Relationships can be tricky, they're often a huge balancing act between work, life and quality time. During isolation some them have been pushed to their limits while others have been thriving. To find out how to lean more towards the latter, we caught up with one half of our favourite Australian couple, Steph Claire Smith (now Miller) who shares how her and Josh maintain a healthy balance, the best relationship advice she's ever received and how she finds her 'me time'.
POPSUGAR Australia: Recently you and Josh got married, you live together, you work together on Soda Shades, and lately you've of course been self-isolating together, how do you balance it all and maintain a healthy relationship?
Steph: We've certainly had a really busy year, but being in isolation has been the perfect opportunity for us both to slow down and be a little more present with each other. Whilst being at home has certainly had some challenges (I'm sure anyone in a relationship in iso with their partner could relate to me there), it has also given us time to spend some quality time with each other, and enjoy the down time.
Keeping in routine is important so I don't go stir crazy. Every morning we wake up and take Ari for a walk to get a coffee together before my KIC workout or before I get into work, this is something we both would love to continue to do even when iso is over (may just mean getting up a little earlier than usual hehe). Yoga is also really helping me to keep my mind calm while still moving my body, and the KIC meditations are great to wind down at the end of the day.
We've also just finished our free KIC weekly live workouts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning at 7am. It was so motivating to work out live with the KIC community from around the world and continue sharing our wellness journeys together from the comfort of our homes. Aside from all that Josh is incredibly supportive, and is always there for me when I need some love or laughter.
PS: Is there something you guys regularly do as a way of switching off and enjoying each other's company?
Steph: We both like to keep active, and use Ari as the perfect opportunity to keep busy together. We do daily dog walks and Josh will often join me for a KIC workout. We have also been watching a number of different tv series together at night, and often pick a movie to watch over the weekend — we both miss entertaining with friends and family but it really has been nice to slow down and really recharge over the weekends.
PS: Do you have any advice for couples around maintaining a healthy relationship?
Steph: Maintaining a healthy relationship in isolation isn't easy, so it's important to do things together but also have some alone time.
Be respectful of each other, understand that you both may not be dealing with isolation in the same way and be patient with one another.
For me personally, my 'me time' is crucial for my mental health, and Josh respects that and gives me space when he knows I need it. Some of my favourite things to do in my 'me time' is a KIC meditation, a long warm bath listening to old school jazz, watch a series that Josh isn't interested in or play the sims [laughs].
PS: What's the best relationship advice you've ever received?
Steph: Communication is a big one, mum always said to talk things through and don't sweep issues under a rug, rip the band aid off and deal with things as they come. Another thing she has said in the past is to not just say you love someone, but show them you love them. I read a book recently called The 5 love languages. It spoke of how different we all are, how we give and like to receive love is different so it's important to learn what your partner's love language is so that you can fill their love tank.
PS: How do you factor in alone time?
Steph: You should focus on doing at least one thing for yourself every day. Whether that is working out, meditating, going for a walk, reading a good book, cooking a nutritious meal or just binging on your favourite Netflix show.
Don't feel guilty for doing things for yourself. You can't be in a happy relationship if you aren't taking time out for yourself! It goes both ways though; you need to also give them their time for themselves too.
Josh can read me like a book — he knows when I'm craving that me time. And if he can't recognise it for whatever reason, I just let him know! I honestly will just say 'Babe, I need some alone time, I'm going to run a bath.' . . . and that's it!
PS: Do you have any tips for dealing with conflict?
Steph: Communication is important but it's also important not to put too much pressure on your relationship. Being in isolation with anyone 24/7 is hard when you don't have any other outlets.
Make sure you give each other space but also be open with each other. I am actually guilty of reacting in an unnecessary way at times, it's something we're both aware of, we both address it a lot and it's something I'm personally working on. The bottom line is that we're supportive of each other and will always talk things through. Something I really admire about Josh is his calmness in a time of conflict — I think it's an incredible trait to be a good listener when your partner is upset.