Last night I had the pleasure of appearing on BBC Radio Cumbria on the Darren Milby Evening Show!
In case you missed it, I thought I would embellish for you on the questions that he asked me.
Here are some top tips for managing and celebrating your relationship amidst Lockdown!
Q What's your advice for people to make the most of Valentine's Day in Lockdown?
Lockdown, in truth, allows us to simplify Valentine's day this year. It creates an opportunity to show our partner how much we care in a meaningful way.
The main thing is to be lighthearted about it, let go of any pressure for grand gestures and instead create smaller but more thoughtful gestures.
Think about what your partner loves, their favourite food or meal, their favourite drink, and what they see as a real treat.
It's more about how you are making your partner feel rather than where you are going or what you are doing. Use valentines day this year as an opportunity to show that you have thought about them, and show love and appreciation; this will increase the connection between you.
If your partner has been homeschooling all day or under pressure at work, run them a bubble bath and pour them their favourite drink with some candles. Even a half-hour or hour to themselves will make them feel loved and appreciated. Could you buy them a candle or some lovely bath salts to go with it?
Ask yourself, what does my partner love? If your partner loves wine, or cheese, long walks, the beach or walking by the river, plan a day that incorporates their favourite things.
You can also ask yourself what has been your or your partners favourite date together? Is there any way you can recreate that or parts of it at home? Where can you go for a walk that they love?
Obviously, you can get a takeaway but you can do so much more than eat it whilst watching television!
First of all, create the space.
Please turn off the TV and put their favourite music on.
Put your phones away!
Maybe light candles.
Focus on each other.
Dress up just for your partner like you would if you were going out for a night out.
Make the conversation romantic.
Tell them what you are grateful for about them.
Tell them what you love about them.
Find out something you didn't know about them.
Have a living room picnic!
If you are married, play your wedding video, look at your wedding photos. If you're not married, you could root out some photos of when you first met or of your favourite holiday.
We want to be seen within our relationships; we need to know that we matter, that our partner truly cares. At the moment, this can be difficult, due to the pressure that many people are experiencing.
We can use Valentine's day to stop and intentionally show our partner how much they mean to us.
These suggestions will take some planning ahead. If you are off work, you could make small loving gestures for your partner throughout the day.
Q What are your tips for working from home with a partner? Homeschooling?
Communication is key.
Have a meeting about it; you can't avoid it, so face it head-on and create a plan for how it will work. Explore your expectations of each other and be honest if you feel that they are too much or that you may need help with certain things.
Try to be flexible and see things from your partners perspective as well as your own.
Understand and acknowledge that it isn't easy for either of you and decide together that you are both committed to making it work, as a team.
Ensure you have your own space where possible—physical space as in workspace and time alone or with others online.
Plan to have time together and time apart. Planning is essential to add structure to the day and to add interest also. Allowing days to pass by taking them as they come may seem easy-going. Still, eventually, the lack of growth and purpose can lead to low mood and lack of motivation.
Make an effort to have lunch together and have a conversation to break up the day. Maybe plan a nice lunch and take turns in making it.
With homeschooling be realistic. Whilst education is important, so are relationships and arguing about how much work is being done isn't going to helo anyone. Take the pressure off and set small achievable goals for yourselves and your child.
Q What do you do as a relationship coach?
I work with couples and individuals to help them to heal their relationship and to move it forward regardless of how bad it may seem at the moment. I help them see what is working within their relationship and then coach them to create more understanding and empathy and improve communication. This clarity helps to increase their feelings of love and connection.
Most couples who come to me want to stay together, but they don't know how to make it work or how to get it back to how it used to be and that's where I can help.
I use strategies in sessions that clients find incredibly enlightening. They start to see their relationship in a more positive light.
I give my clients actions to take during the week, which tends to create change very quickly. These actions can include changing how they communicate, behave or doing things for and with their partner.
Q How can couples make life feel less boring in Lockdown?
It can be easy to re-live the same day repeatedly.
Motivation can understandably wain, but it is vital to put effort into your life and your relationship even though it is restricted.
Try to see Lockdown as an opportunity for your relationship to grow, make it better, do things differently, and set the intention that it will improve.
Do it with purpose, adding purpose motivates us and helps us grow, which is essential to our mental well being.
Do, first of all, set intentions - what do you want your relationship to be like, how do you want to feel?
Plan activities throughout the week that you can do together.
Maybe you could cook/paint/dance together depending on what interests you have, maybe you like to cook, and your partner likes to eat?
Go through old photos and make albums.
Create a vision board - create a visible representation of your future together. It is exciting to plan your future even if you have been together for a long time!
Plan surprise 'dates'. Even if they are in the house they are still a surprise!
Play games that uplift you.
Learn something random and new together, be lighthearted.
Q How many people have been coming to you since March with relationship struggles? Has it increased?
It has undoubtedly had a significant impact on relationships.
It is interesting because a lot of couples have become closer during Lockdown. For the couples who weren't getting enough time together and whose relationship was struggling, they have been able to reconnect and fill in what has been missing.
For others, unfortunately, it has unfolded quite differently.
Issues that have been bubbling under the surface have been exposed, and couples are forced to face up to them. Even matters of contention that they were not aware of suddenly become a problem. You do have the potential to use these conflicts as information that will help you to make changes.
If you can, take a step back and allow yourself to study these challenges. If your partner is willing to speak with you about them openly, you may find that you can resolve them. It can be an opportunity for you to address issues and put them right. So can be a blessing in disguise for couples who are willing to act upon them, especially if they are willing to get professional help.
So yes, I have seen the effects that lockdowns have affected couples. Still, couples have also sought help because of the situation that they may not have done before.
If you feel that now is the right time to create change in your relationship please do get in touch with me via my website or on the number below.