We are now a couple of weeks into living in lockdown. There’s a lot to take in as we adjust to this new way of living and working. Combine this with increased worry and anxiety, it’s hardly surprising that stress levels are rising.
In the second of a series of articles designed to help people get through this time, we're looking at how couples can cope – together.
OnePlusOne Co-Director, Verity Glasgow said:
“Managing stressful situations is part of sharing a home and caring for one another. That’s easier if one partner is going through a tough time, and the other provides support. At the moment, it’s likely that both will be feeling equally stressed. It can be hard to cope with your own stress and be responsive and supportive to your partner.”
“Being able to explain what’s worrying you, and being able to really listen to your partner’s concerns are essential to keeping communication going. Neither of you may be able to change the situation, but you will be able to share the feelings of being overwhelmed and work out how to cope – as a couple.”
“With lockdown and social distancing all our support networks are limited. OnePlusOne is sharing tips on how to cope – together. These tips come from research on couples who have found successful ways to get through a variety of stressful times.”
When each of you can explain your worries clearly, and listen calmly to one another, both of you will feel understood, listened to and supported.
Acknowledging worries and fears before jumping in with a practical solution demonstrates that you are trying to understand what they are going through. By being able to express what’s really going on for them, both partners stand a better chance of remaining connected through tough times.
Top tips for coping together:
- Find time to explain what’s going on for each of you and really listen to what is being said. Tell each other how you are feeling, what your concerns are and what you’d like to be different. Give the conversation your full attention, away from distractions, so that you can really connect.
- Offer emotional support. Showing your partner that you have understood them and how they are feeling can go a long way towards helping them to cope better.
- Offer practical support, as well as emotional support. Sometimes a practical solution to a problem is what’s needed. So, if your partner is struggling with home-schooling your children, offer to take on some of this yourself, giving them the break they need.
- Share chores and downtime. Even little things you do together can help you feel connected as a couple. From washing up, to doing a jigsaw or watching a box set, doing things together can ease stress and the isolation of coping alone.
- Remember you’re in this together . Having a supportive relationship will help you to feel better in general. Getting through difficult times together, can strengthen your relationship for the long term.
The full article on how couples can cope together, along with access to a free short course on how to cope with stress, is available now at https://click.clickrelationships.org/content/all-issues/how-couples-can-cope-together/