Coping with COVID-19: Tips for couples

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COVID-19 has led to widespread recommendations for “telework” wherever possible. Our community is no exception, and many find themselves adjusting to working from home. If you’re working through this pandemic as part of a couple, this alternate work arrangement can bring new challenges at home. Here are some coping tips for couples:

  • If one or both of you are working from home, do what you can to set up separate workspace areas
    • Be respectful of each other’s time “on the clock”
    • Designate a clear time to stop working for the day, and stick to it as much as possible

  • Divide and conquer household chores
    • Quarantining at home may change the usual flow of who takes care of which chores to make the household run smoothly. Discuss what makes sense in the “new normal” while you’re sheltering in place

  • Decide who will be the “lead” with specific tasks
    • If you’re the lead, ask for help if you need it
    • If you’re not the lead, try your best to let your partner do it their way
    • No backseat driving!

  • If you have kids, trade off taking care of them to give each other a break/some quiet time alone (that’s not just a bathroom break)

  • If one or both of you are laid off or bringing home less income than usual, sit down together to discuss your finances
    • Work together to develop a realistic plan for meeting your household expenses
    • Even if nothing is changing about how you’ll pay the bills, simply having a conversation about the added financial stress that this pandemic may cause can help you stay on the same page about your financial priorities

  • Give each other some space and some grace
    • When there’s extra stress in your day, it’s natural to feel irritable. The tendency is to take it out on those we love and are closest to, because those are the people we feel safest with
    • If your partner is irritable with you, try not to take it too personally — we’re all under a lot of pressure now
    • Suggest taking a break and checking in with each other in 30 minutes
    • Do your best to empathize with your partner about what they’re going through
    • If you’re irritable, try not to take it out on your partner
    • Do your best to be aware of your own emotions, and let your partner know that you’re feeling on edge
    • Let them know that you’re not angry with them, but you’re having a tough time coping right now
    • Engage in some form of intentional self-care to try to work through your stress

And now, to help you de-stress, how about watching an ape reacting to a magic trick? Enjoy!