Hello, everyone, thank you so much for joining me for yet another episode of The More Than You See podcast hosted by me: actor, filmmaker, mental health advocate Deborah Lee Smith. Every Monday I come to you to share some tips, have a conversation and generally just dive into all sorts of topics around mental health. I am not a licensed practitioner or therapist, but just a woman exploring my own mental health journey and sharing it with you, my listeners. My hope is that this podcast brings you some joy, some understanding and some tools so that you can build your own mental health toolbox.
I am so excited to have everyone here today. Today we are going to talk about boom-baboom..... dating in quarantine. Fun times. I know that I said in the last episode that I was going to start my four episode series where I talk about the four different aspects of mental health and how they impact us and those topics I discussed in the first episode, which are your environments, your psychology (like how you talk to yourself or your biology), and your spirituality. But because I am recording this on Valentine's Day, I wanted to talk about dating and relationships and how all of this relates to COVID. Because obviously, we all have ideas around relationships, and COVID has really thrown a wrench in those. So please stay tuned, we're gonna dive into all sorts of things around that. Whether you are single, whether you are married, whether you are dating someone, whether you are ready to strangle your partner, this episode is for you. So stay tuned.
Now before we dive in really quick, I just want to say thank you so much to everyone who is sending reviews on the podcast link on iTunes, I so so appreciated. And they just make me feel so warm and fuzzy. I would like to remind everyone that this podcast is for you. I am coming up with topics that I think resonate with you all and it makes me so happy to hear that they are. But please, if there's a specific topic that you want me to discuss like this one, someone asked me to discuss dating and COVID. So here we go. That's what we're going to talk about today. But if you have something else that you want me to discuss, please let me know, send me a direct message either on Instagram or if you go to anchor which is where I host this podcast, you can actually leave me a voice message, and you can leave me a voice message asking for something that you want me to discuss on a future episode. Or if you have something you want to contribute to the podcast, like if you have a story, if you have a resource, if you have something that you want to talk about that you think will add value to our conversation, please send me a message I would be so happy to have you contribute to this space. I also have to say please, if you have not yet, please "like" and "subscribe" and do all of the things that help with the podcast metric gods, because it definitely does help. And I am so excited to continue to grow this and reach as many people as possible. And that is largely due to you all helping me. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Okay, let's dive in. Let's talk about love, shall we? Okay, first, I want to start with a stat. As you've probably seen on previous episodes, I really love facts. I think that it demystifies my own feelings around mental health and makes me feel less alone when I understand how someone else is feeling. And it's very similar to me. And so let's let's talk about how everyone is feeling right now.
So there have been a bunch of studies that are happening right now because of COVID. Because we are isolated because we are quarantining in 2020, several different organizations came together and they did a study on people under the age of 30 and 80% of people under the age of 30, (this study was done in the US) are reported feeling depressed, lonely, anxious. Now a very similar study was done in 2018. And in that study, only 46% of people reported feeling very similar feelings. So that is to say like, let's just start with the conversation and the fact that we are feeling more depressed, more lonely, more anxious, and there is a reason for that. And I don't want you to discount that. Right now. Our primary job is to survive. It is to keep ourselves and our families and loved ones and our community safe. So if you are managing to just get through the day that is really great. Like you deserve a gold star and I don't want to belittle that feeling.
Now I want to break this into two kind of sections. Here. So if you are single, I'm going to talk about that. And then if you are in a relationship and you're quarantining with someone, I want to talk about that. Okay?
So let's start with if you are living with your significant other... if you are with your partner, if you are now being forced to rely entirely on your partner for so many things, and I think that is the core of what is really going on for a lot of relationship difficulties. Right now, we are not built to get everything from one person, if you, you know, look back at the way that societies were built, we were built as tribe, we were built to rely on a group of people in order to survive in order to raise families in order to raise children. And now we are requiring our partner to give us literally everything, I want to start by saying that that puts us and our partners in a really difficult position because it is requiring our partners to be everything when maybe they didn't necessarily have to fill those shoes before. You probably had some friends that you would rely on, you had co-workers, you had other people in your life that were contributing to your relationship, even if you didn't think about it before. And now by having those people pulled away, it just illustrates how much we've had to rely on one person and therefore the incompatibilities potential and also compatibility.
