Mental Health & Relationships

Making Self-Isolation Work With Your Partner

As people across the world are being advised to self-isolate and stay at home, many of them are trying to figure out how to manage their relationships with their partner. This includes learning to set boundaries, creating functional home office spaces and creating a harmonious environment for both of you. 

No matter the size of your space, self-isolation can be difficult. With the closure of many businesses and schools, families of all sizes are finding themselves quarantined at home with nowhere to go and less options for staying entertained. 

Combined with the demands of parenthood, many couples are finding that they are becoming more irritated with their partner, while trying to create a work life balance that is beneficial to everyone involved. Despite loving each other, it’s important for you and your partner to create boundaries that you can both respect. 

The thought of self-isolation for an undetermined amount of time can be overwhelming. Not only are you dealing with your own feelings of anxiety and stress, but you have to take into account your partner’s as well. This can result in resentment and anger, which will make self-isolation of any time frame hard to cope with.

One of the best things you can do is to make a contract outlining each other’s wants and needs so that you can both be on the same page regarding how you’re going to get through self-isolation together. If you have children, you can include them in this pact. Each of you should have a space you can “escape” to when needed. This might be the bedroom, a home office or the car. When you need a break, this is a place you can go to relax and recharge and where your partner understands not to bother you. 

There is lots of helpful advice out there to get you through self-isolation and you can mix and match these ideas to find what works best for you and your partner. 

Create Separate Workspaces

This allows you to each get your work done without getting in the way of or distracting the other. Even if you don’t have a dedicated office space for both of you, working away from each other goes a long way toward preventing resentment. One of you might use the kitchen table or the patio furniture. Whatever you decide, be sure to stick with the plan. Meet together for lunch if you want to, then go back to your own spaces to finish out the workday. 

Get Outside Together

While having separate working spaces is important for harmony during self-isolation, it’s also important to get outside and enjoy some time to focus on your partner. Take a walk or head to the park for some fresh air. This time gives you the chance to talk over your day, discuss ideas for continued self-isolation and to reconnect with one another and your relationship. Just be sure you’re following social distancing regulations wherever you go. 

Stay Quiet

Perhaps one of the top difficulties reported among couples in self-isolation is the sounds that one another makes. This can be both irritating and frustrating so it makes sense to take steps to limit this for one another. Try wearing headphones while you work so you can’t hear each other’s music, phone conversations and other sounds. 

Transform Your Commute

Now that you and your partner aren’t spending time driving to and from work, you have a bit of extra time built into your day. You can choose to spend this time doing things together or use it as personal time. Perhaps you use it to exercise or read a book. Or maybe you listen to a podcast or take time to prepare and enjoy a sit down breakfast together. Whatever it is, using your normal commute time to enhance your day is an easy way to make self-isolation a bit more appealing and productive. 

It’s important to keep work separate from play during self-isolation. It may be tempting to work all the time but creating a workday with clear set start and end times allows you to live the other parts of your life, even if you have to stay home to do so. 

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