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Love Under Lockdown: 10 Tips to Help Couples Cope

Raise your hand if you and your partner have had more quarrels since quarantine? According to experts, you’re not alone. Too much togetherness and all this uncertainty can do a number on even the most durable of duos. Thankfully, there are ways to help keep your cool amid this ongoing crisis.

Submitted by Gary McDonald, Licensed Professional Counselor, Executive Director of Lighthouse Counseling and Family Resource Center, Lincoln, 916-645-3300,

Make time for you.
Schedule time for activities you find enjoyable that promote physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental well-being. Examples might include yoga, journaling, meditation, baking/cooking, hiking, listening to music, reading, or downloading a free relaxation app. Eat right, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and establish a routine that includes healthy habits. By doing this, you’ll empower loved ones to do the same. If working from home, set appropriate boundaries by not working long hours and taking scheduled breaks.

Be grateful.
Make the ordinary special by enjoying a romantic dinner at home, giving your partner a massage, or going for an evening walk and watching the sunset. Be grateful for what you do have.

Seek professional help.
Navigating this new normal is not easy, and counseling is a very healthy way to resolve critical relational blocks. Several nonprofits offer services at no cost or on a sliding scale. Practice mindful listening when your mate shares his/her thoughts, and remember: Physical distancing is not the same as social distancing. During difficult times, we need to reach out to those who can help us heal and/or deal with our issues. Both Sacramento and Placer Counties have a social service hotline you can reach by dialing 211.

Submitted by Jeremy Ernst, DO, Marshall Psychiatry, Cameron Park, 530-626-2844,

Keep the lines of communication open.
Tensions may be running high during this stressful time, but your partner isn't a mind reader, nor are you. Be sure to communicate your needs in a calm, well-thought-out manner.

Don't sweat the small stuff.
Depending on how long you've been in your relationship, this may be a time of learning some of your partner’s habits and quirks that you previously weren't aware of, and some of them might get under your skin. Try not to focus too much on the little things and look at the big picture of your relationship instead.

Pick your battles.
In the event an argument or disagreement arises between you and your partner, take a moment to consider if the issue is major or minor. Does it merit a full-fledged argument or can you let it go?

Don't sweat the small stuff


Submitted by Loretta Parker, LMFT, Founder & CEO of Loving Life Counseling, Sacramento, 916-674-0144,

Give each other space.
Being quarantined with a loved one can test the relationship. Communicating your need for space can avoid an emotional reaction when feeling tense and help in saving your relationship. It’s essential to start with an “I” statement, when describing your needs. For example, “I’m feeling overwhelmed right now and need to make space so I can feel calm before we continue the conversation.” At this point, give your partner an estimated amount of time that you need, and come back to the conversation when you’re feeling calm. For the partner not needing space, be respectful by allowing them to take the space they need.

Be patient.
Many times people want instant gratification, but practicing patience—by slowing down and releasing control—is vital, especially during this time of living in close quarters. Relax and take a deep breath, be mindful of the moment, stop what you’re doing, actively listen, and validate feelings.

Work as a team.
Consider your family/relationship a team with a shared vision, where each individual has unique strengths, personalities, and traits to contribute and help it function. Similar to how a sports team operates, everyone in the family has a role to play and should do their best to achieve the family (team) goal.

Play games.
Bring out the board games, and schedule some time to have fun! Playing games brings people together and strengthens relationships, along with improving brain function, practicing patience, and reducing stress.

by  Megan Wiskus