Maintaining Healthy Relationships During Social Distancing
Sharon Hoefer — a health education coordinator with Voices Against Violence at The University of Texas at Austin — shares tips for maintaining healthy relationships as we spend more time with the same people during social distancing.
For more information, you can connect with Voices Against Violence on social media @UTAustinVAV. If you’d like to talk with a counselor about any relationship concerns you’re experiencing, you can contact the UT Austin Counseling and Mental Health Center at 512-471-3515.
Remember that everyone experiences stress differently. We’re all coping in different ways, and no one way is right or wrong, as long as it is respectful of other people’s needs and feelings.
Communicate In-Person & Virtually
Talking with the people you’re with about your own stress levels and coping styles can help set expectations and alleviate conflict. Also, try to make time to talk virtually with friends or loved ones who aren’t physically with you.
Intentionally carve out time for yourself. This could be as simple as spending time in different rooms or, if space is tight, engaging an individual self-care or hobbies with headphones in. Along with this, continue to respect each other’s privacy.
Expect that conflict will happen. As long as everyone approaches the conflict with mutual respect, it can be a good opportunity to better understand what the people around you need. Try to approach conflict with the attitude that you are working with the other person toward a solution, rather than against each other.
Celebrate Each Other
Find time to celebrate the people you’re with in big and small ways. Whether that means planning a virtual birthday party, asking interested questions about their new hobby or thanking them for doing the dishes, helping each other feel supported and celebrated goes a long way.