The long weeks of the COVID-19 lockdown have changed us in many ways. We've become used to living without takeaways, only seeing our friends over Zoom and looking forward to that one Government-sanctioned walk a day.
But as we gradually - hopefully - inch towards the end of lockdown it might be time to take a step back and evaluate how your relationship is looking.
If you've been bubble buddies, coworkers and lovers, things might be looking a little different to pre-lockdown days (remember them?). This is especially true if you weren't living together before lockdown but decided to isolate together. Moving in together can change the nature of any relationship, but even more so when you can't leave and see others.
It might mean the 'spark' has gone and you're feeling more like flatmates or friends. If that's true and you need a little relationship reset, we've put together some tips to help feed that flame a little more in what might hopefully be the last few weeks of lockdown.
First and foremost, don't get too anxious if your relationship feeling a little strained at this time. It's a global pandemic - it would be weird if you weren't feeling a little off. If you've run out of things to talk about, or you're getting irritated at their constant presence, that's okay too. Remember this is all temporary - take some time for yourself and then communicate that to your partner.
"How we communicate is really important, not just the words we say. Explain kindly, rather than from a place of frustration or despair, that investing in time for yourself is something you need right now, and your partner should understand," Love Collective Global's Sarah Louise Ryan told Bustle.
Get out of the house
Now the New Zealand is in COVID-19 alert level 3, we're allowed to spread our wings a little more - within reason. Grab a takeaway coffee with your partner and go for a walk up a local maunga or along the beach. Some fresh air and scenery will help shake off some of the oppressive emotions lockdown can bring, plus seeing some more of the city might add a little more to the conversation.
Clean up your act
Weeks in lockdown means your living space may have accumulated a lot more clutter and mess than usual. The spaces that used to be our sanctuaries are now our offices, home workout spaces and places to relax. Have a massive 'dung out' as my mum calls it: gather up all the stuff that you haven't used during this time for donation and clear away all the bits and bobs that have gathered. Clean out cupboards, dust the skirting, vacuum AND mop the floors. When that's all done, you'll feel calmer and the shared space will be more pleasant to hang out in. Then light some candles to make your newly clean room glow. My pick is the This Works Love Sleep Seduction candle - the blend of oils are supposed to make you feel sexier and more relaxed. It's essentially a horny candle.
Have a date night
We're guessing right about now all the days are blending into one - it is Wednesday today, right? If it feels that way and every evening sees you both sitting on the couch silently watching 30 Rock until midnight (guilty), it's time to switch things up. Order some beautiful takeaways from a local restaurant, get dressed up, crack open some of the 'good' wine. Celebrate each other and the fact you're making it through a global pandemic happy, healthy and without killing each other. That's definitely something to be celebrated.