Relationships – Happiness Tips for Surviving Social Isolation
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, my biggest fear at this time is not whether I will survive the Coronavirus but whether my relationship will survive social isolation!
We’re a few weeks into social isolation now. I’ve lost count of what week we’re in, but I think it’s week five or six. I’m pleasantly surprised and relieved that apart from the meltdown mentioned in my Dark Night of the Soul post, Mr Sexy Pants (MSP) and I have been getting on very well.
In this post I share my tips for helping your relationship survive social isolation. I have also included some tips for singletons.
Make a plan
As with most things in life it helps if you make a plan and set some ground rules. If you’re both working from home, who is going to work where? If you have children, who will look after them and take responsibility for their schooling? Will you continue to divide household jobs in the same way, or do you need to make adjustments?
Establish some ground rules
This plan may require some ground rules. When we first went into lockdown I said to MSP, “this is going to be hard. For our relationship to survive we need to be honest with each other and give each other some space”.
While it’s good to have a plan, it’s equally important to review and adjust that plan if it’s not working.
I think most people will agree that communication is one of the most important, if not the most important, aspect of a relationship. This especially true after an argument or incident. I recommend waiting until you’ve calmed down before you try and talk things though. After the incident with MSP, hereafter to be known as Park Gate, MSP and I had an honest and frank discussion about what happened and how we felt about it. With tears pouring down my cheeks, I told him how ashamed I felt. He pulled me into his arms and kissed the top of my head.
You could also plan some fun activities such as board games or going for a walk together to relieve the boredom. We go for a walk in the park every day in our lunch hour. At the weekends we go further afield to the estuary, out in the countryside or on the beach. We’re planning to go for a picnic on my birthday. Or at least that’s what I’m hoping MSP has up his sleeve (apart from a ring). I’ve dropped enough hints.
Even though you’re probably at home together every evening, set aside at least one night a week to do something a little bit different. Cook a special dinner or get a takeaway. Watch a film. We’ve had a couple of BBQs where MSP cooked Rib Eye Steak, jacket potatoes and salad, coupled with a nice bottle of red wine.
When you’re with someone 24 hours a day it’s easy to become irritable and snappy. This is one of my patterns. It goes without saying that it’s important to be kind and patient, although sometimes it’s easier said than done. If one of you does slip up, be quick to forgive yourself and each other. I have found that recently I’ve been much more easygoing and pleasant overall. I attribute that to my increased spiritual practices and self-care. I feel more Zen. I’ve been chanting and / or meditating every day for the past 28 days. I often set the intention of invoking my Buddha nature (wisdom, courage, compassion, joy and vitality), being self-aware and taking my time before reacting. I think this is probably the biggest key to the survival of our relationship. It also helps me to feel centered, grounded and serene.
Once a week we aim to have an evening to ourselves. MSP plays poker and I have a silent retreat. I turn off the phone, computer and TV, have a bath with essential oils, read, meditate, do some colouring, and / or read my angel cards.
If you’re single
I appreciate that if you’re single this is probably a particularly hard time for you. I know I would have found it hard when I was single. Now I am almost envious of anyone who is alone at this time. From what I’ve seen and experienced, one of the biggest keys to Happiness is connecting with ourselves on a deep level and social isolation provides the perfect opportunity to do that. I would highly recommend having a silent retreat at least once a week. If you can maintain it for an entire weekend, then so much the better. Being alone and disconnecting is scary. The first time I did a silent retreat I was distraught. I spend the first hour sobbing my heart out. I went on to have a deeply cathartic experience. I believe this is one of the most powerful ways we can heal ourselves.
I hope you found these tips helpful. What steps are you taking to ensure your relationship survives social isolation? Share your experience in the Happiness Club Facebook group.
Thank you for reading my post. I hope you found it useful. If you enjoy my blog posts, you may wish to subscribe to receive a regular dose of Happiness. Also, if you appreciate reading my posts and feel guided to do so, please share them with others and / or make a donation.