How to maintain a long-distance relationship during COVID-19

How can we improve our relationship when we are forced to live it from a distance?

In the situation we are living in of a worldwide health crisis, one of the many changes we are living is the absence of physical contact; the prohibition-recommendation of not touching, not kissing, not hugging, being at least 1-2 meters away from people and being physically isolated, distanced from those people with whom we do not live together, to the point that many people are now alone for many weeks. This makes the relationship really difficult and even more so in our country, where contact, closeness, affection, is something inherent in the way we relate to each other.

In relation to our coping, there is something that is surprising us about the population, about people, about our society, about ourselves, and that is how well we are adapting to this extraordinary situation. Adaptation is about learning, remaking ourselves, discovering other ways of doing things.

Despite the distance we are discovering that we can still feel close to our loved ones, the key here is communication, the motivation to contact through the phone, WhatsApp, videoconferences, social networks, videos, forums, or through the window with the neighbor across the street.

It is important to overcome laziness, sadness, apathy, and get out of isolation, say yes to new technologies, say yes to open the window and talk to the neighbor with whom perhaps you had never spoken before, say yes to go out at 8 pm to applaud and have contact with your city, with your neighborhood, propose daily to pick up the phone and call someone close to you. Collaborate with social movements, volunteering and support, to feel part of a project, of a team with a utility and with the aim of collaborating in a common good and improve the lives of many people who are suffering at this time.

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Stop and analyze what you are doing, value your achievements, your efforts, and review those behaviors that perhaps you can change to relate more and better with your environment.

How can we avoid feeling lonely?

Unfortunately, confinement has meant that there are currently many people who are physically alone and, although we would like to change this, we cannot, at least for now. This situation is generating confusion and discomfort for many people and families.

But when we talk about loneliness I like to differentiate between physical loneliness and emotional loneliness, that is, we can be physically alone, because we live alone, because we cannot have physical contact with anyone; but we are not alone emotionally speaking, since we can have many people around us who care about us, call us, help us or we know that even if they do not call us, they love us and appreciate us.

Loneliness in itself does not have to be a negative emotion, of course it generates unpleasant sensations, but also thanks to solitude we can know ourselves better, have time and space for ourselves, to discover ourselves, to strengthen ourselves, to value changes in our life. Loneliness invites reflection, self-knowledge, encourages creativity. If at this time you feel loneliness and you feel that it takes over you, promoting moments of pain, of much rumination and constant worries, try to change your attitude, focus on what you can do to feel less lonely.

Make a routine schedule, telephone your loved ones, make a list of all the people in your life and try to call them, be interested in each of them, in their lives, share experiences, experiences, but try not to recreate yourself in your pain and in your current situation of loneliness. Letting off steam is healthy, recreating yourself will harm you.

Fortunately this situation will come to an end, we don’t know when, but it will, and soon you will be able to return to your old routine. Now let’s try not to feed back on our loneliness and look for rewarding activities, devote time to old hobbies or dabble in new activities. Connect to virtual classes, take advantage of this opportunity to train, learn, take courses, get in shape. Handling loneliness today is a matter of attitude.

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Is there a healthy way to miss? How can we practice it?

Missing is a natural, healthy and necessary reaction. When we are fond of someone and something and we do not have it near us, or we cannot have it, we cannot enjoy it, practice, eat, etc., it is normal that emotions arise such as melancholy, homesickness, nostalgia, sadness, anger, for not being able to share time with that person or for not being able to enjoy what we do not have or cannot have.

But missing also has its positive side, because it helps us to value much more what we have when we have it, and sometimes when we do not notice the absence, we are not aware of how important it is for us, how lucky we are to have it.

Missing helps us to value more, to be more grateful and to learn to live more consciously and focused on the present.

I recommend, in order to miss in a healthy way, to be flexible with this feeling, that is, to allow ourselves to feel it, without judging and without getting angry. Dedicate some time to those emotions and feelings that want to tell us something and listen to them and learn from the experience. To be tolerant with ourselves and not to get angry, but at the same time not to fall into complaining, but to look for solutions and possible assessment of changes from now on,

What advice would you give to take advantage of this opportunity and come out stronger in the relationship?

  • Try to have a routine schedule similar to the routine schedule you had before the confinement, that way you will feel an order in this extraordinary situation.
  • Express how you feel, share your experiences, emotions, both positive and negative with your loved ones, unburdening will help you cope with this stressful situation and release a lot of tension.
  • Take the opportunity to foster closer ties with your loved ones, with your family, with your partner, dedicating quality time to be with those who matter most to you, generating healthier and deeper bonds.
  • Dedicate time for self-observation, personal reflection, finding yourself, getting to know yourself and allowing yourself moments to be with yourself, working on how you talk to yourself, what you say to yourself, encouraging flexibility and tolerance with yourself.
  • Learn to identify how you feel, spend time identifying, analyzing and managing your emotions, without blaming yourself and without worrying about what you feel, normalizing each emotional process.
  • Be grateful, value what you have daily, sometimes we forget. Take the opportunity to express positive emotions to others, they are always appreciated and you will feel great doing it.
  • Try to find a social objective in which you can feel useful, that your work helps to reduce suffering or make someone’s life easier. Help others, think about volunteering, support, participate, get involved in a social project.
  • Promote your own self-care, encourage a balanced diet, take care of your diet, do sports daily, spend time working on mindfulness and take care of the speed of your movements and the way you communicate.
  • Take this opportunity to do everything that you can not do in your day to day for lack of time, consider taking up pending issues, it will help you to increase your personal satisfaction.
  • Smile, enjoy, laugh, encourage activities that generate pleasant emotions, live.