances and/or making ends meet.
- Being confined at home: Spending most time at home due to social distancing can leave one feeling bored and worried, and can trigger mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, which has an impact on how we relate to our significant other and children.
- Worried for loved one’s health: We are all worried about our parents, grandparents and other relatives. We are constantly wondering whether they are doing the right things to keep safe, especially those who are at a higher risk of getting infected.
- Lack of social support: With people spending the most time at home, needs that sometimes were met via friends, relatives, and other distractions outside of the house, puts a burden on the relationship. It’s a lot of change that gets channeled in the relationship and can exacerbate issues that were present in the relationship, but not considered critical in the past.
- If You’re pregnant, you might feel extra lonely: The arrival of a new baby tends to bring families together. It’s usually time for celebration and bonding. But with the pandemic, there’s a lot of fear and loneliness happening. The village needed to help with small children may not be accessible as it was pre-COVID. If you are a new “COVID mom”, check out my blog TIPS FOR PREGNANT OR NEW MOMS DURING COVID-19
As we continue to cope with the new changes happening globally, there are things you can do to keep your relationship healthy. Here are some of my recommendations:
- Take care of your worries and anxiety: Wellness activities such as eating healthy foods, good sleep, exercising, and meditation can help manage the anxiety and worries around the current stressors.
- Be understanding: Partners may perceive the current situation differently and this doesn’t imply that one of you is wrong. Partners should allow each other to express their thoughts and opinions. Consider each other’s opinions and agree on what will work best, and if needed reach to a compromise.
- Have fun together: Find fun activities you can do at home together such as exercising, video games, watching movies, cooking, or gardening. These shared activities will help you strengthen your bond while having fun.
- Do a project together: You can pick on tasks to do together around the house. This can include gardening or tending a kitchen garden, painting rooms, or rearranging your bedroom.
- Learn new things together: While in the confines of your home with your partner, nowadays, you can learn many things onlines. Enroll in online classes, learn arts, dancing, or how to practice yoga. The thrill of learning new things together will draw you even closer than before and you will connect at a deeper level.
- Understand your partner cannot give you everything: Reach out to people who will give you the additional support you require. Even during the crisis we are in, and despite the physical distance, we can stay connected with other people.
- Connect with a mental health professional if needed: If depression or anxiety is becoming overwhelming, or if your relationship is experiencing a high level of conflict or dissatisfaction, consider connecting with a therapist. There are many counselors offering online counseling at the moment.
- Stay in touch with friends and family: Being restricted from traveling to meet family and friends does not mean you can’t stay in touch with them. Use online platforms such as video calls as well as phone calls. Talking with other people and knowing how they are doing helps to worry less about them.
We are all living through difficult times, and relationships are experiencing significant challenges due to the current stressors and ever changing situations we have to adapt to. With the fear of the unknown, financial insecurity, the threat of death of loved ones due to sickness, couples are finding it hard to cope and connect. There is a need for couples to find ways of calming their worries and anxiety, collaborating with their partners, taking care of personal mental health, and being understanding. Following these guidelines does not guarantee a perfect relationship, but it will be a step forward into becoming a Power Couple through these challenging times!
Your therapy friend,
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SOFIA M. ROBIROSA
Sofia Robirosa is the owner of Infinite Therapeutic Services and is a Relationships & Parenting Expert. She offers individual, couples, and family counseling to individuals seeking to enhance their relationships. Her private practice is located in Plantation, FL. She attended Nova Southeastern University for both her Bachelor and Master Degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy and in Business Administration. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and a Leader in Active Parenting for children and teens, an evidenced based program. She is also a Certified Addictions Professional (CAP). She is a passionately committed therapist, who thoroughly takes pride and joy from her job. She enjoys working with a culturally diverse population and is bilingual in Spanish and English. She is a member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and an active volunteer of the Broward Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. She loves her family, which consists of her husband, daughter, and two dogs. Some of her interests outside of work include spending time outdoors, traveling, and dining.