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Love in the time of COVID-19

After what we’ve been through it’s OK to feel differently, and as we enter a new normal it is more important than ever to look after our physical and mental wellbeing.

Since March, individuals have been going through many changes in their day-to-day lives which can create stress.

It is only natural that this stress is expressed in the home. However, we can endeavour to manage our stress so that it does not negatively impact on our nearest and dearest.

One way of doing this is to monitor ourselves and be in touch with our own daily emotional journey, so that we do not take it out on the wrong people.

Imagine during lockdown you wake up on a Saturday morning feeling a bit off and thinking “No football today due to this blooming Covid.” You lie in bed ruminating on how if you were in charge football could still be played just with the right precautions.

You feel miserable and irritated. You go into the kitchen and have a coffee, but it doesn’t seem to rouse your spirits. Then as you’re having a second morning coffee your radio tells you about the latest tragic coronavirus statistics in an area of the world where some family members live.

Although the coffee might have perked you up a bit your mood is descending fast and you feel a bit anxious. Then your partner comes into the room and says, “you’ve got a face on you,” to which you reply, “no, I haven’t”.

At this point your partner, who knows you well, feels criticised for commenting on something that was clearly true. Your partner says, “Come on, what’s up?” You reply “nothing, I told you I’m fine,” raising your voice.

The atmosphere in the kitchen is not good and you both walk off.

Let’s replay that scenario, but employ some cognitive behavioural therapy techniques that might lead to a more convivial outcome.

Just as before you wake up longing for football.

You say to yourself, “if … only” thinking it is not very good for me, I need to accept there’s no live football for now. Then you think, how I might continue to enjoy my beloved football during this time.

You decide to listen to a podcast about football or watch some videos on the internet of your favourite moments with your morning coffee.

You would normally listen to the news in the morning but this might not be the best way to start your day today. You feel a little less disheartened. You decide to only have the one coffee since you know drinking too much coffee makes you anxious.

So far this morning you’ve improved your mental health by monitoring your thinking and challenging an unhealthy thinking style, you’ve reinforced that by doing something that you enjoy and you’ve been aware of how your diet impacts on your mood.

Then later that morning as you savour your coffee listening to a football podcast your partner comes in and says, “Turn that rubbish off, we’ve got things to do”.

The atmosphere in the kitchen is familiar, it’s just a normal Saturday morning and you both smile.

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