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Keeping relationships healthy during stressful pandemic

Dr. Amy Bowers (ABC7)
Dr. Amy Bowers (ABC7)
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Healthy relationships take work, whether it’s with your significant other, family or friends.

A Northern Virginia clinical psychologist has tips on how to navigate connections in the time of coronavirus. If the stress of COVID-19 is putting an extra burden on your relationships, Dr. Amy Bowers says you’re not alone.

“The conflicts are going to happen right now. People are more tense and anxious and that might be if people are physically separated and can’t see each other and be present with each other or if we’re in close quarters all the time,” she told ABC7 reporter Victoria Sanchez.

Feelings of frustration can create a domino effect for the family.

“It’s important to try to talk about scheduling time, together time, connected time and to try to schedule time, even if it’s 15 or 20 minutes, to be apart, alone time. People have different needs, but everyone does need it.”

“And 15 minutes will make a difference?” asked Sanchez.

“It can. Especially if you’re intentional about it,” she said.

Romantic relationships need even more understanding and patience than usual, says Bowers. Even a little creativity.

“If you’re in the same house, you might try to make a nice dinner or pull out a movie you want to watch or maybe get out of your pajamas and dress up nicely,” she said with a smile.

If you’re 2,000 miles apart or just two miles down the road, the clinical psychologist suggests preparing for a phone call or video chat and be present in the moment.

“You could also write letters and send gifts through the mail,” she said of long-distance relationships.

The phrase “communication is key” is a common saying. It just might be the right time to brush up on that skill.

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“The most important thing is to have a stance of, ‘I really need to be as patient, kind and flexible as I can with myself and everyone I encounter,’” said Bowers.

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