ALL couples go through rough patches.
Add in the stress of a global pandemic, financial uncertainty, and a lack of social functions, and these rough patches are likely to be exacerbated.
As a result, the number of Wimmera couples turning to relationship support has increased.
Ararat Wellness Centre counsellor Karen Ceccon opened a full-day on her schedule for relationship counselling, anticipating an increase in demand.
She said working from home and an increase in social isolation could create issues.
"Couples don't usually spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week together. It's nice to have that little break, say when people are going to work," Ms Ceccon said.
"But that's stopped for a lot of people.
"And the truth is, people get on other people's nerves. We'd be lying if we said anything different.
"If people aren't getting that opportunity to get out and have a bit of a break, it can create issues."
Ms Ceccon said other everyday stressors were also heightened by the pandemic.
"For a lot of people there are financial issues and the stresses of uncertainty floating around as well," she said.
"I would say the amount of stress we deal with in a relationship in normal times has been increased by about 10 times.
"Then you throw in things like the fact that people are drinking a little bit more at the moment ... and there's a real issue."
Ms Ceccon said the solution almost always lied in communication.
"I love couples counselling because it's so rewarding to help people communicate better," she said.
"It almost always comes down to communication and it's such a rewarding thing to help with.
"If people are struggling, the help is out there."
I think we've got addicted to constant updates and feeling like we have to be all over it and have to know every little change.- Dr Kate Alessia
Wimmera Psychology clinical psychologist and social worker Kate Alessia said with more time spent at home and together, couples seemed more proactive about seeking help.
"People feel that their relationship problems are heightened during a lockdown ... and a lot of people are thinking they need to address the issues," she said.
Dr Alessia added that it was a time of heightened stress and anxiety for a lot of people.
She said people could benefit from tuning out of the constant cycle of negative news.
"I think we've got addicted to constant updates and feeling like we have to be all over it and have to know every little change," she said.
"That desire to know is totally logical, but it's not necessarily what is best for us."
She said spending more time caring for yourself and less time tuning in could be beneficial.
"Somebody recently said to me, 'I don't turn on the TV. If I need to know something, I figure my coworkers will fill me in'," she said.
"That might be on the extreme side of things, but I think we could all benefit from taking a little step back from the constant news."
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