With COVID-19 rightly all over the news, it's more important than ever to find the little things to appreciate. Whether it's a beautiful sunset, a long walk with your dog, or a successful day of homeschooling—these moments of appreciation will keep you going. If you're lucky enough to be with your partner during this time, then chances are you're in extra need of some love-filled appreciation. Let's be honest—being cooped up with your significant other without much alone time can be difficult no matter how great your love is.
I've learned that the key to staying strong in a relationship through a unique time like this is to focus on gratitude. Take a few minutes every day, perhaps during your morning meditation, shower or run to think about what you're grateful for in your relationship. Have a few things in mind? Now, do something special to show them how much you love and appreciate them. Bonus: If you can survive being together nonstop, you are made for marriage! Wink, wink.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Grab a pad of post-it notes and write out a few sweet notes and stick them where they'll be noticed, yet happily surprised. Try placing them on the tube of toothpaste, the back of the closet door, their laptop keyboard, in their favorite coffee mug ...
- Handwrite a heartfelt letter—with reasons you love them, a favorite memory, or a story you'd like to share. Put it in a real envelope, seal it with a kiss, drop it in the mailbox and wait in anticipation for them to check the mail.
- Recreate your favorite date-night restaurant experience at home ... Cook a special (surprise) dinner, light a candle, and put on a curated playlist that matches the atmosphere of your favorite spot.
- Create a vision board showing all the things you'd like to do together in the next 12 months. Dream small (backyard barbecue with friends) and dream huge (road trip across the USA stopping in with friends along the way). It's also really fun and rewarding to do this together!
- Plan a movie night. Set the scene with lights dimmed, cozy blankets, floor pillows, and a tub of popcorn or ice cream. Choose a movie that your partner loves—OR— one you know they've been dying to see. Before showtime, put your phones in another room and devote your attention to your evening together.
- Suggest a weekly mini-date to make sure you have time to connect throughout the busy work week. While you may be spending more time together than ever before, chances are that time is spent as co-working, cleaning and feeling stressed—not basking in your love. Plan time to focus on each other, even if for 30 minutes on Tuesday evenings. Try a late-night stroll through your neighborhood to talk about your week, ask some fun questions, or daydream about which house(s) you'd like to pin on that vision board.
- Take part in a TikTok or Instagram challenge. Try the identity swap, Getty Challenge, or your favorite albums—but together! The creativity and discussion before posting is where love lives! And if you do, tag us, we'd love to see your creation.
- Think of something that your partner especially loves. Do they love puzzles? Board games? Dancing? A particular band? Find something that usually gets forgotten - or that you don't particularly love - and plan an evening around it!
- Ask how you can help. Often, we presume our partner knows that we love them and that we want to help but saying it out loud and giving them space to answer is the key. On the flip side, is there something you know would be helpful without asking? Perhaps doing the laundry, running an errand, getting the oil changed. Small things like this go a long way in saying 'I love you and appreciate all that you do.'
- Change up small areas of your home, especially the ones you're spending the most time in. Working together or independently on different areas of the house, put some love and attention into your home environment. Giving time to tidy, organize, embellish and decorate can create areas of happiness and peace during a time of chaos.
- Hug! Take advantage of the extra time together and load up on physical affection.