Being in lock-down the term ‘living together’ has been given a new meaning.
Staying at home, having every meal and spending 24 hours cooped up together has tested the relationship we have with loved ones on a whole new level.
There’s been no space to work, work out, spend time with others or even just be able to go on a shopping trip to spend time alone in your thoughts, away from each other.
Because even when you step out, the social distancing protocol everywhere and the view of people doing essentials shopping in masks and gloves and everything being sanitised can be daunting.
There’s no looking forward to events or planned trips together and if you’re living together with children then congratulations you have reached level 578: beyond insanity!
Our mood swings are in full throttle and more often then not at a complete different spectrum with those living with us.
One day you could wake up in the mood to spring clean but your loved one wants to do nothing but binge on their favourite show all day.
Or you could be in the mood to start your own British bake off challenge but they want to do a detox, clean-eating, no carbs diet.
Its hard at times and at other times it is really really hard.
You begin to question yourself, your sanity, your relationships, the purpose of life, the universe and everything in between.
And I’m here to let you know you are not alone, you are doing brilliantly and it really is okay (even if it doesn’t seem like it at times).
There’s a saying that you never really know someone until you live or travel with them, and having been stuck with your household for almost three months will not only push you to see the person you live with in a new light, but it will also make you discover things about yourself you never knew before.
Your level of tolerance will have reached it’s peak, as will your patience, perseverance, commitment and focus.
You will understand not only the differences and the similarities you both posses, but also how you both view the relationship you are in.
So how can you maintain a feasible relationship with the one you love being stuck with them 24 hours a day?
It really isn’t difficult but the commitment and following through can be challenging.
Ensuring that we keep to the simple steps we make can be harder than the changes or steps we need to take.
That is because the whole quarantine process is not easy, the unknown of what is yet to come, the uncertainty of current and our future situation both environmentally and financially can raise our anxiety overwhelmingly.
It can make us agitated, moody, sad, quiet or very expressively vocal.
But as with any circumstances we need to always be reminded that we are in full control of ourselves, because that is the only thing we can control.
So the first step we need to take is to do whatever we can to look after our well being, any form of social gathering has been stopped so any hobbies or daily rituals that we enjoy individually and that can be done at home need to be prioritised.
The most important thing is making sure you are looking after yourself first so that you can look after everything else.
The next step is to have both your schedules correlate with another, have a similar yet distinctive routines.
Wake up and sleep at similar if not the same times. Meals should also take place at the same time, but you can schedule certain meals away from each other and rest together but if you have children then I would suggest all meals together as a family.
Work outs should also be planned together but done separately if needed. I know many couples who work out together but in my home for example both our workouts are very different so they are done at the same time but in separate rooms.
Daily walks are good way to get fresh air and step out in a different setting, these can be done as a couple or family and different routes can be taken each time.
Having the same routine ensures that you are both on the same page, your daily habits run together, and you know that the you are both looking after yourself.
If one or both of you work from home then that can also dictate how your day will run, but after setting the timetable for these other chores around the house should be set but done individually.
You will both need to decide who will be responsible for what and once that is discussed and finalised you need to be responsible for your own duties.
Unless the other person only does what they want when they want (e.g. dishes done once a week instead of everyday), you cannot be dictating how they do it.
Some people like to get things done first in the morning, others like everything done in the evening so the house is ready for the next day, whatever the case we should be able to give each other the space to do things the way we want to.
As long as we are able to communicate and understand each other and come to an agreement, how its done should be up to the individual.
In your daily routine, certain time in the day should be set for self-care, if you have young children to look after then you will need to work around their supervision.
And this can be whatever makes you happy, what relaxes you and whats lets you feel like you have given yourself the attention and care you need.
Make sure that there is time allocated to contact friends and family members, this can you help stay connected to outside world as well as provide the escape you need in familiar territory, not to mention help you stay sane.
This can also be done at the same time so that you both have the time to connect and have certain news (or gossip) to share with your loved ones later.
And whenever things get too much, tensions run a bit too high, take the space you need. Go for a walk (in different directions) to take the time to cool down and gather your thoughts, so that when you come back home you can have a coherent conversation.
Always remember to be aware of maintain the healthy boundaries you have worked on.
Don’t let grudges carry on for too long, the tense environment by not speaking to each other can leave a heavy negative impact on everyone living there. No matter how it hurts your ego talk, talk and talk.
You will feel better, I promise you you will.
And if it seems like the issues are too much for you to resolve yourselves then book online therapy session either individually or as a couple.
There is no shame in asking for help, rather those that are honest with what they need are able to deal with difficulties better.
No relationship is easy, but if it is worth keeping then it is worth investing and working on.
Having access to clean water, food and a roof over our heads is a huge blessing that should never be over looked, especially at these times. And being able to stay connected with others from all corners of the world has played a huge role in keeping us all feeling together no matter how far we are apart.
We are able to see the role these miracles play in our life and what we should really be grateful for.
What is actually important rather than what we have given importance to but is of no benefit
Reminding ourselves of these mini miracles we have should allow us to view our relationship for what it is and how we should approach it in the way that benefits us in the best way possible.
Believe you are worth it, because I do!
Reflect. Love. Heal.
Brown Girl R.