If quarantining during the coronavirus outbreak has wreaked some serious havoc on your sense of normalcy as a couple, you're not alone. Not only has your overall schedule probably changed (so long to your morning gym sesh or happy hour with friends), that standing date night to check out a new restaurant is off the table. With everything a bit out of whack, you're probably craving some structure in your daily and weekly life. Fortunately, there are so many routines to start with your partner while quarantining that can make you feel emotionally close — not just physically close.
Sharing routines can strengthen your relationship in a number of ways. Not only does this practice encourage you to spend quality time together, but it can also boost your overall intimacy and even potentially improve your communication quality. Best of all, routines give you something to look forward to — which, let's be honest, you're probably in desperate need of right now given the conditions. The coronavirus outbreak has come with a lot of uncertainty about the future, which is a common trigger for anxiety. By implementing a regular routine into your daily or weekly life as a couple, at least you have one habit or activity that you both can depend on in such unsettling times.
Finding the right routine to adopt comes down to you and your partner's shared interests. Whether you're movie buffs, fitness enthusiasts, wine lovers, or wanderlust partners-in-crime, here are a few fun rituals to try as a couple during isolation.
It's time to find out who knows more about your favorite fictional characters. Each Tuesday, watch an episode of your go-to TV show (complete with snacks, of course). Then, complete an online quiz after the episode is over. FunTrivia has plenty of free quizzes for a variety of shows, including Friends, The Office, Grey's Anatomy and This Is Us. Whoever got the most correct answers after you've completed a season wins a prize (like getting to choose the next show you binge-watch together).
If isolation has left you with a serious case of cabin fever (*raises hand*) why not bring the vacation to you? Even though you may not be able to fly off to your desired destinations RN, you can plan a standing theme night with your boo centered around different locales on your travel wishlist. Take turns picking the country you'll be venturing off to each week — then make a playlist with music from that location, plan a menu around the typical cuisine, and choose a documentary or movie that will bring the culture to life.
For example, Italy, you might stream Spotify's "The Perfect Italian Dinner" while you whip up some tortellini, stuffed shells, or homemade pesto pizza, and then watch To Rome with Love or a YouTube video about the meaning of Italian hand gestures.
Just because you're in isolation doesn't mean you can't celebrate #WinesdayWednesday. Since you aren't leaving your house, you can use a booze delivery service like Drizly — or, consider signing up for a subscription service that sends a selection of bottles right to your doorstep each month. The advantage of Vinebox is that it sends the wines in vials (so you don't end up wasting any if you don't like it enough to finish a bottle), but Winc provides a quiz about your preferences before choosing a curated selection of wines that you're likely to enjoy.
Each Wednesday, bust out a new bottle and use a step-by-step guide to wine tasting notes to compare your thoughts while you sniff, sip, and swirl. Come up with a ranking system for each bottle you try (like a scale of 1 to 10), and keep track of your favorites in an app like Delectable.
There's hardly a better time for you and your main squeeze to pick up some new moves. Every Friday or Saturday night, convene for a dance party in your living room, choose a new routine on TikTok that you both want to learn, and channel your inner Charli D'Amelio.
If you're especially brave, you can record and share your vids on social media — or, just keep them for yourselves. Trust me, you'll definitely want to look back on down the road when you're reminiscing about your isolation experience, or just need a few laughs. Need some inspiration? Start with Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin's version of "Why Is Everything Chrome?" a challenge the couple tackled while quarantining together.
Meditation is a phenomenal way to start off your day on the right foot together. Using InsightTimer (which offers a slew of free guided meditations), choose a category based on your needs that day — whether you're seeking to relieve anxiety, cope with stress, or practice self-compassion. There are even meditations geared specifically toward finding balance and peace in the time of the coronavirus.
Take turns picking which meditation you'll do, and keep your own separate journals to jot down some thoughts after the session and track your progress over time.
You and your SO could probably use something to smile about these days — and that's where this simple romantic gesture comes in. Swap phones at the beginning of the week and set a sweet reminder or three to pop up at designated times of the day. You're both bound to get a nice dose of the warm fuzzies when you read these messages — which can range from, "Feeling extra lucky to you have you in my life today," to, "Counting down the minutes until I can snuggle with you later."
Honestly, is there anything more comforting than having someone you read a story before you drift off to sleep? Each week, you and your partner can select a book, or set of poems or short stories that you think the other will enjoy. Or, you can each devise your own wishlist on Goodreads or Amazon. Once you crawl into bed each night, take turns reading before you turn out the lights.
There are two ways to approach this routine. The first option is to decide on two new recipes you'd like to tackle together at the beginning of each week (each partner gets to pick one) and then order the ingredients through a grocery delivery service. Or, if getting specific items is proving to be a challenge, another option is to do a recipe search on SuperCook by whatever miscellaneous ingredients you happen to have at home. The latter approach forces you to get a little creative, and who knows? You may be surprised at the delicious dishes you can whip up with a few random canned goods.
It's all too easy to forget to celebrate your small wins each day, but considering all the changes you've had to adapt to in quarantine, it's a phenomenal time to start recognizing your accomplishments. At the end of the day or week, take a moment to acknowledge something you're proud of — even if it's as simple as not snoozing your alarm or making a healthy lunch. Then cheers with a homemade cocktail or mocktail to celebrate that feat together.
Quarantine means you and your SO are having to compromise, overcome challenges, and exercise patience and empathy more than ever. So, take a moment to give each other a pat on the back.
Every day, write down something you appreciate that your partner did or said. At the end of each week, you can both read the contents of your gratitude list out loud to each other.
Exercising can work wonders for your mental and emotional well-being, even while you're indoors. If you can find at least one day a week when you can work out at the same time (#FitnessFriday, anyone?), you can motivate each other throughout your sweat session. All you have to do it clear some space in your home to get active, and fire up one of the many free couples' workout videos on YouTube. The best part? There's no one around to judge you for stealing a smooch in between reps.
You may not be able to scope out a new hotspot on Friday night, but you can still enjoy a similar experience right at home. Each week, one partner gets to choose where you're getting takeout or delivery from, and the other gets to choose what movie you're watching.
To recreate the date night vibes, light some candles, play some mood-setting background music, and put your phones away during dinner. Naturally, your post-dinner screening wouldn't be complete without popcorn and candy.
You and your boo definitely deserve some pampering under the current circumstances — and fortunately, you don't have to leave your home to get the full spa experience.
Find a three to four hour stretch when neither of you has work or other obligations to enjoy a relaxing afternoon or evening. Put together a calming playlist, make "spa water" with frozen berries or fresh melon, give each other massages (YouTube has lots of how-to videos), and soak your feet while you rest your eyes under cooling cucumber slices.