Usually, we try to be around those we have relationships with as much as possible. However, that can be a challenge as the global pandemic has cut a lot of us off from those we love most. Parents can’t see their children, grandparents can’t hug their grandkids, and some couples are forced to quarantine apart.
Following social distancing guidelines and wearing masks can be hard. Still, it does keep everyone safe and slows the spread of the pandemic. However, humans are social beings and often crave physical connections while in isolation. Without contact with others, there is an increase in stress, anxiety, and worry about ourselves and our loved ones.
This can also be true if you are isolating with a friend, partner, family member, or roommate. Staying inside for long periods of time with another person can cause stress, irritability, and arguing. This can also have negative effects on your relationships.
With all of this seemingly bad news in terms of isolation and relationships, it seems that there isn’t much we can do. But we can!
One positive thing about the internet is that it can help us reach out to those we can’t be physically close to. Video chats, voice calls, and messaging apps can connect us to our loved ones. While it’s not the same as being together, seeing and hearing your loved ones can help with stress and bring a sense of comfort during isolation. Scheduling regular times to chat with your loved ones can go a long way to keeping your relationship active and healthy and can cut down on those lonely feelings.
Small Gestures of Love
When you can’t physically be with your loved ones, the little acts of love can often mean the most. Try sending handwriting notes, personal emails, or even care packages to your family, friends, or partner. This will help show them that you still care and think about them. It also is a great way to stay connected.
Give Each Other Space
Even if you are isolating with another person, it can still take a negative toll on your relationship. Spending too much time with someone can lead to arguments, irritability, and anxiety. The worst part is that you or your isolation partner might not even know that you are irritating each other. As such, be sure that you are giving each other space and time to yourselves to relax and think. The conversation may be a little awkward at first, but it is crucial to set boundaries and respect each other’s space.
Establish a Routine
With the loss of our normal day-to-day lives, it can be easy to get into a rut, which makes us feel stress and bad about ourselves. These feelings can spill into our relationships. Take time to create a new routine, ensure that you are eating right, get enough sleep and exercise, and give yourself plenty of time to work and relax. Sticking to a routine will help normalize your isolation and cause less stress for you and your relationships.
Self-care is always important, even more so now that we are in isolation. Self-care can relieve you of stress that might spill over into your long-distance relationships, and even those you have with someone you are isolating with. Try meditating or online yoga or exercise classes to help care for yourself and stay relaxed after a long day. When you make your routine for isolation, be sure that you schedule a time for self-care to ensure that you are taking care of the relationship you have with yourself.
Ask for Help
Isolating is never easy, so ask for help if you feel particularly rough and not like your usual self. Call family or friends to talk over your feelings and struggles. Talk to your partner if you feel like your relationship needs work while you are social distancing. If you feel like you might need professional help, reach out to your doctor or therapist. Many therapists and doctors are holding virtual appointments or have sessions over the phone. It can be hard asking for help, but sometimes you need an outside perspective to help your work through your feelings or issues you may have in your relationships.
These are just some of the things that you can do to handle relationship stress in isolation. Don’t forget that there are many different types of relationships: ones with family, ones with friends, ones with romantic partners, and even ones with ourselves. Don’t be afraid to be open about your relationships and your needs in each one.