Staying in touch in times of COVID-19 pandemic

LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIPS. Once something of a rarity became everyday reality. For a lot of us. And it doesn’t take rocket science to assess that the culprit is as usual Covid-19. With the pandemic bringing lock-downs and travel restrictions, it’s not only young, unsettled couples but also older people who have to overcome the obstacles of keeping in touch while not being physically together.

Family gathering

There are ways to make long-distance relationships work that are generally applicable. Yet, this new situation has to be taken into account and that’s why when putting together the following few pieces of advice we brought to life an imaginary grandma Agnes for whom we will have some special tips.

Take a look at the bright side

First and furthermost it must be said that there are quite a few positive things that can be said about long distance relationships. Research suggests that couples living in the long-distance relationships create stronger bonds than those from geographically close ones. Not being able to communicate with a partner instantly seems to make us value the communication more and thus making it deeper and more attentive. OK, now tell it to grandma Agnes, who hasn’t seen her grandchildren for ages. Well, she can at least take some comfort from the fact that if the pandemic struck several years ago, there would be no Skype, Zoom or Meet allowing her to see them at least on the screen. By the way, this is called positive thinking, which you can find more on in our article.

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What tools to use

Talking about technologies, the ease and especially the abundance of them is both a blessing and a curse. For long-distance relationships the general advice is to prefer video calls over texting because written words can bring a considerable amount of confusion in the long term. Otherwise, the choice is a matter of agreement between the communicating parties. Some prefer Instagram, others Facebook. Just make sure that when trying to connect with someone, you are not actually checking on your partner. You simply can’t know every single step your partner is taking during the day, so don’t act as a snooping detective

And what about grandma Agnes who has trouble with all these “intuitive interfaces”? As far as the computers are concerned, you can easily help her with remote desktop apps such as TeamViewer.

Be wise in using technologies

Now this is finally something that you can easily apply to communication with anybody, grandma Agnes included. When making a video/phone call, really be there for the other person. That naturally means no multitasking and also planning ahead the time you connect with each other. And that takes mutual understanding because what might work for one doesn’t have to work for the other. As far as the topics are concerned, be intimate. That means both talking about serious matters and sharing details with your partner. Instead of saying “I had an unpleasant call with my boss” talk more about what was it about and what made it unpleasant. This helps your partner to feel as if he or she was witnessing the whole thing with you. Sure, especially during lockdowns when we don’t have spectacularly interesting lives, the daily conversations might get boring. Then don’t be afraid of asking deeper or unusual questions. You can even make a game such as figuring out a funny question each day – something like “What animal you dislike most?”

Outreach to the real world

Even though technologies are powerful, they can never be a full substitution of the real thing. So, make sure you have something tangible around you that reminds you of your partner. It can be a piece of clothing or a stone you two found on the beach last summer. And don’t forget time proven analogue means of communication like written letters or postcards. Of course, you can send grandma Agnes a picture of her grandchildren by e-mail but she won’t put it on her fridge as she would probably do if you printed them out and stuck them in an envelope. Also, you can order a present and have it delivered to your loved one. Unexpected knocking on the door from a delivery man is surprising even during Christmas. 

Do stuff together

Last but not least, don’t forget you can do stuff together even when you are physically distanced. What about watching the same movie on Netflix at the same time? Or create a collaborative playlist on Spotify where both of you can add or reorder songs. Grandma Agnes wouldn’t probably go for that as well as playing a 3D shooter with you but maybe if you offered her to play a backgammon game, we bet, she would be grateful.

Family gathering

After trying these tips, if you still feel that you don’t have a handle on your relationships, maybe you could use our coaches advice on the matter. Sometimes, just one consultation is enough to help you build more solid grounds. The good news is that mynd offers you the first consultation, no strings attached.

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