With the collective challenges of 2020, my annual “Best of Emotional and Relationship Health” featured post to ring in the New Year is a little different. Typically I share my most popular content of the past year only but this time I have cast the net widely over the vast library of LoveAndLifeToolbox.com to find what I believe to be the most relevant and helpful emotional health and relationship content to get you through the pandemic.
- This has been a marathon of sorts for months and people are tired. With light at the end of the tunnel but not quite here yet, it’s important to continue to find ways to hang in there emotionally. Here are some ways to do that.
- When things are tough, it can be difficult to notice the things that despite this, are going well. Linda says that gratitude allows us a “respite from the suffering, even for a few moments….(it) drops us into a space where our survival patterns of responding to hurt, danger, life threat aren’t operating…”
- Anxiety and depression have been exacerbated for many due to underlying historical vulnerabilities. This hasn’t been surprising for some, especially if they’ve done therapy, but with ongoing stress from COVID, others are blindsided and possibly realizing there is wisdom to looking back at their earlier lives. A look at family of origin work, core beliefs and how they can create emotional vulnerability.
- Your brain has a powerful negativity bias that ends to over-focus on the bad stuff. According to Rick, “We need to recognize genuinely bad news for our own sake and to take care of others. But we also need to recognize good news: things that are useful, reassuring, inspiring, opportunities, solutions, etc.”
- These times have been anxiety provoking for many and emotional self regulation is crucial. Here are 12 ways to stay as calm as possible.
Same Storm, Different Boats but Something We All Have, Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT
- Despite the vast experiences we have all had with COVID, there is one thing we all have to rely on when we need it.
- Marriages and relationships are also taking a hit during the pandemic. Couples are spending possibly more time together than ever which for some has been positive but for many others, a challenge. A look at things you and your partner can do to address the issues that come up.
Relationships in Quarantine, Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT
- Couples are being challenged in the amount of time being spent together, which is not natural. Some ideas about ways to manage the stressors of too much togetherness.
- During COVID people are being emotionally triggered in ways they never realized they could and possibly using unhealthy coping mechanisms like alcohol consumption (which is at record levels). Having been raised raised in the home of an alcoholic is a complicated, painful matter that can come to light in many ways. Amy does a deep dive into what it’s like to love an “ACA.” What is often painfully clear is you can’t fix your partner’s problems.
How to Be a Better Friend, Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT
- A silver lining of the pandemic is many are learning the importance of the most important people in their lives. Isolation and social separation from those we care about has been painful. Many are having more meaningful conversations as a result. A look at different types of friendships and how to be the best friend you can be.
How to Encourage Your Partner to Take Better Care of Themselves While Strengthening Your Relationship, Joy Nordenstrom, CMM, MBA
- It’s been said that people are either “really fit or really fat” as a result of the last many months. Self-care has gone into the toilet for many. Joy looks at how to encourage your partner to adapt a healthy lifestyle while getting some benefit of a stronger relationship while you’re at it.
Couples: Virus Fear vs. Virus Fatigue, Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT
- People have different ideas about how to stay safe (or whether there is even a need) which also can be reflected in relationships as well. A look at how to manage the issue of misaligned views on mask wearing, social distancing and behavior around COVID in general.
Roadblocks to Forgiveness, Richard Nicastro, PhD
- Now more than ever we need to give each other a break. The stress baseline for us all is expectedly higher as we manage all things associated with a pandemic. Relationships are strained too and mistakes are made as we all do our best to deal with this thing. Rich explores how couples can figure out what’s blocking forgiveness in their relationship.
Lastly, Something to Contemplate…
How Will You Be Different? Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT
- This pandemic has forever changed us all. Is there anything you will take with you to the days when it’s behind us?
This is the seventh end of year posts I’ve done, the first one in 2014. Now in 2020, we celebrate somberly for all that has transpired. I humbly offer compassion and empathy for those of you who have lost or have yet to lose much until this chapter is legitimately closed.
Along with angst is joy of 2021 finally closing the door on 2020’s behind! In honor of this, through midnight Sunday January 3rd, I am offering 50% off all products and services sold on my site (excluding third party offers) to strengthen your emotional health and relationships heading into the New Year and beyond.
I wish you a healthy and peaceful 2021 where reconnection and togetherness without worry can once again be ours.
The light at the end of this long, dark tunnel is in sight!
Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT