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Maintaining Healthy Relationships During a Crisis

During unusual circumstances, such as the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, people may be spending more time together than usual, sometimes in small spaces. Social distancing limits your ability to visit others outside of your home, go to restaurants and attend other social outings with a larger group. Many people may find themselves momentarily without a job or adjusting to working from home.

All of these factors may lead to increased stress and worry, with fewer ways to cope. You may find yourself arguing more with your loved ones, and sometimes over the smallest things. It is normal to feel some extra tension in these type of circumstances. Thankfully, there are things you can do that might help you to maintain healthy relationships with those living under the same roof.

  1. Take time apart. Take a walk by yourself, go into an empty room and read, take a bike ride by yourself or dance to your favorite tunes—by yourself.

  2. Breathe. Take several long, slow deep breaths when you start to feel anxious or irritable. Reach up to the sky and stretch your body. Lie down, close your eyes and imagine yourself lying on a warm beach or wherever makes you smile.

  3. Save conversations about bigger issues for later. Relationship problems don’t disappear because of a crisis. In fact, they’re likely to increase due to the stress. Agree to address big issues when life returns to some sense of normal.  

  4. Limit alcohol consumption. Boredom, stress, worry and the lack of normal life may lead to an increase in our alcohol intake. Because excess alcohol can affect our behaviors, try to limit its consumption and turn to other stress relievers. Dialysis patients should always follow their doctor’s recommendations for liquid consumption.

  5. Stay active. Many yoga studios, dance schools and gyms are offering free online classes to help us stay healthy and involved during this time. Give it a try! You might find something you like to do and want to keep doing even when “normal” life returns.

  6. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Let your loved ones know what you’re thinking and feeling and allow them to do the same. Don’t hold everything in—share your fears, worries and concerns. Listen to each other.

  7. Be patient. This is a great time to develop patience and kindness with others.

  8. Step up. We have lived in an unprecedented time, presenting challenges none of us have experienced before. Try being the best person you can be.


You can do it! Life eventually returns to a more comfortable and familiar pattern. When that happens, the hope is for our loved ones to remember how we supported and care for one another.

During challenging times, we are here to help. If you are a DaVita dialysis patient, please reach out to your social worker for more tips and additional support. You can find more information about coping with COVID-19 here.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice from a medical provider.

Please check with a medical professional if you need a diagnosis and/or for treatments as well as information regarding your specific condition. In case of emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency department.

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