Self Care for a Stronger Relationship
You can’t pour from an empty cup. Put on your own oxygen mask first. We all know we should be taking care of ourselves right? But with everything going on, self-care can feel like one more item on a never-ending to-do list.
There’s the job, a relationship, a home, and now an entire wedding to plan. But it is the item that needs to be at the top of your to-do list. Not just for yourself but for your partner as well.
I love this quote from Cindy Norton, owner and couples therapist at AVL Couples Therapy,
“Intimate relationships tend to suffer the most when one or both partners are not regularly practising self-care. We tend to take on the moods of those around us; so if you both are tired, run down, and stressed out, your relationship is going to take a hit.”
Tired, run down and stressed out. It’s not much of a way to start a marriage.
The good news is that you don’t have to commit loads of time and energy on self-care. You just need to make it a priority.
Step 1. Take 10.
A few years ago, I found myself anxious, exhausted and feeling lost. It’s no surprise that my self-care was nonexistent at the time. In an effort to take care of myself, so that I could you know, take care of everything else, I committed to ten-minute sessions of self-care each day. I chose to exercise, journaling and meditation. I snuck these sessions in between clients, during my lunch hour or first thing in the morning. Basically, whenever and wherever I could. My energy improved, my mood lifted and I came to my relationship with more patience and gratitude. Not bad for ten minutes.
You don’t have to pick these three activities. Garden, take a bath, go for a walk, make playlists of your favourite songs and jam out. Pick even one thing you love to do and DO it. Your partner will thank you.
Step 2. Delegate.
You know how I made self-care a routine so that I could better take care of everything (and everyone) around me? Turns out that once I made myself a priority, I realized I didn’t have to do it all on my own. In fact, my insistence that I was the only one capable of taking care of every single detail led to me acting like a crazy person. Nothing was getting done well and it certainly didn’t benefit my partner or anyone around me. You must prioritize and delegate.
This goes double for wedding planning. Your partner can call his mates to make sure they have their tux fittings scheduled. Your crafty mom would LOVE to make the table centrepieces. Your stylish sister in law is the perfect person to pick out bridesmaid dresses. Thank them immensely, appreciate that you have such an amazing support system. Then go get a massage already.
Step 3: Gratitude.
Establishing a daily gratitude practice is one of the most important things you can do. Forbes Magazine lists scientifically proven benefits of gratitude including improved physical and psychological health, better sleep, more empathy and decreased aggression. Essentially, practising gratitude allows you to bring your best self to the table, and to everyone sitting at that table.
Again, this doesn’t have to be a time-consuming task. Take a few minutes each day to write down five things that you are grateful for and really feel into them. Grateful for your dog? Think about how excited she gets when you walk in the door after work. Your partner? Reminisce about the moment you first met. Your friends and family? Imagine how fun it will be to dance the night away at your wedding reception. Gratitude is an instant happiness booster.
Your Best Self
Making self-care a priority allows you to truly show up in your relationship. And while life’s demands may change, the need to take of yourself never will. These simple steps will set you up for success in your relationship and life long after you’ve said I do.