Couples, COVID, and Cabin Fever

By Jasmine Payne, Resident in Counseling

Back at the beginning of 2020 weren’t we all wishing we could spend more quality time at home with our loved ones or our partners? When true quality time was only able to be squeezed into the weekends or maybe weeknights (if the dishes got put away and the kids went to bed in a timely manner), we were able to truly relish in those moments. We were able to pause, take a breath, and be grateful we had a quiet hour or two to enjoy our partner’s company in the midst of the everyday chaos.

Fast forward to October of 2020. More than likely you’ve now had 6 months of “quality” time with your boo. After a few weeks of being intrigued by this newfound commodity, maybe you started to wish for the days where you could escape to the office. Maybe those weeks where you barely saw each other don’t seem quite so bad anymore. I know I actually found myself missing my commute, because when I was driving I couldn’t be working on my never ending to-do list. All those tasks were put on pause twice a day, to and from work, and I was able to unwind and listen to my podcasts with no interruption.

What I’m getting at here is as we have adjusted to our “new normal” we have likely found ourselves with new frustrations as well.  No matter how much you love someone or how perfect your soulmate is, lets be real: they definitely know how to push your buttons or get under your skin whether they are intentionally doing it or not.

Here are four tips that may help you get back to enjoying each other’s company:

  1. Stop engaging in grey scale interactions. Grey scale interactions look like mindlessly sitting next to each other without engaging. If you find yourself in the company of your partner but absorbed separately in your phones, emails, texts, work, or social media then separate. This will make the time you do spend in each other’s company more devoted and intentional.
  2. Create your own morning and evening rituals for connection. Have coffee together in the mornings or come together to cook dinner after work is done. Wind down in the evenings together over your favorite show. Make a marker for how your day begins and how it ends. **Dr. Gottman has found a 6-second kiss, whether it’s a goodbye in the morning or reunion in the evening, improves the happiness in your relationship.**
  3. Make sure you are each able to maintain your own self-care routines. Whether that looks like a long shower, yoga, a book, running, being outside for 30 minutes alone, or calling up your best friend… make sure you are engaging in those things that bring YOU joy and help you recharge. Check in with your partner to see if they need help carving out time for these activities.
  4. Plan something for the two of you to look forward to. Have a dressed up, romantic dinner at home or order from your favorite restaurant. Go for a walk to see the fall leaves. Plan a weekend away. Do something you have been putting off or cross something off your bucket list. Change up the mundane quarantine routine.

Reflect on those days when we were wishing we had more time with our loved ones. Why did we want it so bad? What did we envision doing with this extra time? How can we tune in to those wants, hopes, wishes, and desires now that we are afforded the time?


About Jasmine Payne: 

Jasmine is a Resident in Counseling and provides services at the Fredericksburg location. She is a two-time graduate of Longwood University, receiving her B.S. in Psychology along with an M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Throughout her graduate studies, Jasmine worked with teens and adults who belonged to various minority and multicultural populations. She currently sits on the executive board for VA-ALGBTIC and has over a year of experience working with this specific community. She also has familiarity with a wide spectrum of mental health concerns including anxiety/depression, grief, belonging, high stress, moodiness, self-improvement, motivation, relationship issues, substance use, and many more.

Jasmine provides a person-centered and existential approach while utilizing solution-based and cognitive-behavioral interventions. All that boils down to a counselor who understands the role our individual cultural identities play in our lives and believes the client is the expert on their experience. She works with you to pinpoint the presenting problem, and then helps to find practical solutions and identify strengths. She believes in getting to the root of our core beliefs to discover how they impact our daily life and influence the patterns of our relationships. Jasmine strives to build a foundation with her clients to learn their stories and help support their vision.

She works under the supervision of Alycia Burant, LPC, NCC. In the event clients have any questions or concerns about Jasmine’s work, her supervisor can be contacted at 950 N. Washington St. Suite 322 Alexandria VA 22314, 540-845-6940, or

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