1) Don’t Panic:
With so many possible sources of information, it can be hard to stave off panic and unfounded pessimism. To fend off panic, you must prioritize reason and realism. One way to do this is to get information from credible sources such as the World Health Organization, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, and the John Hopkins Center for Health Security. The University of Tennessee has a Covid resource site which provides good information regarding local numbers and cases. Remember to set limits on how much news you consume each day. It is not good for you to keep re-checking facts. It just takes you down a wormhole, and makes it more likely you will make snap decisions based on how easily the information comes to mind.
2) Be Creative:
The one good thing about your world turning upside down and sideways is that you now have a choice about how you put it back together. Being socially restricted may provide an opportunity to engage creatively together as a couple. With fewer social events, you can use this time to learn something new as a couple or a family. You can find anything on YouTube, from how to build a greenhouse to learning to tango. Don’t be afraid to try something totally new together.
3) Re-create Your Daily Routine:
Changes, and constant reappraisals of school, work, and managing Covid -19 exposures along with resulting quarantines can throw a couple and a family off-kilter. Changes in routines can lead to stress in both adults and children. Whether you are working from home briefly or long term, homeschooling during a 2 week quarantine, or going virtual for the whole year, try to follow a similar routine as going to the office. Get up, get dressed (yes, put on pants- pants are not truly canceled), and carve out a designated space for work. Encourage your kids to develop a designated schedule for school work. There is no specific right way to do this, but a routine generally makes life feel more normal and under control.
4) Work to Remain Positive:
The human brain prioritizes the negative. This is because what goes wrong can hurt us, what is going right rarely does. Your brain will naturally remember negative experiences and news with more intensity than positive news or experiences, so staying positive takes some effort on your part. Purposefully notice the times of laughter, joy and connection in your partnership or family.
5) Do Small Things Often for Your Partner:
According to John Gottman, a well known marriage researcher, the motto for making marriage last is “small things often”. Small acts are powerful ways to enhance the positivity of your marriage. Examples of “small acts” can mean picking up dinner when you know your partner has had a tough day of balancing homeschooling and working from home, or even suggesting a show to watch together. These small acts show your partner that you are thinking of them and accumulate over time to buffer times of conflict.
Empathy is one of the deepest forms of human connection. Saying things like “it makes sense to me that you feel…” helps your partner feel like you are on the same team. Feeling “gotten” can go a long way to smooth troubled waters. Empathy is a space of connection, a feeling of being understood and seen that is a powerful form of connection. Empathy breaks apart shame and judgement, and allows us to feel and be felt. Brené Brown has a wonderful short film on empathy. You can see it here  https://youtu.be/1Evwgu369Jw
7) Accept Your Partner’s Perspective:
Try to accept your partner’s experience of this time even if doesn’t mirror your own. Validation does not have to mean agreement. It simply means you are able to take on your partner’s perspective for a moment.