Our focus for the second week running is on how to improve your relationships during lockdown.
Last time, we looked at dating during a global pandemic, and how we can use this time more effectively to cultivate the sorts of new connections we seek on a deeper level.
This week, we’ll take a look at how we can make the most of the relationships we are currently in, with friends, families, lovers, partners.
As we adapt to yet another new norm, with stricter quarantine laws, our close connections with others may come under increasing pressure.
There’s the physical aspect for sure – with imposed social distancing rules – but also the emotional aspect too.
When everything is in flux, how are we coping, and what are we manifesting?
We take a look at how we can use this time to increase positivity in our relationships, work on negative patterns and improve our communication with others…
1. Learning to manage your emotions
This is all about acknowledging and recognising our emotions as they arise. Take some time to notice your emotional responses to situations and think about what might be behind them.
What values, memories and experiences are triggering them? Noting these impulses will help you understand what you are feeling and why.
Once you begin to see these patterns, you will feel more in control of your emotions and more aware of your negative triggers. This will help bring balance, clarity and deeper understanding to your relationships with others.
2. Working through your unhealthy patterns
Once you’ve observed your emotional responses you will begin to see patterns of behaviour. If it’s a pattern you’ve repeated over and over, you should be able to pinpoint some of its main traits.
Think about the pattern’s characteristics, how it makes you feel.
Understanding where the pattern comes from and how it was created is key to finding ways to break it.
3. Learning how to handle emotional triggers
Now you are analysing your patterns you can begin to understand the root causes of these emotional triggers.
What are the warning signs you may have missed before but are beginning to recognise? What is it about certain interactions, relationships and situations that trigger these behaviours in you?
Write down your findings. You should search for the warning signs, although you might have to look hard for them as they can be disguised as things you think you need, crave or deserve.
4. Encouraging healthy communication
This is all about learning to become a good listener – which can be easier said than done! But the better you listen, the better they will listen too… and the deeper your relationship will become.
Practice active listening where you maintain plenty of eye contact, and don’t interrupt or jump in with solutions. Just try to be present in the moment and listen fully to what the other person is saying.
Oh, and keep that smartphone well out of sight!
5. Allowing some time alone
Regular time out for self-care is really important for all close connections. Neglect yourself and it follows that you are neglecting your relationships too.
Make sure you cultivate individual interests and self-love rituals that allow you to spend time alone or with other people outside the relationship.
Solo time gives you the space to think, breathe and process, and being comfortable in your own skin is a massively important, yet overlooked, cornerstone to successful relationships with others.
6. Find a shared activity
Yes, you are stuck inside spending nearly all of your time together. But what is the quality of that time? Do you entertain outside distractions? Not all time is created equal!
Make sure you carve out some space that is specifically for the two of you, with no distractions. Finding a shared activity which you both enjoy is proven to help solidify and nurture romantic relationships, and is worth putting effort into.
Putting aside regular time for you to delve into that activity will give your relationship space to breathe and also the chance for you to grow together.
7. Start a journal
We touched on this in point three. Writing stuff down is really important! It may feel silly to begin with but putting words to your thoughts and emotions is a healthy way to improve self-awareness.
You will begin to notice your triggers, patterns, actions and reactions. And, day-by-day, you will start to understand yourself better.
It’s powerful stuff! Journaling can quickly become a space for positive self-talk and for identifying negative thoughts – which helps improve your mental health. A study by the University of Rochester Medical Centre found that it can help manage anxiety, reduce stress, help you cope with depression and better prioritise problems, fears and concerns.
8. Stay active
This may not seem directly related but getting some sort of physical activity going supports your mental health, which in turn improves your relationship with yourself and with others.
It’s all about the hormones. When you exercise your body releases endorphins which improve your mood. Your feelings of general wellbeing, self-worth and attraction to others also increase, all of which feed positive interactions with others.
And, with lockdown restricting our movements more than ever, it’s essential we find some time to stay active and exercise our bodies. Why not cultivate a routine with your significant other and kill two birds with one stone?!
You can find out more about emotional wellness and transformational coaching in my recent post What is transformational coaching? Everything you need to know.
Ready to give transformational coaching a try? Book your free breakthrough session with me today.