US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Millions of people stay at home. Alone, in pairs, in shared apartments, supervised facilities or as a family. Singles do not date , parents are with their children, couples squat at home. We are all still incredulous at how quickly the world around us is changing.
The new coronavirus has penetrated into the last corner of our lives: Most of them keep their distance wherever possible. Breaking the outbreak is what it’s now about to protect the elderly and people with chronic illnesses.
Because if many of them are seriously ill with Covid-19, not everyone in the intensive care unit will be able to be treated.
The caution we are practicing saves lives. But it demands a lot from us and is becoming more and more noticeable wherever everyone is close – in our families, in love relationships and also in “nearly contacts”.
New everyday life and still existential stress
For some couples, the corona pandemic is a stress test. In the negative as in the positive. What this can mean, for example, suggests the results of studies that examined relationships during and after natural disasters.
In 1989, for example, Hurricane Hugo changed the lives of many people in the southeastern United States and the Caribbean from one day to the next.
The following year, not only significantly more couples divorced in the affected areas in South Carolina than in previous years and later, the number of weddings and births also skyrocketed.
So while some could not withstand the enormous stress of completely new living conditions and broke from it, other couples were more connected from the crisis.
So what makes the greatest possible distance to the environment, but intensive closeness with us within your own four walls?
While some like to retire in pairs or with the children at home and leave the world outside, the other pushes their limits.
Those who live alone and are single anyway are tormented by completely different questions: Dating is no longer an option, closeness to a stranger if you are not even allowed to see your friends anymore? And very existential: how is the job going, what will be tomorrow, next week, in a month? Fears for your own health or for people who mean a lot to us.
Anyone who is doing the most important public jobs, especially as a doctor, in the supermarket, as a nurse, social worker or delivery man outside, is once again particularly challenged.
Helping yourself also supports the relationship
If you don’t want to protect yourself as a couple or family during these times, you first have to find a way to strengthen yourself. The world’s largest association of psychologists, APA, recommends very specific things for everyday life:
- Use reliable sources to find out more about the new coronavirus. Keeping up to date is important, but so are breaks. A constant preoccupation with corona reports can unsettle and stir up fears as well as false reports.
- Make your day as conscious as possible: Give yourself a fixed daily routine and follow your usual routines – get up at certain times, eat regularly, work, learn, exercise, switch off. Such a structure gives support and meaning and prevents bad mood.
- Sleep enough, eat varied and with lots of fresh ingredients, exercise at home. Do something good in between. Use drugs such as alcohol and other intoxicants consciously and with caution.
- Stay connected digitally: Get in touch with people who are important to you through video chats, phone calls, text messages. Talk about what’s on your mind.
- Focus on what you can do and accept the things that you cannot change. Smartphone apps with mindfulness and relaxation exercises also help. Be aware that you are doing all of this to save other people’s lives.
- Contact a professional if everything is too much for you – especially if you are dealing with fears, intense tension, irritability and depressed moods. A few online sessions with a psychotherapist often help. Many psychotherapists have switched to digital therapy.
Extra care for the partnership
There is a lot to be said for making greater efforts to look after your partner in times of crisis. A stable relationship provides support in a world that is currently changing fundamentally. Hardly anything calms as well as the presence of a familiar person.
Right now it can be a good idea to understand what makes your partnership strong and sustained in the long term. The family and development researcher Brian Ogolsky and his team from more than six decades of science have collected evidence of this.
A basic finding: Everyone should ask themselves again and again, what can I do for a good relationship myself instead of demanding this from the other person? Those who manage not only to look at their own needs, but also to incorporate their partner’s wishes and needs, have gained a lot.
Right now we should concentrate on what we love and appreciate about others and – even if it is difficult in the stress and argument – not to constantly criticize and to fool around in supposed mistakes.
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The article is written and prepared by our foreign editors from different countries around the world – material edited and published by Ordo News staff in our US newsroom press.