An interesting development in the past few years has been the acknowledgement of self care as an important part of all of our lives. No matter what your situation, self care is now seen as part of our overall well being – along with diet, exercise and social support. A more recent development has been the focus on relationship self care – if you’re not familiar with this term, think self care – but for couples. Just like we need some space and nurturing to recover from a tough week, our relationship also needs nurturing – and there are some specific activities that can give couples a major relationship boost.
The following are a few of our favorite examples of how to practice relationship self care so that you and your partner are the best versions of you and so that your relationship can flourish.
Personal Space – It sounds strange, but taking space from each other is a fundamental part of relationship self care. In long term relationships, we can find ourselves conforming to our partner’s ways and often thinking as ‘us’ – meaning that you rarely get to do exactly what you want. For many couples, taking some time apart – whether this is making your own plans for the weekend, or even going away for a few days – allows you to think in a totally selfish way, and indulge all of your impulses – even if this is to have chocolate for dinner or stay up until 3am watching Netflix. Taking this break means that, when you return to your partner, you’re coming from a totally different perspective – you have had the chance to step away from your normal life, and are able to return to the safety and comfort of your relationship, newly appreciative of the dynamic with your partner.
Date Night or Adventures – Relationships are not like books on a shelf, or furniture – they need maintenance and attention, or else they will falter and eventually fall over. A weekly date night, or planned adventures and trips away, can help to create opportunities to connect and have fun. Research tells us that sharing new experience together can help to bond couples and strengthen their connection. In terms of relationship self care, this provides a dopamine hit and allows you to see each other in a new light – out of your comfort zone – where you can show new talents and make new memories together.
Therapy or Coaching – We know that a stereotype exists that therapy and relationship coaching are reserved for couples who are in trouble – but more recently, couples are seeking help at the beginning of their relationships – being determined to have a healthy relationship with good communication. Being able to iron out issues around intimacy, trust, communication and boundaries when things are going well in the relationship, means that there is more time and energy to focus on the good things – like enjoying each other’s company! Relationship coaching apps like Relish are cost-effective resources for relationship self care, since they are flexible (you can send a message to a Coach at any time) and more engaging and fun than more traditional, face to face therapies.
As you can see, relationship self care is different for everyone – but in general, finding ways to nurture the connection between you and your partner, and building up the good things between you while addressing the negatives, is a great place to start. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start your relationship self care journey!