By Kathleen A. Matchunis, B.A., M.S., Certified Professional Coach
President of Connecting, Inc.
So, you are on lockdown, with your spouse, partner, and possibly kids, your favorite people! This sounds like an idyllic situation, right? No, not so much! With the arrival of the pandemic, everything happened so suddenly. We all had to adapt and pivot until we were dizzy. Most of us are still pivoting.
These people with whom we are quarantining are the nearest and dearest to us but they can be very annoying. This is not a natural way to live in our culture. So, what is a family to do?
• First of all, if you and your partner are both trying to work from home, try to work in different rooms or areas of the house. You need to create space in order to not feel stifled. If you talk to your partner about their work, avoid cross-examining them. It’s fine to express interest, but do not breathe down your partner’s neck because your “interest” could be interpreted as micromanaging and will be resented. Avoid asking “badgering questions” which are questions where you ask things like, “Why are you cutting up the onion like that?” Why can you never pick up your clothes?” these types of questions lead to arguments because it puts the other person on the defensive.
• If you take a break with your partner, try to avoid making it task-oriented. If you can exercise outside, it will be beneficial for both your physical and mental health.
• Everyone needs a little down time, alone. Divide responsibilities, and allow each other time for relaxation or hobbies. It will enrich the relationship to have some separate leisure time. Enjoy some self-care such as meditation or a bath and make sure that your partner has the opportunity to recharge, as well. Don’t keep score on who does what around the house. Avoid picking on each other. Each person’s goal should be to make life easier for their partner.
• You need to create a list of what you love about your partner and refer to it often because there are going to be days where you can’t remember anything on that list. Grant your partner a little grace, knowing that nobody is at their best during a global pandemic. Make sure you compliment your partner often in a sincere way. Remember that your partner is not really receiving any personal recognition from the outside world right now. Recognize your partner’s efforts by thanking them for things that they do for the good of the household or relationship.
• Focus on the positive! Don’t concentrate on the negative! If you focus on how your partner chews a sandwich or leaves sandals on the floor, it will make you miserable and keep you from noticing your partner’s good qualities.
• Another nice gesture is what I call is random acts of affection. Occasionally, when you pass your partner in the hall, give your spouse a little hug or kiss. It will put them in a positive frame of mind and make them feel appreciated and attractive.
• Create beautiful rituals. Make coffee or tea for your partner in the morning. Take turns making meals or if one person shops, the other one cooks. Better yet, get the kids involved, if they are old enough. If you play “restaurant” once a week, everyone can participate with decorations, setting the table, planning the meal, cooking the food, serving the meal, selecting music and the clean-up.
• Play games to keep things light. You will be showing your kids a great way to cope with stress, as well as taking turns, and being a good sport.
• Try not to watch too much news. If your kids are around, make sure that you are not watching adult news in front of them, if they are young. Funny TV shows and movies can brighten everyone’s spirits, though.
• Last but not least, although it is important to stay in the present and appreciate special moments with your spouse and family, there is nothing wrong with anticipating a future without the quarantine. This might be a great time to plan a trip or a weekend getaway, once it is safe to do so. Just think, if you do all the research now, you will be ready for your post-pandemic vacay! Get the whole family involved with choosing the location, the activities, and the budget. We all need to take a mental break from the pandemic and this is a great way to be prepared when we can travel again.
Here’s to growing and learning during the pandemic and preparing for a fun, non-pandemic future!!
Original Content by the author of “Positive Parenting- A Guide for Engaging and Connecting with Your Child” and Certified Life Coach, Kathleen A. Matchunis, website: www.connectinginc.net Email: [email protected] Tel. 954 294 9708