Counselling, support and information for all relationships 
We give you our top tips to avoid developing or enduring relationship problems because of lockdown. 
Facing a second lockdown will be tough on the nation for a whole manner of reasons. Hard times for businesses, reality of job losses and financial struggles. Alongside practical problems which threaten our normal existence, are those affecting our relationships. We’re talking about relationships of any type too – as people share their lockdown bubbles with the same set of loved ones, day in, day out, the routine and constant closeness can take its toll. We give you our top tips to avoid developing or enduring relationship problems because of lockdown - 
 
Share Activities 
 
‘But we’re spending all our time together already!’ we hear you cry. But what we’re referring to, is quality time. Not watching re-runs of Escape to the Country in the same room together or doing the household chores -but setting time aside to do a specific activity together. Whether with your partner, housemate, or family member – arrange an evening to cook a meal together, dedicate your Sunday afternoon to playing a new board game. Head outside on a walk or dust off those bicycles from the shed and go on a good old-fashioned bike ride! Take it in turns to choose an activity to do together; learn more about each other’s likes and passions. You never know, you may develop a taste for your newfound interest. 
 
Give Each Other Space 
 
OK, it may sound like we’re going from one extreme to the other, but spending a long amount of time with someone – whether you work together, share a flat or have chose to be with one another for the rest of your lives – it takes balance. A balance of fun and games with the serious stuff (it’s got to be done!), taking it in turns to do the chores and in this case, a balance of how you spend your time. Let’s say you’ve baked a cake together in the morning and you plan to watch a movie together in the evening – then there’s nothing wrong with you going your separate ways for a few hours to for a breather. Do something you want to do and re-convene later. Turning the notch down on intensity will allow for you to miss each other and appreciate the time you do share together. 
 
Make Future Plans 
 
Yes, we know this is a hard one – as the future becomes what seems more unpredictable by the day. We’re not saying book a holiday or put a deposit down on a house (although who are we to stop you?!) but perhaps discuss with your partner or friend those things you can’t wait to do when lockdown lifts and we get back to some sort of ‘normal’. It can be as huge as travelling the world together or spending the whole afternoon in your local café trying every type of cake and sweet treat they have! Promise to see your old work colleague for a drink when you can, tell your Aunt you will pop over to look through the old family photo albums with her. Even without a timescale, having something to look forward to will be sure to lift everyone’s spirits. 
 
Don’t Forget Yourself 
 
We’ve spoken about alone time, which is important when nurturing relationships with other people in your life. ‘Before you can love others, you must first love thyself’ is what they say and there are strong foundations for this belief. Take time to do those activities you love; your hobbies for example. For some of us, having more time on our hands may not happen again like this for years – take advantage of a unique situation and schedule in some ‘you time’. Pick up that model aeroplane you’ve been meaning to complete, tackle upcycling furniture or spend time researching your families history. Even if it’s just a relaxing duvet day or a hot bubble bath, a boxset or a pamper session – selfcare really is important for both your relationship with yourself and with those around you. Your quirks are what make you, you – make sure you keep practicing them! 
 
Show Appreciation 
 
Most of us are already polite individuals – but taking this one step further can really enhance both your own mood and that of others. We’re all in this together, so practicing understanding and showing respect for those close to you also enduring this one-of-a-kind circumstance only looks to strengthen your relationship – with whoever this may be. Make a cup of tea for someone without being asked, leave a heartfelt note for them, or simply give them a hug. Tell them outright you appreciate them and let them know you’re around if they need anything. This reciprocal consideration will go a long way towards a happy relationship in lockdown. 
 
Forgive the Small Stuff 
 
Like a ticking clock seems to become louder once you’ve noticed it, it can be a similar situation once you notice someone’s flaws. They can be little things ranging from the stereotypical, stacking the dishwasher badly or leaving a wet towel on the floor. Or unique to the individual; eating an orange before going to bed or spending exactly four minutes in the shower (and timing others to make sure they do the same). Yes, we can appreciate these small things can become irritating and seem unbearable. But taking a moment to stop, breathe and reflect on the trivial nature these problems aids understanding of one another as well as going lengths to prevent arguments. Bickering is never fun; don’t sweat the small stuff. 
 
Here at Relate Nottingham, our own People Plan includes always forgiving honest mistakes. We’re all human and it’s human to make mistakes. A genuine person doesn’t purposely do bad things – they slip up! And it’s important to recognise when others make these sort of earnest misjudgements. 
 
There is a whole host of advice out there for romantic relationships, but we must look to nurture those of all types around us. Family, friends, colleagues, and neighbours alike. We strongly believe the points above can be applied to all sorts of affiliations. Recognise the hard work of a fellow teammate, make holiday plans with a friend. Respect the space of those family members you live with and make peace with your neighbours. Practice our advice to be on your way to a happier, healthier lockdown! 
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