A large part of the world’s population is currently being encouraged to stay indoors, to maintain social distancing to reduce the spread and effect of coronavirus COVID-19. Many people are not used to spending so much time in one place with their partner, so this month, as we consider how to develop healthy relationships, we thought we would explore ideas on how to relax with your partner at home, during what is quite an anxious and challenging time.
External stress can create tension in any relationship. Being cooped up in one space for an extended period of time with your loved one also has the potential to cause friction. If you are a fan of Friends, like John and I are, you might remember the scene where Rachel says to Ross “…breathe harder Ross” – even the sound of his breathing was irritating to her! If you sometimes feel like that, know that it is a normal reaction to abnormal circumstances and that this too shall pass. In the meantime, before exchanging sour words recognise when you both need your own space! Then, make some plans to give you and your partner some structure for the time ahead. Consider how you can make this time special with and for your partner and think how to make your relationship stronger.
Doing joint activities, which you both enjoy and find relaxing, is one way to build your connection with each other. The ideas below are some of the thoughts we had for activities that you can do together with your partner at home, to help you relax together and enhance your relationship.
Six ideas to relax with your partner
1. Dress up for a special meal
Imagine you are going on a date with your partner, to celebrate a special occasion. Make the time to get ready, setting your hair, with makeup and perfume / aftershave. Dress in clothes that you look and feel good in. Set the table with your best crockery and glassware, add some flowers from the garden into a vase, add candles, find some soft music and dim the lights. Order in food or perhaps agree that one of you will cook the main course and the other will prepare the dessert. Prepare it as a surprise if you can, so take it in turns in the kitchen. There are lots of recipe ideas on our health and wellbeing blog here. I know I always really appreciate it when John cooks a meal for me. If you have children, perhaps you can rope them in, to be the waiter/ess and give them some pocket money if they clean up for you!
2. Meditate together
Meditating with someone can provide motivation and encouragement for you both to start a new habit together. There is something about sitting with one or more others in meditation, that can help to deepen the meditation experience. Find a quiet place, set aside 10 minutes and take a comfortable seat. Switch your phone onto airplane mode and set the timer. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Watch your breath coming in and out of your nose and mouth. Simply drop any thoughts that arise, let them go. When the timer dings at the end of the 10 minutes, gently open your eyes. Sit quietly with your partner for a little longer. If it helps, you can share your experience with each other.
The first time John and I meditated together, it initially felt somewhat strange and a little bit funny sitting in a room with eyes closed, not speaking! At the end however, I felt calmer personally, and there was also a sense of shared peace and calm between us.
3. Watch your top 10 films
One of my favourite date night activities is to go to the cinema with John. But you don’t need to go out to do this anymore. I suggest that each of you make a list of the 10 films that you would like to watch with your partner. They could be new films or old favourites. I suggest you make your list separately then agree that you will watch them together. Perhaps you could make five on your list something that you think your partner would enjoy watching. I know there are certain films that bring back memories of happy times, films that John and I have enjoyed together. Include some comedies on the list, plus a romantic comedy, and something that inspires you as a couple. Get into your pyjamas, light a candle and snuggle up on the sofa together beneath the duvet.
4. Exercise together
There are lots of videos on YouTube of exercise classes, things to keep fit and active at home. Maybe you could choose one to do together each day. To make it more fun, one day wear your silliest outfit, the next day your clothes have to be all blue or pink or glittery. The person with the silliest outfit or the most glitter gets a treat at the end – perhaps the best outfit gets a bath run for them and a glass of fresh juice brought in by your partner. Rebounding is great fun, although if you want to do it at the same time you will need to purchase two mini trampolines. (If you need to buy a rebounder, then read our article: How to choose the best rebounder for you). Try some of the moves in last month’s article: the health benefits of rebounding. It’s also good fun if one person leads and the other person follows, funny faces and all!
5. Practice yin yoga together
Yin yoga is a deeply relaxing style of yoga, which I love to practice as well as teach. I often find that by agreeing to practice yoga with John I am 100% more likely to do it than on my own. One of my favourite Yin teachers is Sarah Powers. She has a number of books and videos that are available to purchase. You can read my book and DVD review of Insight Yoga by Sarah Powers here.
6. Learn to play a new game
Have you ever wanted to learn to play Whist, Chess or Cribbage? Maybe there is a game that you have been thinking about trying for ages. Order your game and have it delivered to your door. Now is a perfect time to learn it together.
Come on a retreat together
Once the world returns to a place where we can travel again, you might like to consider coming on a relax and rejuvenate retreat at La Crisalida with your partner. It is always lovely for us here at the retreat when couples arrive on retreat together. Spending time with your partner in a quiet, relaxing environment can help to further deepen and enhance your connection.
I hope you find some time to relax and enjoy trying these ideas with your partner. Let me know how you get on!