Anxiety is hard on relationships. It is so hard when being overwhelmed by anxiety, and just as hard to watch someone you love being overwhelmed by it. Anxiety can be hard to explain to others, and it can be so easy to lose patience with a partner who worries. The increase of anxiety due to Covid-19 has been added to the burden placed on relationships, and if you are noticing that your bouts with anxiety is impacting your relationship, you can find some ideas that may be helpful in self-regulating here, here, and here. If you have a partner or spouse who experiences anxiety, you can be a help to them by remember to be present, be supportive, and be self-aware.
Tip #1 — Be Present:
When your partner is sharing a fear, concern, or worry, it’s helpful to set your “Animal Crossing” to the side and simply be present. Look your spouse or partner in the eye. Hear their words. You don’t have to have any answers. In many cases it is best not to try to have answers. Presence can actually be one of the more powerful things you can offer to another human being. It is healing.
Tip #2 — Be Supportive:
It can be far too easy to tell someone why they should not worry. Instead of going the route of “Hey, don’t worry! Everything is going to be okay,” which can feel invalidating to your spouse or partner, maybe turn it into “You’re concerned about _____. Your concern makes sense. I’m here with you. We will figure this out together. Is there something that we can do to help alleviate some of this stress, and if so, what would it be?”
Tip #3 — Be Self-Aware:
This is so important in any relationship. We all operate within relational systems, and when anxiety is impacting one person, there is a chance that it is impacting multiple people. Paying attention to what is going on inside of us and doing things that is rejuvenating or brings peace is so important. If your bucket of self-care or self-love is empty, it is impossible to have the patience to care for others. Eat well. Get sleep. Exercise. Meditate. We are not sure when the society returns to “normal,” if ever. Do the things you need to do to care for yourself so that you can be fully present and fully supportive when it is needed.
Anxiety that crops up in your relationship or marriage can be managed during this time. If the anxiety is not yours, then you are not responsible for “fixing it,” but you can be a source of calm by remembering to be present, be supportive, and remaining self-aware.
Wellspace Counseling is located in Tualatin, Oregon and serves Tualatin, Lake Oswego, and the Greater Portland Metro Area. To find more information about Wellspace Counseling, visit the at www.wellspacepdx.com.