The pressure of ongoing isolation to stop the spread of COVID-19 is putting a strain on our relationships. The lockdown fatigue is getting to us and we need to equip ourselves with better ways to cope. Psychotherapist, Corporate Trainer and Professional Speaker Ashika Mehta, shares with Ladies Who Lead, 3 strategies to maintain healthy relationships during lockdown fatigue.
A study by Barton and Colleagues (2015) showed that couples who express gratitude to one another reduce negative communication such as the anger, blame and resentment in their relationship. This observation is important because it shows that when your attention is focused on the good in your partner, you tend to experience the negative less in them.
It’s natural to be resentful of your partner or be irritable with family members, especially during lockdown. However, making a mindful effort to think about what you appreciate in your partner everyday makes you focus on the good in them and increases your sense of well-being. This principle can be applied to relationships with all the people you are in lockdown with. It could be parents, in-laws and even children.
The research on wellbeing tells us that subjective well-being increases far more through memorable experiences than through achievement or acquiring material possessions. It sounds counter-intuitive but sharing novel or special experiences makes us feel more connected to those around us, thereby increasing a subjective sense of well-being.
Take some time to create a fun experience with those you are in lockdown with. It could be something as simple as playing a board game together, dressing up or even cooking or painting together. Think about the creative experiences you can come up with. Partners, kids, parents and roommates will all enjoy this.
Mediation is known to increase subjective well-being and connection with others. Several researchers such as Fredriskson et. al. (2008) have shown that those who mediate daily are happier because they are better at being present in the moment. Their mind does not wander into thinking about past grievances or worries of the future. Being present allows them to enjoy interactions with others in their environment.
The research by Hutcherson et. al. (2008) also showed that those who did loving, kindness meditation felt more connected to those around them. It increased tolerance and compassion which are much needed in a lockdown situation. These practices can help you feel more peaceful and focus on the positive in a lockdown where personal space is limited.
Beginner should try guided mediations which can easily be found online.
Maintaining healthy relationships during lockdown is only possible when you put conscious effort into them.
A practicing psychotherapist, with a Masters in Clinical Social Work from Columbia University, Ashika has done intensive post trauma work with those affected in the terror attacks of 26/11 and also facilitated therapy groups for those with chronic illnesses. Balancing patients and her corporate workshops, Ashika is also a Board Member of Apne Aap Women’s Collective, an NGO that rehabilitates women in prostitution and creates educational and job opportunities for the children of sex workers.
She has been on the management team of Vinati Organics Limited since 2006 and balances the technical/manufacturing execution with her marketing abilities combined with new age aggression.