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How to maintain relationships in self-isolation

While the COVID-19 situation is getting better in many countries (due to the successful rollout of vaccines), cases and hospitalization are rapidly increasing in Thailand. The country’s dark red zone, which includes its capital, Bangkok, and surrounding provinces, is under semi-lockdown with a number of restrictions on gathering. As such, locals and expats find themselves stuck at home for the most part. 

No doubt, this is a challenging time for all. The uncertainty and/or loneliness can negatively affect our mental health. But hang in there. Things will get better eventually. Until then, it’s important to maintain relationships and remain positive. Whether it’s with your significant other or with friends and family, this Pacific Prime Thailand article gives you some ideas and suggestions to do so.

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How to maintain relationships with your significant other 

Are you separated from your loved ones? Even though Thailand’s borders are open to anyone who can pay for a mandatory 14-day quarantine in an alternate state facility (ASQ) or take part in its Phuket Sandbox program, this isn’t always an option for couples. Some may find themselves unable/unwilling to take time off work for this long or risk traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Note: Depending on the success of the Phuket Sandbox program, other cities in Thailand will follow and adopt similar programs. What’s more, the Prime Minister has pledged that the country will open up completely in October 2021 (though nothing is set in stone as of yet).

Or maybe you’re blessed and have the joy of living with your partner? Even so, being locked up in a tiny space for extended periods of time can lead to frustration and negatively impact your relationship. Whether you disagree over how to stay safe during the pandemic or are simply dealing with your own respective issues, it can be a challenge trying to maintain relationships in self-isolation. 

For couples who are not living together

As the saying goes, “absence makes the heart grow fonder”. If you’re being locked away from your lover, it won’t be long before you start missing them. The best way to deal with a long-distance relationship during the COVID-19 pandemic is to remind yourself that you’re not alone. There are thousands of couples in the same boat as you. Use this time to work on yourself, as well as your other relationships, which may also be rewarding for your love life. 

To deal with the loneliness, you can also video call and message your partner and spend quality time hanging out together. Just because you’re apart at the moment doesn’t mean you can’t have fun or enjoy each other’s company. Watch a film together using the Netflix Party extension (or something similar), do an online jigsaw together, or engage in any other activity that brings you closer. 

Other than this, you may also be missing the physical contact of your partner. While you can tackle this problem via technological devices such as internet-linked pillows that glow and warm up when the other is being hugged, you may also send your loved one something tangible like a handwritten letter. After all, having something concrete that you can hold in your hands makes it more present and relatable, and can help soothe your lonely heart.

For couples who are living together

Living apart from your lover also has its merits if you can see it as a testament to your strength of feeling. As mentioned previously, isolating together may bring its own stresses. Some people may vent their negative emotions due to quarantine such as frustration and anger onto their lover, leading to long-lasting effects on their relationships. 

If you need to spend a large amount of time with another person, here are some extra tips for you.

Stick to your individual routines

You should follow your pre-quarantine routine as much as possible and try not to let your partner get in your way. No matter how much you like to stick around your partner, it’s best that you take some time every day to invest in yourself. To begin, you can try creating your own space so you can engage in your own interests. This will help create a distinction between time together and apart.

Exercise more and practice mindfulness

Having at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day can help boost your mental and physical wellness. There are now heaps of indoor exercises and fitness videos online for your reference. You can also establish a routine to make it a habit for yourself. What’s more, you can squeeze mindfulness-related activities into your workday to help you stay grounded as well. Whether it’s meditation, journaling, painting, or more, your options are indeed endless!

Be open

Speaking of physical activity, it is natural that you want to get intimate with your partner but you should not be too concerned about how much sex you are having. Just go with the flow and do what feels right. If you feel that intimacy during self-isolation is an issue, just talk it through with your partner. As in other aspects of life, couples should have open conversations and discuss their feelings.

Be positive

While it may not be the easiest time to focus on the positives, doing so can help to avoid unnecessary fights between you and your partner. Instead of seeing your partner’s flaws, you should try to be more grateful and empathetic. For example, you can show appreciation for the meals your partner prepared. Keep reminding yourself that this quarantine, while indefinite, is not going to last forever.

How to maintain relationships with your friends and family

Both introverts and extroverts will (at some point) begin missing interacting with their friends, family, neighbors, colleagues, or even acquaintances. It’s no wonder we crave social interaction – it’s good for our health! This is based on the findings of Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Fellow and author of The Blue Zones.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum, Buettner used Nicoya, Costa Rica (a Blue Zone) as a case study. In Nicoya, people value social connection and get 7-8 hours of daily face-to-face meaningful conversations with people that matter to them. Accordingly, Buettner found that health, happiness, and longevity are contagious.

To top it off, those with good social interactions also report better health such as:

  • A stronger immune system
  • A more efficient production of hormones that keep the body functioning properly
  • And more!

For individuals looking to keep in touch with friends and family

While video calling is no replacement for in-person interaction, it’s better than no interaction at all. Reach out to your loved ones for some much-needed cheer. You can even have a weekly  group call or a group WhatsApp chat (if you don’t already have one) with your family and/or friends. Why not make these interactions fun? There are a number of things you could do:

  • Motivate each other to exercise, and share healthy and creative recipes
  • Start a book club, hosting virtual meetings to discuss your readings
  • Organize a virtual quiz night
  • Order care packages for each other (like Secret Santa)
  • And more!

For individuals looking to make new friends and acquaintances 

If you have any niche or specific interest, you can also look online for like-minded groups. To start off with, you can scower Meetup groups or groups on social media or any other similar platform for something that takes your fancy. Join the groups and see which members feel compatible. You can interact with their posts or comments, create a connection, and then move the conversation to private messaging.

Remember that relationships take time to build and that you can’t force a friendship. This is the same as your offline relationships as well. Simply put yourself out there, reach out to people, and let the rest evolve naturally. In the beginning, your conversations might seem a bit limited, but overtime you’ll get to know each other better and form a deeper, more meaningful connection. 

How can Pacific Prime help?

Self-isolating during the COVID-19 pandemic makes us realize just how important our health is. As an established health insurance brokerage with over two decades of experience, Pacific Prime Thailand has multiple resources to support you during the COVID-19 pandemic. Check out our blog page for useful articles and updates on the COVID-19 vaccination program in Thailand, list of hospitels in Thailand, and more. 

In addition to this, you can also prioritize both your physical and mental health by securing private health insurance through us. Whether it’s for COVID-19 treatment or any other health problems, you’ll be able to access the best private healthcare the country has to offer. Traveling a lot or looking to relocate? Secure international health insurance so that you’ll be covered wherever, whenever. 

Rest assured, our team of highly-trained advisors can help you find the right health insurance plan for your needs and budgets. In addition to this, we also provide a whole host of value-added services to guide you throughout your insurance journey. This includes administration assistance, insurer liaison, hospital recommendation, and claims and renewals support!

Contact us today for impartial advice, a tailored plan comparison, and a free quote!

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Content Creator at Pacific Prime Thailand
Anthony Chan is a content writer at Pacific Prime. He’s responsible for writing, translating, and editing articles, guides, infographics, leaflets, as well as other resources for Pacific Prime and Kwiksure.

When he’s not working, he’s usually on the hunt for great restaurants, playing badminton, and writing screenplays.