At this point in the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that many people are going to be locked inside their homes, and under a myriad of different stressors, for who knows how long.
And let’s be honest. It can be a difficult task to be locked inside with your entire family 24/7 and not begin to turn on each other. That’s just human nature. During highly stressful times, our patience can grow thin, and our decision-making can be affected, especially in a time of so many unknowns.
But don’t fear! That crazy way you’re feeling is a normal psychological and physiological response to a situation such as this. That being said, learning how to healthily cope with stress is essential. And just as important is how you handle this adversity as a couple.
This is the time to support one another as a team, and that may look like exercising those patience muscles A LOT and building up some healthy boundaries. So to help, here are 5 easy ways you and your partner can manage stress in a healthy and productive way (plus one bonus way).
1. Create a Plan
One way to help manage stress is to be proactive and communicate. Sometimes the “fear of the unknown” can create an unforeseen amount of stress and anxiety that causes even the strongest of knees to buckle. Creating a short term plan together and loosely mapping out a future strategy can help create some clarity and relieve some of those anxious thoughts. This may even look like a daily routine and creating healthy habits instead of a short term plan, and that is perfectly fine.
Establishing some sort of schedule for the home will help you, your partner, and your family pull through that initial brain fog, creative funk, and any other mental hurdle that this new “normal” may bring about.
So to recap: make a to-do list, create a daily ritual, build a weekly schedule, dream big dreams, plan a regularly scheduled date night, and create a future strategy together. Now is the time to let that positivity (and that inner lover of spreadsheets) carry you through this season of newness.
2. Engage in Team Building Activities
While under stress, it can be easy to point fingers and turn against each other, but remember you are a TEAM, and you both will get through this together.
Now is the perfect time to strengthen your teamwork skills, whether that means diving into a new co-op board game or downloading some digital team-building exercises.
Think back to when you both first started dating. Were there any games or activities indoors that you both greatly enjoyed? Try to incorporate some fun and engaging “game hours” to become better “teammates” in these times of need. Sometimes all you need is a little fun and games to remember that this is all short term and that you two are still the same people you both fell in love with in.
3. Invest in Date Night
Sometimes when we get anxious, we forget to invest in our relationships, primarily our once cherished and regular date nights. Actively committing to date night will offer some much needed time to reconnect and strengthen your relationship.
Date night may not look like what it did a few months ago, but there are still creative and romantic ideas that you can pull off with even the tightest of budgets. The list is endless; host a candle-lit dinner for your partner, sign up for a date night box subscription, have a dance party, or take a virtual trip to a famous museum, theme park, or zoo!
4. Don’t Forget to Laugh
Laughter can have a substantial impact on our moods and is very important to building a bond with your partner. Yes, under a lot of stress, it can be hard to find those laughing moments, but taking some time to find your joy can go a long way in helping to alleviate stress.
This may look like a “trip to the movies,” setting up the living room like a movie theater, popping all the popcorn, grabbing your favorite candies, and turning on both your favorite comedies back-to-back.
Or maybe get goofy, put on some karaoke, reminisce on both your favorite dating memories, practice your favorite dad jokes on each other, and try not to laugh. The first person to laugh gets tickled!
Whatever it is, try and find some joy together. Even in times of high stress, taking a few moments to laugh can be a great way to reconnect with each other.
5. Get Outdoors or Get Moving
Getting outside and being active together is a great way to manage stress. If you like science, then here’s a little science lesson. There are four primary chemicals in the brain that influence our happiness: dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins. Here are some easy ways to release all these happy, feel-good chemicals.
The sun’s UV rays can help your body create serotonin, which makes us feel happy, maybe even sit on your back porch, or simply open a window, and really listen to the birds or watch the clouds floating by.
To boost oxytocin, you can set up a backyard picnic, but don’t forget to snuggle! Physical touch naturally increases this chemical, and what better way to love on your partner than to help them relax by rubbing out those tense shoulders or even just giving in to a simple cuddle session!
Lastly, exercising can boost endorphins and help your body release dopamine, improving both of your moods and making you both feel amazing. Invite your partner to run a mile with you, or do a pushup, sit up, or squat challenge! Heck, even a light stroll around the neighborhood can do wonders!
Bonus – Take Some Time For Yourself
One final tip: take some time for you! Although it may seem counterintuitive, taking some time to enjoy the things that make you happy can have a very positive impact on your relationship. That “self-care” can help you relax and reset, helping you become a better partner and a better teammate, especially in tough times.
We know there is a LOT of information out there on how to be productive, how to spend your time, so you don’t go crazy stuck inside. But just remember: have grace for your mind, body, spirit, and partner in this season.
Sadly there is no rule book for “How To Human During a Pandemic,” so take it day by day and take DEEP breaths.
And try your best to be there for each other. When stressed, we can seclude ourselves and turn away from our partners. These are truly the times we need each other the most. And hey, look at the bright side; maybe you will even build some new healthy habits during this season that will help brighten up your life and improve your relationship in the long run.
Also – don’t forget to stay up to date and connected with the CDC’s website and stay safe out there.
Let Us Take Care of Your Next Date Night
We know planning date night is stressful, and trying to plan one right now can be nearly impossible. Everything is closed, you’re already spending every day together, and the kids are home from school. The last thing we need is more stress!
Instead of planning a date night, get one delivered! Here at Crated with Love we create amazing, fun, and unique date nights every month that get delivered straight to your door! All you have to do is open and enjoy! Happy Dating! ❤️