Whether you’ve modified your routines to avoid COVID exposure or the modifications were imposed from the outside, all of us have experienced changes in our routines since 2020. We’re spending more time inside, more time with fewer people and—probably—more time doing the same things. Routines can be helpful in terms of keeping us on task, but routines have a downside as well.
If you think about your average week, you probably don’t have anything in your calendar like, ‘make time for a new hobby’ or ‘reconnect with your spouse’. Routines tend to be pragmatic and our schedules are created around doing the same tasks over and over. Chances are the pandemic has limited the variety of your routines. The downside (as it relates to your relationships) is that limited routines may not help you maintain a strong connection with your partner, it may even put pressure on your relationship. If you do the same thing every day, every week, every month you may get bored, get irritable, maybe take some things in your life for granted.
If you stop and think about the patterns in your life right now and that statement rings true, there are some steps you can take to slow or reverse that trend. Here are some suggestions:
Think Differently about your routines. Do you have to do the same things you’ve been doing since 2020, or are you just letting things take the same course because it’s easier? Can you introduce a new hobby, a new activity or a break in your usual routine? One side effect of the pandemic is that more hobbies and activities are available online or by mail. Take a look at your options and try something new.
Plan a Break from your usual routines. Let’s say for example you finish the day’s responsibilities and tend to fall into your screens (Smart Phone, TV, Internet). There is nothing wrong with enjoying some entertainment, but when the screen is on, you’re not communicating. Can you take one night a week (or one hour a night) and break that routine? That hour or that evening could be the time you learn the most about what’s going on with your partner and spend some time working on your connection.
If the stress of a restricted or repetitive routine is leading to frequent conflict, it might be time to think about researching couples counseling in Vermont. If a new hobby or a break from your usual diversions isn’t going to alter the argument or change the disruptive levels of stress in your relationship—especially if the conflict is frequent—it might be time to think about working on the relationship in a more active way. Talk therapy may be the answer. When you reach out to one of our therapists, you can discuss the issues you’re confronting and choose a format that will work best for you. You may decide a one-on-one session will be the most productive or perhaps a couples counseling format will work better.
Hopefully these suggestions help you explore your options and break out of the negative effects of routine you may be struggling with in your relationship.