For many, this week has been incredibly stressful with a lot of changes packed into one week. Shifting our regular schedules to fit with the lockdowns and social distancing while balancing everyday stresses was a lot and still feels like it is a lot, but adding in the idea of being home with your partner, your roommate(s), your kids, etc. is something none of us know how to balance.
While the everyday stuff will need to be balanced with scheduling and moving things around in our homes to accommodate work from home status, we need to make sure we are maintaining our relationships.
Romantic relationships can be strained during any level of stress, but the level of stress created by a global pandemic is not something any of us were prepared to handle. Suddenly, we are spending all our time with our partners as we are quarantined together.
How do we plan date nights?
With restaurants not serving in their dining rooms and movie theaters shut down, many couples feel at a loss for their go-to date night ideas. It is time we got a little creative to help maintain some spark in your romantic relationships.
Order takeout from one of your local restaurants. While many are concerned about the germs on takeout containers, if you are comfortable with wearing gloves while you go pick up your food, bring the container home and put all your food on your own dishes and throw out the container.
Many local businesses are scared of closing for good so this can help your favorite spots stay open while also enjoying great food. Light some candles, set the mood in your home to mimic a restaurant. Get dressed up for your dinner date. Set up a cozy spot on the floor by the fireplace to eat your dinner.
One partner pick out a handful of ingredients from your pantry, and the other partner has to make a tasty meal with it. Think of shows like Top Chef that have enacted this as a challenge for their contestants…try the same thing.
For the more competitive couples, you can also try setting a timer and do a relay cooking where one partner starts cooking for 2 minutes then the next partner hops in to keep it going. With the relay cooking, to kick it up a notch, blindfold your partner so they can’t see what you started and when the timer goes off, you get blindfolded.
The idea is to laugh, have fun, and try to engage with each other in a light hearted way. Some places are even offering meal kits where you get all the ingredients from them and you can make the food at home. Another great idea to spend some fun time with your partner and trying something new.
If the weather cooperates with you, try packing up your dinner and taking it to a local park for a picnic. My partner and I love doing various appetizers, cheese and crackers, and wine for our picnics. Getting out of the house can help with both of your moods and stress levels while still adhering to the recommendations of the CDC with social distancing.
For the more adventurous types and while the parks are still open, try going for a hike with your partner. Focus on connecting with each other by holding hands. Keep your conversation around what you see around you as a practice of grounding.
If your conversation shifts to the state of the world, bring it back to positive talk around nature. The goal is to have an interaction with each other where you are also engaging in grounding/meditation. This interaction will bond you in a relaxing way.
Try capturing some pictures. Take a walk or drive to a local spot where you typically go as a couple and take photographs of the scene during this pandemic. While it is very stressful right now, this is a situation that we will all remember for years to come.
Reflecting on the differences we are experiencing and capturing them on camera can help bring us to a place of gratitude. You can also allow for good memories to bubble up while you go back to places where you have had fun. Remind each other that this will pass and you will get back to those places to have even more fun.
Remember to turn TOWARD your partner during these stressful times. It is very easy to become frustrated or disappointed in your partner when we are going through so many levels of stress, but remember to find the gratitude you have for your partnership.
Control the things you can: your reactions, your intake of news, your social media interactions, your behaviors.
Do not let the stress take over your relationships because while we need to be physically distant from others, we cannot change our human need to have closeness.