New Routines: Creating Pandemic-Friendly Couples Habits
Routines help anchor relationships. This is true at the best of times, but right now, while we’re all living in isolation and rarely getting out of our pajamas, having a set of common, even strategic practices is especially important. How, then, should you prioritize, or at least organize, your days as a couple right now?
The obvious place to start is with the sorts of activities that you typically do when we aren’t living in a state of emergency, whether that’s working out together or sharing that first cup of coffee in the morning. Beyond that, look towards the sorts of activities that might otherwise be classed as “self-care.” From reading together to establishing norms around alone time, you’ll need a new routine to make it through these days.
Make The Days Different
I’ve been working from home for a long time and one thing I learned along the way is that you have to be very intentional about shutting down your professional life. Give your weekdays a start and stop time like they would have if you were going to the office and treat your weekends like real weekends. If you usually have date nights on Fridays or watch a movie together on Saturdays, keep those traditions in place as much as possible.
Start The Day Together
Most of us are in a better mood earlier in the day, before we’ve started working and immersed ourselves in the activities of the day. Make the most of that time by having breakfast together each day. Not only does this help provide structure to your day, but it also provides built-in quality time. Once you’re done eating, you can part ways and get to work.
Establish Alone Time
We all need time alone, but normally that time happens naturally within the confines of our daily schedules. Now that you and your partner are together all the time, though, you need to create boundaries that create that time apart. Consider taking a cue from the Italians, who have been in isolation longer than those those us in the USA, and setting aside alone time each day where you can pursue your own hobbies, watch TV, or meditate before coming back to each other.
Try Something New
Some couples share a lot of hobbies, while others typically go their separate ways during their free time. Under the current circumstances, why not explore new activities you can do together, or find ways to combine your hobbies. Whether you try reading aloud together, solving – or even making! – crossword puzzles together, or working in the garden. Most importantly, keep an open mind. Take turns introducing each other to your favorite activities that you didn’t have time to do together before and see what happens.
You don’t need one of those color coded schedules that everyone thought they would use to homeschool their children when we first entered isolation to structure your day. In fact, as adults, most of us can’t make that kind of routine work around our responsibilities. Still, a little structure can go a long way towards providing normalcy and reassurance during stressful times. And don’t forget that you can, and should, adjust as you go. This is how we live now, so create conditions that will help your relationship thrive.