Ever wonder why, in safety drills on an aeroplane, the flight attendant advises you to ‘first put on your own oxygen mask, before assisting others’ in case of an emergency? Simple: if you don’t take care of yourself first, you won’t be able to take care of those around you.
Similarly, for you and your partner to remain a united front, you should be taking care of the collective you, first and foremost, in order to stay standing. Here’s why:
Two are better than one
Whether you consider yourself an introvert or extrovert, the human need for feeling love and being comforted by a loving partner is a scientific fact: we crave meaningful interaction and comfort. Going through a pandemic and lockdown of unprecedented proportions means we are all experiencing great physical, financial and emotional stress which, in turn, has created an enormous burden for us all to carry.
If you are fortunate enough to be in a trusting relationship, whether it be platonic or romantic, sharing this burden with a partner will help lessen your worries. A shared load is, after all, a lighter load.
It boosts your health
Having fun is a crucial part of living, and not solely for the enjoyment element. Creating stress-free, fun moments are monumental in boosting your mental as well as physical well-being. There is a reason an old adage has become a cliché: ignorance really is bliss. A few hours forgetting the dreary realities that the world is dealing with will help you relax – and relaxation is crucial to lowering cholesterol levels and combating depression.
Ever heard of the term weltschmerz? If you’re feeling both melancholy and world-weariness, then you could suffer from this condition – the German phrase directly translates as ‘world sorrow’. Being constantly, acutely aware of everything that is wrong can become an all-consuming spiral resulting in you literally mourning for the world. Let the condition suck you under, and it can become quite difficult to break free.
Creating moments to forget the realities of the hour is not foolish or irresponsible – it might be the smartest thing you can do for your own sanity at the moment. Lowered stress levels created through carefree moments equal an improved immune system – and if there were ever a time you needed your immune system in tip-top shape, it is now.
You can remind each other what life was once and what it can be again
When astronauts are in space for prolonged periods, what they miss most is not sleeping in their own beds or having homemade choc chip cookies. It is gravity, a feeling of being grounded. Similarly, right now, amid the turmoil of the moment, what your mind is craving is a feeling of normalcy. And when you take the time to experience stress-free, fun time with your partner, you are in essence creating pockets of normalcy: of being grounded.
There are many debates about the ‘new normal’ buzzword, but the new normal will be a life that we create for ourselves – creating moments of being grounded is essential to keep us feeling balanced and secure.
The couple that plays together, stays together
Hardship draws different ways of coping from everyone. Some might naturally reach out to share the load of stress that they carry, whereas others might withdraw into their own minds, closing off in an impenetrable shell. While the latter might make you feel protected against the world, you stand the risk of losing touch with your loved one.
When you reach out to your partner for physical touch, emotional support, or commonplace interactions, you are learning to deal with hardship as a united front, and two are always better than one. Spending recreational time together indulging in games or shared pursuits during times of heightened stress help you come out the other end stronger than before.
It keeps the connections open
If you use this period to develop stress-free intimacy with your partner, you will develop more boldness to recreate these moments the next time you go through stressful situations; you may be able to apply the same winning formula. It should be much easier to connect and share your worries going forward.
During uncertain times like these, it may be tempting to ‘go with the flow’ and ‘take every day as it comes’. Before you know it, though, you could be constantly scrolling through news channels and soaking up negativity on social media, ignoring your significant other.
It takes a concerted effort to plan stress-free times with your partner: you actually need to schedule moments in which you both focus on nothing but fun, play and creativity. Before you know it, life will look much less dreary, and you’ll be able to face the storms again. Together.