So, I'm not in a relationship right now. So I can't really speak from personal experience. So I really wanted to be able to provide you with some tools. I looked up a bunch of different articles, and found some really consistent messaging and tips, which is what I want to share with you today. One of the suggestions that I thought was so brilliant, that we can actually also use if you're single and you're by yourself is to ask your partner what they are expecting from you over the next couple days. And what you need from your partner over the next couple days.
Now in LA, we've been in quarantine for almost a year now. And I think that's also one of the things that is so difficult about this situation that I'm going to talk a little bit more about in the singles part of this little podcast. But it's the fact that this seems never ending. There's no definitive end date as far as like, when everything is going to open up. And so instead of thinking about what I need from my partner for the next indeterminate amount of time, just ask yourself, what do I need for my partner for the next three days? And what can I give to my partner in the next three days. And that will really allow you to, you know, look at your schedule, look at how you are relating to other things in your life and figure out what you can realistically give to your partner in those times. It's just all about the importance of prioritizing yourself, but also still being able to bring your partner into your life in a sustainable way.
There were also two websites that look really, really awesome that I'm going to give little shout outs to there's RISE, which is a program designed to help couples develop relational intelligence, which sounds absolutely brilliant, you can find that at riserelationships.com. They've got a free course for couples during COVID. There is a app called Relationship Hero, which offers group couples therapy sessions and one on one counseling. So I have not tried out either of those things. But they were mentioned in several different articles. And so I really wanted to make sure that I was providing some like concrete tools for you today. And again, just remember, what can you ask from your partner for the next couple days? And what can your partner expect from you for the next couple days, just start there.
Now let's use that as a transition to talk about being single, because being single right now, I think is harder than it ever has been before. But I do think that there's some real benefits and some things that we can really learn about ourselves and about what we want and about the world because of our current situation. Now if you're single, you can use those same, you know, few days at a time approach that I just mentioned, and the quote unquote, "relationship" part of this podcast. And that's because, you know, I think that it's so important, like you are in a relationship with yourself throughout your entire life, like you and yourself. Y'all are tied and there is nothing breaking that most important relationship in your life is with yourself. But I think that we sometimes forget the importance of you know, doing that self care and I don't just mean physical self care, but also emotional self care. What do I actually need for myself over the next couple of days? Can I take three days to myself, whatever, like whatever looks like self care to you. I do think that it's so important to acknowledge the fact that again, you are in relationship with yourself. And if you listen to my last podcast episode where I talked about habits, I think that this completely ties together because in the homework for that last episode, I talked about the importance of tracking three things a day that make you happy, and three things you need. that make you not so happy and looking at that over the course of a week and seeing some patterns. And I think that's where you can also now bring that into this exercise where it's like, Okay, what can I give myself over the next three days? And what can I require from myself over the next three days? I think that that's really, really important.
Now, I think the biggest issue concern - anxiety provoking thought right now is hopelessness and the idea that being single is forever. I know, personally, that is a huge stress on my life. And that's really sad, because again, we are social creatures. And if you are called to having a partner, it makes sense that that is something that you want, I think that it's really important to remind yourself, the current state is not what our lives are going to be for the rest of our lives. And if for some reason, COVID went on forever, we are such adaptable creatures, and we would get through this and we would figure out a way to find our partner.
Even in this space, there were a lot of trials that were done around isolation. And this isn't necessarily about COVID, but just like isolation in general. And what they have found is that when we focus on our perception around isolation, that's like, the most important thing is to focus on what we're perceiving, we know cerebrally in our thinking brain, that we probably will not be single for the rest of our lives. But at times, it can feel hopeless, and it can feel like that isolation is going to continue forever. And so these trials really showed that when you focus, not necessarily on the singular fact of like, Oh, I am or I'm not going to be single forever, or whatever. But instead you focus on that, how am I feeling right now? And why is this feeling right now, not an everlasting feeling, basically acknowledging that your feelings of isolation and hopelessness are not part of your thinking brain, but emotions taking over.
