To say it’s been a rough year on relationships is an understatement. Even happily married couples readily admit that marriage is hard enough, but then add the stress and financial worries that came with COVID-19, and it’s been even harder for many families. Family law attorneys are reporting a 30% increase in divorce filings post-quarantine. “It’s sort of like the pandemic created a perfect storm for couples who were already contemplating divorce,” explains Michelle C. Thomas, a divorce lawyer in Washington D.C. who says she has never been busier.
Now add the holidays, where we are inundated with commercials and cards depicting picture perfect family moments. But traditionally it’s quite the opposite for many couples. They’re trying to juggle family expectations, pressure from kids, the in-laws and a variety of financial constraints. Statistics confirm that divorce rates rise in the month of January, following the holiday season.
But all is not lost we promise! At 1 True Match we work with many divorced or single clients who have struggled in their previous relationships due to many of these same challenges. Part of our relationship coaching directly addresses many stressors that can impact a relationship, now with COVID-19 and the holidays, we’ve really had our work cut out for us.
We not only help people find their true match, but we offer relationship coaching after marriage to keep your partnership a priority. If you’re having some difficult times with your spouse, please don’t immediately blame yourself or your spouse, this super high level of stress is even impacting solid stable relationships.
Singles are also reporting they are feeling an increased amount of stress during this time. Functions that filled busy calendars are now either minimal or currently non-existent. The inability to travel to stay connected with friends and family have created a sense of loneliness and a feeling of emotional distance. Singles can also benefit from the following recommendations because it’s about how you manage stress within yourself, a partner, your family and friends.
So, what can you do to recognize that some of these bumps don’t necessarily mean your relationships are on the rocks, that the added stress could be to blame?
6 Ways To Conquer Holiday Stress In Your Life and Your Relationships
1. Stay Active–
It may sound simple but the pandemic and self-quarantining has led a lot of us to give up our regular routines. Sitting around and not moving around can have negative effects on your health, well-being and quality of life. Encourage your partner to walk with you, go on a short run, ride bikes or participate in a virtual yoga class. It can help keep you both physically and mentally fit.
2. Practice Mindfulness –
The practice of mindfulness is a type of meditation where you focus on what you are feeling in the moment without blaming anyone or anything for how you feel. Start with some deep, slow breathing, and use your imagination to create calm, peaceful images in your mind, providing a mental escape to help reduce stress and keep you from lashing out.
3. The Gift of Gratitude –
It’s easy to focus on the negatives when things aren’t going well in your life. Gratitude is a great coping skill because you can practice it at any time, and you can share gratitude with others. When you find yourself being negative, try to reflect on what you do have and not what you don’t have. We get that the struggle is real, but it’s important to recognize the positives in your life that your struggles may be overshadowing.
4. Establish Boundaries –
We can’t communicate our boundaries if we don’t know what they are, and we can’t hold others responsible for respecting them when they are unaware of them. This year those boundaries may include your comfort level with visiting, attending family gatherings or even hugging. Not everyone may agree with your boundaries, and that may be stressful, but it will be worse if you don’t communicate with them and people unknowingly cross them.
5. Pursue Your Purpose –
A popular word during the pandemic has been “pivot” which is basically having to be creative to accomplish your goals. Don’t look at all of these changes as limitations, try to see them as opportunities to be creative. Embrace the challenge of trying something new like camping instead of staying in a hotel. Volunteer or reach out to organizations serving people in need. There is nothing that will make you feel better about yourself and your life than helping someone else.
6. Ask for Help –
When people are stressed, they become more withdrawn and distracted, and less affectionate, which leads to alienation between partners. We tend not to want to burden others with our problems but turning inward is not healthy. Reach out to a close friend, attend a virtual support group, or schedule a telehealth session with a mental health professional or marriage counselor. It’s not weak to seek help, one of the bravest things you can do is to admit that you can’t solve it alone.
This Year’s Been Tough But You Can Do It
“We also appreciate that for singles not being able to meet new people, or date safely is also a big stressor,” said Relationship Coach Renée Richel, Founder of 1 True Match. “If you feel that you are ready to meet the person God has designated you to meet, we can help.” 1 True Match has included additional screening measures to ensure their clients are safe during this time of great health concerns. Their relationship experts can do the vetting for you without you having to risk your health in public spaces.
Finally, everyone should just take a moment to acknowledge that 2020 has been a unique year we are all doing the best we can. It’s okay to take time to mourn the loss of canceled plans, family gatherings, changes in employment or income, and loved ones impacted by COVID. It’s okay to not feel okay, but don’t live there. Try the suggestions we’ve provided to pick yourself or your relationship up off the floor and focus on what will move you forward and how you can work as a team to triumph over these and future tough times.