Coupling Through Coronavirus: How to Live and Work From Home Together Peacefully
With more people finding it necessary to self-isolate due to COVID-19, certain issues may become more evident as couples spend more time at home together. With work life spilling over into home life, there will be more occasions for partners to interact, as well as more things to interact about. And as interactions increase, so too can conflict.
If you’re finding it difficult to manage conflict and ease anxieties, online couples therapy can help. Online counselling is just as effective as face-to-face and comes with a few added bonuses, like:
- Zero commute time
- Sitting in the privacy of your own home
- For those with children, no extra cost of finding a babysitter
- For those with pets, the option to keep them close during sessions
- A lower rate is now available
Tips to stay together through Coronavirus
Aside from therapy, the key to protecting your relationship while in close quarters is to develop a good Coronavirus readiness plan. Let’s go over a few tips to keep in mind when preparing your plan.
1. Negotiate Boundaries
Take the time to negotiate what is and isn’t going to work for the both of you and figure out how you’re going to support each other in this time of the Coronavirus. Treating each other with respect when in the middle of deep thinking, calls or other activity, will go a long way in making communication smooth and mutually supportive. If there’s something your partner is doing that is affecting how you work (ie. playing loud music while you’re on a conference call), let them know by explaining how it’s having an effect and suggesting a compromise together. There’s going to need to be a bit of give and take.
2. Setup Separate Workspaces
If at all possible, find separate areas within your home where you can each setup your individual homes offices. This will ensure that you each have designated areas to concentrate on work and minimise distractions from one another.
3. Work out a schedule
While adjusting to this temporary new reality, it will be important to find a balance between individual work time, recreational alone time, time together as a couple, and for those with young children, time together as a family. When it comes to your work schedule, set a time to start, to break and to end the day, and respect each other’s office hours. The fewer interruptions you both have, the more likely you’ll be to finish your workday on time. If you’re both juggling home, work, and children, consider alternating your work hours so there’s more coverage for home chores and child care.
4. Take breaks together
To feel connected with your spouse or partner, schedule some lunches and breaks together. Avoid talking about work during these times—take a walk to rejuvenate your mental alertness, hold hands, make plans for fun together over the weekend. Schedule these lunches and breaks into your schedule and treat them as importantly as you would a work meeting.
How to nourish your relationship in lockdown
If circumstances were already tense, it may feel difficult to now have extra time together where relationship stress is at the forefront. Seize this as an opportunity to stop, look at the challenges you’ve been avoiding and start working on these together. If you don’t feel confident navigating these on your own, Dr Sue Johnson has published a book, Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, that guides couples in conflict through heartfelt conversations.
For couples who are feeling less distressed, it would be worthwhile carving out some time together and working your way through the book Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by John Gottman and Julie Schwartz Gottman. A lovely tool to guide you through some crucial, yet meaningful, conversations.
Written by: Natalie – Couples Therapist