The amount of stress we’ve had to deal with over the past year has been immense. Not just on personal mental health but there has been a knock-on effect on our relationships, too.
We’ve been locked indoors together for months on end. We’ve had to endure loss of income, health issues and separation from friends and family. Parents have had to take on the daunting extra duty of home-schooling. Within this context, many relationships have taken strain.
Here’s how a trip away can benefit your relationship with your significant other in 2021 (when you’re ready to travel):
Remember when we could only exercise or be outdoors in that one small time period each day? Parks, forests and streets were packed with people simply breathing in the fresh air and communing with nature as we found a renewed appreciation in the power of nature to lift our spirits. So, pick a holiday destination where nature is abundant and the outdoors are celebrated, like the Maldives, with its open spaces, white sand beaches, swaying palm trees and abundant sea life. There are so many land and water sports, and outdoor activities to enjoy in the Maldives – most of which are all-inclusive if you book a resort like Club Med (who have great deals to the Maldives at the moment!). The Maldives is also one of the few places which South Africans can travel to without quarantining, and you only need a negative PCR test 96 hours before travel – plus you get a visa on arrival (super easy!).
The adage of putting your own oxygen mask on before helping others applies here too. You can’t build a strong relationship unless you are strong inside yourself. A holiday is certainly a form of self-care, especially if you go somewhere which offers the things which help you recharge – indulge in quiet time, outdoor activities, beauty treatments, wholesome food or something else entirely. Whether you practise self-care together or separately, your relationship can only be better for it.
The saying “laughter is the best medicine” was so apt in 2020 because where would we have been without humour? Whether it’s watching silly sitcoms on Netflix during lockdown, laughing at ridiculous situations or witty memes on social media– humour can be a lifeline in stressful times like these. Time away on a vacation can give you space to relax and unwind, and make time for spontaneity, happiness and laughter – things we all really need after this pandemic. If you choose an all-inclusive holiday package all your needs are taken care of from the moment you arrive, leaving more time for enjoying the moment and making new memories!
- Honest communication
We may have spent most of the past year inside the same four walls, but that doesn’t mean that we’ve always been communicating effectively. In fact, you may have spent much of your leisure time on your individual laptops watching Netflix in separate rooms! This trip can be a time to stay away from screens, and really spend time together with no work or household chores to distract you. You can really talk about what happened in 2020, how this made you both feel, and how you can work together to tackle issues and be stronger, together, in 2021.
- Reflection and planning
Using this rare time to communicate, now’s a great opportunity to reflect on the kind of lives you want to achieve. 2020 forced us all to re-evaluate what really matters to us, showing us how important our loved ones are, how valuable our physical health is and why it’s vital to slow down our lives to enjoy simple pleasures. Time away from the mundane gives you space to do this reflection exercise together, so you can make a plan to work towards the life you envisage in the new normal. The past year has had a detrimental effect on our stress levels, and holidays are one science-proven way to improve on that. In a 2009 study, Canadian researchers found that taking holidays helped to buffer job stress among a sample of 900 lawyers. We may not all be lawyers but we’ve certainly all experienced immense stress over the past year – so dust off that suitcase, get planning and get packing. You deserve it and your relationship will be all the better because of it.