The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of people’s lives. It’s not limited to working or studying from home, or not being able to visit family and friends; It’s also about being in constant stress, bordering on panic mode, affecting relationships with those you love.
How Isolation has Affected Relationships
Months of lockdowns and social distancing restrictions have taken their toll on many, and psychology experts say that the world will feel the pandemic’s emotional and mental effects for many years to come. This isn’t limited to an individual level, either—isolating together for many consecutive months has drastically changed how couples and families interact.
With so many things going on in the world and how difficult it can be to get by day-by-day, it is exhausting to even think about maintaining healthy relationships. When you’re operating on survival mode, it seems impossible to look beyond your basic needs.
However, the truth is that what you do, how you feel, and how you react to your environment directly affects those around you. This is even more impactful to your partner and family. Healthy personal relationships shouldn’t be high-maintenance, but they do need constant, conscious work.
Communication as the Foundation of a Healthy Relationship
People have reacted to the pandemic in different ways, and as the months rolled on, behaviours and mindsets continuously evolved. It has been an extended period of anxiety for millions of people all over the world, affecting everyone’s lives for the worse. For this reason, being mired in such difficulties will naturally cause strain within your relationships.
Just because both parties are feeling generalised anxiety and stress, it doesn’t mean that the relationship should be left to break down or stagnate. In fact, it’s more important than ever to be conscious about how you interact with who you’re isolated with.
Even without a worldwide pandemic, communication has always been the key to healthy relationships. Those in long-term partnerships learn how to speak so their partner will listen and know how to respond to their intentions. It goes beyond the words you say in the middle of a conversation—it’s the mannerisms, habits, and actions that go along with your words. Developing this shorthand with your partner takes a lot of time, effort, and consistent recalibration.
If you’re stuck at home together in the midst of COVID-19, you may feel like you are communicating way too much because you’re always in each other’s space. On the other hand, talking every day doesn’t necessarily mean you are communicating well. Make a conscious effort to really listen to what the other is saying. Learn to check in with each other’s needs and wants. Through this, your relationship will continue to flourish as long as you maintain healthy lines of communication.
Giving Each Other Space
COVID-19 has made it very difficult for many people to spend time alone. Everyone needs a little bit of solitude for their psychological well-being, whether it’s to enjoy their hobbies, watch their favourite show, or just have quiet time to reflect.
If you have very limited space in your home, it’s essential to take some time away from your partner to nurture your individual needs. Doing things separately establishes a healthy boundary and enhances your emotional connection. Be proactive in finding ways to spend some time apart, so you aren’t bogged down by the emotional toll of constant togetherness.
COVID-19 has made it very difficult to manage relationships, especially with those that you are isolated with. It can be daunting to think of exerting emotional effort in maintaining healthy relationships when you are already struggling, but it’s an effort worth investing in. Paying attention to your needs means taking care of your relationship, and vice versa.
Healthy relationships take a lot of work, whether or not there’s a pandemic. Thankfully, you don’t have to go through it alone. Counsellors at Halcyon Counselling specialise in helping individuals, couples, and families build meaningful relationships. We offer no-obligation initial consultations for every new client. Book a video, phone, or in-person appointment with one of our registered counsellors today.