Maintaining Healthy Relationships

Hello again! Welcome to the third week of our blog posts that come directly from our weekly livestream. We've updated the time to better reflect when you're available, so now our livestream will happen on Thursdays at 8pm on Facebook and Instagram. We hope that you're able to join us, because your questions and responses are a big part of making it a success!

This week's topic was healthy relationships. Most respondents indicated that they have healthy relationships right now, and are maintaining them through communication, giving each other spacing, and practicing grounding techniques. Excellent news!

The same is not true for everyone, and even the best of relationships are under strain right now. Given that, the big question is: how can we maintain and/or improve our relationships in the current crisis? That's what this blog post is all about! For some great advice from a variety of sources, keep on reading:

Managing Stress

*Hard to connect when we are stressed! Have to work on dealing with our stress levels before we can truly connect with others.

1) Turn unpredictable stress into predictable stress with dosing

“There are ways to turn the unpredictability and uncontrollability of the stress we are experiencing into something that is a little bit more digestible, moderate predictable stress. Stress is not really a bad thing, it’s just bad if its present in these unpredictable, extreme or prolonged ways.” (Perry & MacPherson, 2020).

Those who sit in front of TV and worry can become more vulnerable. Those who have a schedule (get up at same time every day, have a routine) , create structure that takes the unpredictability and makes it predictable. Scheduling our time is an effective way to manage stress in many ways. “‘Just like we tell people in normal circumstances: schedule date nights, schedule time, and then schedule time to be apart from each other," said Wasser. 'If you have room, get into different parts of the house and spend some time separately, because I think that's important too.’” (Nathoo, 2020).

Dr. Perry makes a really good point as well, in that if you go for a 45-minute walk/jog once a day, that doesn’t mean you’ll be regulated for 24 hours. You should also get up every 25-30 minutes and do 5 minutes of walking, deep breathing, stretching, grounding exercises, yoga stances, etc (what works for you). Practise dosing; tiny doses of regulatory activity will make you feel less stressed. Start dosing in little ways throughout the day.

The major way we regulate is in context with other people, and we’re not meant to be close to others. We want to physically distance but stay emotionally close. Be intentional about using your phone to contact other people, e.g. 5-minute phone call to someone close to you. If we’re intentional about that communication, that can be good!

Note: playing video games is actually a regulating dissociating activity. 20 minutes every couple of hours might not be a bad idea.

2) How to regulate, relate and reason to communicate more efficiently

Regulate, relate, reason: sequential processing in the brain. If you quiet down and regulate, it allows you to effectively connect with someone and they will be able to hear more accurately what you’re saying. Regulation is the key to communication!