It’s that time of year again; Valentine’s Day is this weekend. This may yield a “hooray!” for some, and a “ugh not again” for others, but one thing is certain: it will look different this year thanks to the pandemic.
Whether you’re in a romantic relationship or not, COVID has changed the way we connect and show care for one another as human beings. The recognition that connecting by way of, “I’m a hugger!” being long-gone hit me the other day. I hug my friends, I hug my parents, I grab people’s arms intently when I’m telling a story to incite feeling for dramatic effect. At least, I used to. I’m a feeler. Well, now I guess … I was?
Even with the vaccine rate on the rise, hugging and being in physical close-enough-to-touch proximity is a no, no. There’s a whole slew of “huggers”, of show don’t [always do the best job of] tell, show affection through physical connection humans out there who are struggling. Maybe you don’t even realize it on a day-to-day basis, but looking back, the cumulative effect this year of physical isolation has had on your relationships can have a big impact emotionally.
Take some time to get in touch with yourself and evaluate a few things:
- Where do my current relationships stand? Sit and evaluate your relationships. We are almost one full year into quarantine and social distancing. Are there friends you saw regularly but now haven’t spoken to in months? Are you feeling lonely or isolated? Do you and your spouse or partner watch TV every night, while also scrolling through your phones on social media because you’re longing for a social connection? Slow down and meet yourself where you’re at, as an observer, without judgment.
- How do I show love and connection and how do I feel loved and connected to by others? You may have heard of the 5 love languages before, but brushing up on the types and knowing your primary one is vital. Keep in mind, you may also show love very differently then you receive it. And this isn’t just for couples– Parents and children, Teens, and even singles benefit from this quiz/evaluation and the insight the answers can bring big time as well!
- How can I honor the power of my words, even if it’s not my primary type? Language is powerful. And in a time where we see one another over a screen or from behind a mask, our words are more important than ever. In order to authentically connect in a COVID-healing world, we must not only acknowledge our own thoughts and feelings, but we must also be able to express them to the important people around us. Remember to first think, then breathe, then speak. Actively listen to the person you’re communicating with and don’t be afraid to clarify or start over. There’s no harm in saying, “I’m not sure I’m expressing myself authentically right now. I’m going to take a pause and get my words together so I can talk about how I’m really feeling/what I really mean.” Or even, “I’m sorry, I wasn’t really listening. Let me finish this thing (or put my phone down) so you have my full attention.”
Looking for a few tidbits to help you focus on your relationship this week? Listen to Drs. John & Julie Gottman chat with Brenè Brown on her podcast, Unlocking Us, on What Makes Love Last. Or go read this gem from a few years back, on the famous 36 questions (side note: I wonder if it would work over a computer screen?). Or view our archive on relationships and find what speaks to you this week (romantic, friend, family- all relationships). Either way, we hope you find connection somewhere this Valentines Day, starting with your-Self.
Remember to first think, then breathe, then speak.