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How are your relationships?

How is your relationship with yourself? In previous articles we’ve explored how you can look after your thoughts, emotions and behaviours. Are you being kind to yourself and looking after yourself? How are your positive habits developing?

How are your relationships with others?

Our relationships with others are incredibly important and have a profound impact on the quality of our lives.

Obviously, we are in an unusual set of circumstances and even those of you in really strong, healthy and loving relationships might find yourself in unchartered territory at the moment.

Everyone’s living situation is different, so it’s difficult to address every scenario, but hopefully the overall message will be helpful.

A Period of change

We’re all undergoing a period of change and through change we learn about ourselves. Individually we are meeting a whole new host of thoughts, feelings, stresses and strains that we need to learn to navigate through on a daily basis.

At the same time as we are going through this, so are our children, our partners, our extended family, friends and work colleagues.

Everyone will be dealing with this in their own way, so we need to be particularly understanding, patient and kind, even though we may be feeling at the end of our tether and a bit down or grumpy.

It’s undoubtedly challenging to look after everyone and their physical, emotional and psychological needs, and every day is going to be might feel that you’re struggling one day, but another day is easier, or you might feel that ‘I got this’, to then find that the rug is pulled from underneath you the next. Know that this is normal.

When you’ve had a day that’s a ‘win’, look at it and learn from it.

Looking after ourselves and each other

  • Be aware – be self-aware and aware of others – how are you feeling and how is that impacting on you? How might those that you are in relationships with be feeling and how is that impacting on them and you?

  • Be kind: to yourself and others.

  • Be realistic with yourself and with others. We’ve usually got an entire social system that meets our needs, so make sure you are still making those connections, even though they are remotely – can you meet with people online like you would in

normal life – I’ve seen some awesome posts about running clubs doing virtual relay marathons, family quiz nights, virtual get-togethers. This might seem like an effort, but it’s worth maintaining those extended connections and relationships, they’ll help you now and they’ll be even stronger when things return to normal. Be honest – trying to cover up or swallow your emotions can lead to bigger problems, even if you don’t understand your feelings, you could say – ‘I’m feeling a bit off or confused today’. Just acknowledging this can help you to understand yourself and help others to support you.

Communication is key

Communication – keep things positive and maintain responsibility for your thoughts, feelings and behaviour and how you communicate those with others. I’m talking about being assertive. A tip is to reframe how you communicate your feelings to others, so, instead of saying something that might trigger an argument, like, ’You make me so angry when...’, you could say ‘I feel ...when..., and would prefer it if...’, which takes any accusations out of the statement and instead communicates your feelings and a solution to the situation.

Identify your needs and communicate them – it’s okay to want, need and take some alone time or to do work or exercise, etc.

Set some boundaries – we’re having to be everything to everybody at the moment, but we need to acknowledge that that’s a bit impossible at all times. Communicate what your boundaries are: ‘I’m here now to do this with you, then I need x amount of time to do...’

Carve out alone time

  • Alone on your own

  • Alone with each child – just 10 mins will do if you’re struggling for more

  • Alone with your partner – remember why you liked each other in the first place!

  • Review regularly

Remember to have fun – we are trying to learn all sorts of new things at the moment: how to work from home (which has stresses for some about new technology) how to parent in a new situation, how to keep school work on the go, how to negotiate a house that is inevitably going to be a mess etc The days can seem long and lonely if you’re completely on your own, or a relentless cycle of jobs and hassles if you’ve got a young family to look after.

Check in and review with each other every day, to include the children, if its age appropriate:

  • How are we doing?

  • What are we doing that’s working?

  • What things can we change to make this better?

  • How do we want to remember our time in lock down?

Finally, what do you like and love about each other? This might seem a difficult question if things are getting tense, but it’s important to be grateful for each other and to appreciate the positives they bring to both you and this experience.

Everyone Active have so many forms of exercise that you can do on your own, with your children or with your partner, and remember that healthy eating, getting plenty of rest and daily exercise are important for everyone’s wellbeing at this time.

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