By Steve and Angie McCord, authors of A Spiritual Path to a Healthy Relationship

We enjoyed an active and even enviable lifestyle: retired, traveling frequently, going to about six weekly meetings of various kinds, exercise and yoga classes, meals out with friends, and numerous other social activities—always on the go. So “social distancing” caught us by surprise. One night we experienced some difficulty due to a convergence of conflicting needs: Steve’s need to vent and express his negative feelings before moving into acceptance, and Angie’s need to feel serene and protect herself from negativity.  Fortunately, we were able to discuss our feelings so that we could better support each other. We have cataloged some things that are helping us adapt to this “new normal” of relative isolation:

  1. Cherishing our marriage: this is a time of intense gratitude for having each other, for being a couple, for not being home alone.
  2. Continuing our individual morning spiritual practices and checking in with each other a couple of times a day to discuss our process and reflections.
  3. Expressing and being in touch with our feelings, which may fluctuate between anxiety, acceptance, fear, appreciation, etc.
  4. Coming back to “now,” enjoying what there is to enjoy this day, and even allowing ourselves to feel happy despite what is going on. Remembering that, “This Too Shall Pass.”
  5. Keeping up some activity, whether it be walks, biking, dancing, at-home yoga or other exercise videos.
  6. Limiting the news we take into twice a day; we do want to be informed, but we do not need it in our consciousness constantly.
  7. Being of service: reaching out to others, especially family and friends who are at home alone.
  8. Relishing the extra time to attend to long-neglected household projects, establish order where we can, read, not have to rush off somewhere.
  9. Taking advantage of technology, websites, meditation apps, and Zoom meetings to keep our couples’ group and other meetings alive.
  10. Finding comfort in “normal” activities, such as cooking and cleaning our home and cars.
  11. Re-evaluating what is really important to us. Did we really need those travel plans, shopping trips, eating out, etc.? Now that our main priority is staying alive, our perspective has drastically changed. (Angie even canceled hair and nail appointments.)
  12. Enjoying this one-day and practicing constant gratitude for every single thing, no matter how small. Our guilty pleasure jokingly referred to as the “evening’s festivities,” consists of escapist TV shows, and “whooping it up” by adding popcorn a couple of times a week.

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