At the time of recording this podcast, we are in lockdown as we try to flatten the curve on Covid19. Last week I talked about ways to reframe being stuck at home and things we can all do to improve our health and our lives during this time.
This week, we focus on one of those – strengthening your relationships. How often do we wish we had more time with our loved ones? Now we do, and it’s time to make sure that we use it to make our relationships even better.
To help us out, I’ve invited Alicia Munoz to share some of her creative ideas on how to connect (or reconnect) on a deeper level. She’s a couple’s therapist, the author of No More Fighting and A Year of Us.
Schedule Time to Talk
Alicia says that right now, we need to be even more dedicated to keeping the lines of communication open as each of us processes this crisis differently. So, while we press on with our day to day, her first tip is to carve out some time to have a discussion about feelings. She says that scheduling this time will ensure that both of you are prepared and present for the discussion. These conversations can happen spontaneously if they are approached the right way and in this episode, Alicia shares some great language we can use.
Alicia says it’s good to get in the habit of checking in on your partner’s feelings intentionally. This might be part of your morning routine or your bedtime routine, or any time that works for both of you. She also shared a great way to check-in spontaneously by asking ‘past, present, or future?’ instead of asking something open ended like ‘what are you thinking about?’
Another practice Alicia suggests is to spend a few breaths inhaling and exhaling together with your partner. This involves synching your breath while maintaining a physical connection. This can be very soothing and can help reduce anxiety. It’s a simple way to take a moment to connect and feel each other’s presence.
Explore the Power of Touch
The above exercise creates an opportunity to increase human touch. Right now, touch feels like an prohibited behaviour but it’s really important to be reminded that the touch of our partner is not only safe, it’s needed. Alicia suggests exchanging a massage.
Appreciate with Intention
Alicia shared some interesting research that shows we need 5 positive gestures to counterbalance each negative gesture. One way to accomplish this is to share appreciations more often. There are several ways to make this a relationship habit. She shares several including appreciation journals, nightly exchanges, seated celebrations, and an appreciation jar. Accepting appreciation can be very powerful when you allow yourself to fully feel it in your body.
Structure creates a sense of comfort and right now, many people are finding that their changed routine is throwing them off. Alicia says that it’s important to create a new structure so that everyone in the family can feel that sense of comfort.
The ideas that Alicia shares in this episode are proven ways to connect on a deeper level but also to cope with shifts in the relationship dynamic that may be at play right now as we hunker down at home.
I appreciate Alicia for sharing them and I hope they inspire you to take this time to create space and opportunity to deepen your connection and communication so that you can come out of this crisis with a stronger relationship.
Related Podcast Episodes:
EPISODE #052 6 Ways to Improve Your Life When Self-Isolating
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