January carries a heavy load into our lives, with tax returns, annual reviews, and post-holiday credit card bills. On top of these responsibilities, the colder-than- usual weather calls for a whole new level of multitasking. Snow must be plowed, cars must be scraped clean, groceries must be bought, social plans get postponed, and work gets brought home from the office. If you have children or pets or do elder care, extra-special care is needed. All of these “musts” can add up to feeling confined, isolated, and locked into survival mode for the duration.
Escapist visions of time spent on a warm sunny beach with the love of your life at your side spring to mind. It’s easy to imagine wanting intimacy in an ideal setting. Unfortunately, back in the real world, all of the “musts” can allow for little “me” time and “us” time. When the balance of your relationship is disturbed by life in survival mode for weeks and months, desire (the feeling of wanting to be intimate with your partner) and libido (the ability to be aroused) suffer.
During times of heavy stress, even couples who ordinarily have a good working partnership find their desire and libido sizzles have fizzles. Every couple needs a balance of “us” time, “me” time, and “working partner” time to maintain both desire and libido.
As important as feeling like a sexual being is to your desire and libido, your connection to another person, the world, and yourself is just as, if not more, important. Try these challenges for getting back in balance, and feeling more fruitful, full of life, and connected. Then notice if desire and libido are ignited:
- Reestablish connection with your own body. Try a physical activity that might seem completely “unnecessary.” If you are a creature of habit, try shaking up your routines. Try a new workout, and notice how your body responds to the new demands placed on it. If you’re a free spirit by nature, let your body feel free by eating ice cream in the bathtub, or doing cartwheels in your living room. Take a few minutes to look at yourself in the mirror, and pick out three things that you appreciate about your body.
- Reestablish connection with the world. Socialize in real time. It doesn’t have to be a big deal; meeting a friend for coffee can make a big difference. Try to ask more questions and make fewer statements. Journal about a new thought that your conversation generated, or something new that you noticed about your friend.
- Reestablish connection with your partner. Practice making eye contact as soon as you enter the same space. Notice if your body language shows that you’re turning away, or turning toward, your partner. Acknowledge your partner’s unique self by calling your partner by his or her name, not by a pet name.