And of course, emotions are super important, it's so important to feel our feelings. But I also think that it's so important to go, that is just how I'm feeling right now. And that is not how I'm going to feel for the rest of my life. That's the really important thing - to focus on the fact that this is how you're perceiving things right now. But that isn't necessarily how things actually are.
I'm going to leave you with some positives. With COVID and dating and all of these things, I think, is really cool to make a "deal breaker list". If you've never done this before, I think the huge positive thing about COVID is the fact that it's really made us focus on what makes us happy and what does not make us happy and how that's gonna relate to our lives. Like this really is giving us the space to focus on us in an entirely new way - if you are quarantining alone, or if you are single, in the fact that you can really nail down what you want out of a partner in some way, or what you want out of yourself, you know, like, it doesn't again, this doesn't have to be about a partner like this is also about self love, and what you want from your life. There are so many stories of people who are moving, changing jobs reinventing their entire lives, because they're finally took this year to pause and go, what do I really want, what do I really want the rest of my life to look like.
But instead of just having a "deal breaker list", it's also really important to break it down even further and make a "nice to have" and a "need to have" list. "Need to have" is your "deal breaker" need to have - you want kids and they don't want kids - that's a deal breaker. So like, put that on the "need to have"... like, you need to have someone who wants children if that's what you want. But the "nice to have" like, go crazy, put things on there. As far as: they have a great relationship with their family, they also love to travel family has a house in the Hamptons,. I don't know, go crazy. Like you can really, really have fun with that "nice to have" list. It allows you to build this imaginary person in your brain.
And I think that what's so special about that is it again, really allows you to think about you know what you want, and what you don't want out of a partner, or again out of yourself out of your life. You know, make that "nice to have" and "need to have" list about yourself and about what you want in life. I just think that right now we have such space to really focus on who we are as people and what we want. And I think that we really need to make sure that we don't let this time go to waste.
I'm going to leave you with one final thought. I was reading in one of these articles about one thing to ask yourself is what will your future self wishes you had done when you were still single and do that, and I'm going to take it a step further. I'm going to say to you "what would your future self wish that you would have done when you were still in quarantine"? There is a lot of benefit in the fact that we are stuck at home and of course, I know that I am speaking from a privileged place because I have a safe home, I have my dog, but if you are able to look at what's going on right now, in your immediate space, again, the things that you can control and think about, what are things that once the world goes back to some sense of normalcy, what are the things that you're going to miss and do those things a little bit more? Again, it's just so important to give yourself that space. Give yourself some sort of love and appreciation for our current environment. What can you examine? What can you dive into in your own life that will show you where you want to go in the future?
I want to leave you today with a really sweet, wonderful review that I got on iTunes. And I think it summarizes everything that I was just talking about today. This review says, "a break for joy - the little title thingy - and it says Debrorah Lee Smith in this podcast strengthens our confidence and the means to regain control of our views and feelings about life and our place in these times. Her enthusiasm and delight in sharing the discoveries of her own struggles for health and wholeness are a gift to all."
Thank you so much everyone for these amazing reviews. I am going to start reading them to you because they make me really happy and I hope that they bring some happiness to you as well. Again, just remember to focus on the things that we can control focus on ourself focus on what you want out of life. That is the ultimate gift that you can give yourself this Valentine's Day week.
Again next week we will actually start our four part series talking about different aspects of mental health. I'm very excited to dive into them. If you want to leave me a voice message or send me a DM I would be so happy to have feedback from you all about what you want to hear on this podcast. Please take care of yourself. Give yourself grace and self love. Remember that you and everyone around you is more than you see. Thank you so much for listening. I will see you next week.