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This week I wanted to write about something that’s effecting a lot of us. Whether you are spending more time than planned with your partner, family, friends or isolation measures have meant that your relationship has become by exchange/ long distance, either way it’s a change to the relationship dynamic that we had not planned for.

Personally we have already navigated a long-distance relationship but are now faced with spending more time together than we have in a long time. We like many, have gone from seeing loved ones at the beginning and end of the day to 24/7. That’s generally not the case unless we go on holiday and our current environment is far from that.

Not only is it an unplanned change to time together but there are restrictions around movement and additional market stress meaning finances, career, health, environment a number of segments in the Circle of life are being “shook up”.

So after a few days the novelty has worn off and you find perhaps that you are the subject of mis-directed frustration and /or an overused vent board!

As I’ve said before in previous posts about the Circle of Life, there will always be times when your score each of the segment is tested and this is such a time. The best thing to do is acknowledge it and try and learn from it.

Here’s a few tips that we have found useful during this time :

  1. Re-establish some ground-rules : you need your space, time to work, get supplies, walk the dog and exercise etc as appropriate to you, so openly discuss and agree who is doing what and when;

  2. Communication : talk openly and more frequently about how we are feeling perhaps over meal time - not all meals have to be together so agree when you are sitting down together. In the case of loved ones not in your household, this is where you need to plan regular calls or messages - more frequently than before - it’s a changed environment and some loved ones may be home alone!

  3. Strength & Weakness : You each or even as a household have things individually that you’re good at or not so good /dislike. Reassess what these are and compromise on who does what e.g laundry, washing-up, cleaning, shopping etc. The previous roles need to be re-evaluated because the environment has changed.

  4. Updates : There is so much information out there about this virus and its affects and what we should be doing. Agree as a household what the best source is and sit down together if you can to review. We find 5 o’clock news is working for us and we leave it there.

  5. Relationship Opportunity : Many of us, self included, become complacent or take loved ones for granted. This is the time to re-evaluate and reassess who is really important and focus solely on them. Be thankful and tell them you love them. Don’t be too proud or act “big”. No one is perfect and undoubtedly this is a tough time for us all.

So in summary, cherish your relationships, they are an important part of who you are but you cannot assume that your previous approach stands. A changed environment and circumstances means we need to re-establish how to maintain a healthy relationship - what you each need has changed.

You will have the occasional boil over, trust me I am a Redhead! Its because we are not used to this environment but by understanding who is important and being open to changed needs, strengths and weaknesses you will become better at using your time wisely and the relationship will feel better for it.

Please note I am writing this from my perspective. Circumstances are different for everyone - you may have some other tips that you have found effective ? If so, please share :)

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