BLOG POST: Have Better Relationships During COVID-19
Is COVID making you crazy?
Does lockdown make you feel lousy?
How can your lower your stress levels (and have better Relationships) during the pandemic?
We’re living in stressful times, on top of the normal everyday stresses of life that already make you feel like you’re pulled in different directions.
Being home together in lockdown has increased our stress levels. Less private space and time alone, More mess and more competition for wifi. You’re out of your normal routine. Things that bothered you before -- irritate you even more now.
Maybe you were commuting two hours every day and now you are sitting with a laptop at your dining room table with your family trafficking in or out, Maybe you find yourself with a child sitting on your lap during your online meetings.
Being cooped up together can be trying. Let’s talk about how stress can affect so many aspects of life. On the physical level, stress can cause headaches, stomach upset, aches and pains, insomnia and skin problems. On the emotional level, it’s hard to relax. You may be more increasingly moody or frustrated. Or feel bad about yourself. You may find yourself worrying more, more negative than usual. Or be forgetful, unable to focus.
Stress also affects our relationships. Maybe the overwhelm is causing you to want to take control of situations or people. If you have a natural tendency to control, being under stress will make it stronger. On the opposite end of the spectrum, stress can make you feel like avoiding other people. If you have a tendency to avoid, stress will cause you to withdraw even more.
Whether you want to control others, or to avoid others from controlling you, being at home during lockdown is really hard on relationships. As if being married or being a parent wasn’t hard enough.
And let’s say that you find yourself arguing and fighting with your spouse, partner or children. Let’s talk about how that kind of stress and overwhelm is potentially damaging. The natural effects of stress is an increased heart rate, faster breathing, rising blood pressure. Your muscles tighten, getting ready for flight or fight. This was a perfect reaction to our prehistoric ancestors, designed to prepare them for confronting a saber-toothed tiger, but we’re not cavemen and cavewomen, even if you sometimes feel you’re married to one. And you may feel like you’re stuck in a cave, but you don’t need to protect yourself from saber-toothed tigers in order to survive the pandemic. Just wear your mask, wash your hands and don’t go to public gatherings.
Here’s an interesting statistic: Divorce applications in Wuhan, China actually doubled after lifting their lockdown. That’s because the lockdown created a pressure cooker environment for people who were already headed for divorce. These unfortunate couples were already primed for fight or flight mode.
Here’s what I know.
The Divine is in control.
The Divine doesn’t give us challenges that are too hard for us to handle.
And COVID is here to teach us many things.
Excuse me while I get a little academic, but with a Linguistics degree from Harvard, I just can’t help myself. When I look at the word “COVID” I see the Latin prefix “co” meaning “together” and “vid” meaning “to see.”
This is an opportunity to look at each other and really see each other’s essence, what’s beneath the surface on the spiritual level. Take a moment and look beyond other people’s habits and mannerisms. Forget about the dirty socks on the floor and the milk left out on the counter. This is a chance to see each other’s divine spark and to honor that. In fact, the word COVID reminds me of the word KAVOD in Hebrew, which means “honor”. This is an opportunity to honor the divine spark in yourself and others.
Remember that the Divine is watching everything. How you relate to others around you, how you relate to yourself. And know that the Divine is with you always, ready to support you. Allow yourself to receive that support.
So here are some tips for lowering your stress levels to improve relationships during COVID:
- Remember that fighting or arguing is a physiological response to stress. So take care of your body and encourage your family to take care of theirs with healthy food, water, and enough sleep.
- Use movement to keep stress levels low or to calm down when needed. Go for a walk if you can, climb the stairs. Or put on music and dance, either in the privacy of your room, or even better -- invite others to dance out their stress along with you. In our house we have a little disco ball thing that lights up when you plug it in so that’s fun.
- If something irritates you, take a long breath before you speak so you’re not coming from a place of anger or anxiety.
- Use eye contact and speak from your heart.
- Keep it short and simple. K.I.S.S. One topic, one message.
- Use my sandwich method for expressing what you want. The two pieces of bread are positive things. The top one is an appreciation and the bottom one is encouragement. In the middle you put the thing you’re asking for. So it might sound like this: “Honey, I appreciate how you’ve been helping around the house. Today I need you to put away your tools that have been sitting there all week. I’m counting on you to do this soon so that we can avoid an accident.”
- Remember that every test of character comes from the Divine. We are being tested to see how patient, kind and caring we can be under these challenging circumstances. Be sure to remind the Divine regularly that you are living up to your end of the bargain and ask to fill your home with closeness, joy and love. There’s nothing the Divine wants more than to give you that.
You don't have to be in stress and overwhelm during these uncertain times.
My clients feel calm, relaxed and connected to themselves and to their family members.
Because they have learned how to open up to that divine support. And they receive an influx of divine healing 24/7 that transforms their lives.
One of my clients was working from home during the lockdown. Her spouse was also working from home. The kids were learning online from home. There was competition for the wifi and sometimes my client would have to take time off from her business and this was frustrating. Getting the kids to do their homework made her feel like pulling her hair out. Worst of all, she often felt like she was riding on a merry-go-round, going in circles all day long.
In our work together, she learned how to connect to herself and to the Divine. She created boundaries that worked for her family and learned how to communicate better. She received energy healing from the Divine to support her in every aspect of her life.
Now she has been thriving through the pandemic. She wakes up every morning with clarity and a sense of purpose. She runs her business from home where everyone else is, and instead of being pulled in different directions or feeling like she’s on a merry-ground going nowhere, she has become calm, relaxed and grounded, and feels OK with how things shift and aren’t clear or consistent because of COVID. This ability to be flexible made her feel very grateful.
Something that I find particularly fascinating about this woman is how she never wanted to be a homeschool mom. It was so stressful having the kids learning at home and trying to get them to do schoolwork. Now she is actually excited to homeschool her kids.