Self-care and your relationship

I have a guilty confession to make……. I’ve come away to a day spa.  It’s not something I would normally do, and to be honest with you, I’ve really enjoyed it! It has been so relaxing to get away from it all for a few hours and have nothing to worry about other than what time my pedicure is due (although the staff even come and find you, so really, you don’t even have to worry about that!).

But there’s that nagging voice in the back of my head, saying that I should be doing more work, or that I should be doing something else more “productive”. There’s something that feels really self-indulgent about it – and I have to stop and say to myself, “I love my job. I work really hard and that actually it’s OK sometimes to take some time away and recharge the batteries.”

But I’m not here to talk about me! I want to talk about you, your self-care (or lack of it), and how it affects your relationship.

Something that comes up with couples and individuals that I see on a fairly regular basis is that if they take time for themselves, either as an individual or a couple, they often feel guilty. Even if I am setting them a task to do together to work on their relationship, such as communication, or creating quality time together. Week after week, couples will come back and say they didn’t have the time. But the truth is, they didn’t MAKE the time. You see the difference? Let me just emphasise the point, because it’s REALLY important:-

“There’s a difference between having time for your relationship and MAKING time for your relationship”.

It’s true that we don’t have any time to ourselves. Quite naturally, you put your children first if you have them. Work often gets the best of our waking hours, and more. Family life can be crazy-making and hectic. And you, as a couple, are stuck in the middle of it all, spinning plates and just trying to get through the day. Which often means that making time for yourselves goes to the bottom of the ever-growing “To Do” list.

But if you think about what it means to recharge, actually, it’s about making sure that you’re feeling at your best, so that you can actually be there for your partner and your relationship, and with your family, in the best possible way.

Think about the last time you flew. The Cabin Crew would have given you the safety drill, and as part of that they would have said to you that if suddenly the cabin pressure dropped and you needed oxygen – you must attend to your own mask before you try to help anybody else with theirs. That makes complete sense doesn’t it? After all, if you faint, you’re no good to anybody else!

So apply that to everyday life. If you burn out, then you’re not doing either of you the best service if you ignore it and carry on. You’re not being in the relationship as fully as you could be. How will you enjoy each others’ company and have fun together? Click here to read my blog post on How to Resurrect the Fun in your Relationship.

Self-care is essential for a healthy, functioning relationship. TWEET THIS

Plants are amazing at self-preservation and self-protection. A cactus is covered with spines. That reduces its surface area as opposed to having leaves. This means that it loses less water in the desert, and also the spines to protect it against being eaten by predators. Or think about a rose – it has thorns to protect and preserve it.

All around us, Nature finds a way of drawing boundaries to ensure survival.

So if we are Nature ourselves as well, why would we not do that? It makes complete sense to do it.

5 signs you need self-care in your relationship

Upset young couple arguing in their living room

So take some time with your partner to reflect together on what signs there might be that you are in need of some self-care, either as an individual or as a couple. For example:-

  • Are you arguing more than usual?
  • Are you or your partner feeling a bit less patient?
  • Have you found yourselves snapping at each other over small things?
  • Do you feel that the passion has reduced or gone altogether?
  • Do you feel hopeless or unmotivated to change?

If any of these apply to you, don’t feel too disheartened – they are all indications of opportunities for growth and change, and self-care might just enable that!

Whatever it is for you as an individual, or as a couple, that you feel that you need for self-care, will be completely individual. Some people have paid so little attention to self-care within their relationship, that actually they forget what it is that they used to do for fun or to recharge, before they took on bigger commitments.

5 tips for Relationship Self-Care

Man and woman relaxing in bamboo spa.So now take the time to reflect together on what self care means to each of you as individuals, and together as a couple. For example:-

  • Is it a couples/individual spa day?
  • Is it going for a walk together/individually in nature?
  • Is it to take that novel that you keep trying to start and don’t have time to finish and just going away on your own for a couple of hours to a café or just sit under a tree and read that?
  • Is it having a picnic together in the woods, away from everyone else?
  • Is it doing something creative, making something, baking a cake?

It really doesn’t matter what you do – as long as you’re doing something that stimulates you so that you can revive yourselves and your relationship. And it’s absolutely fine if it means spending a little time apart to recharge your batteries individually.

How to make your relationship thrive

Couple holding a plantWhat works for you as a couple may not work for the next couple. Relationships are diverse and unique. The needs of a cactus are very different from the needs of a rose. It will need different amounts of light, a different type of soil, different placement in the house. It’s proximity to other plants will also be different. Some plants thrive when they are surrounded by other plants and other plants need more a more solitary environment for them to thrive.

So I want to leave you with this exercise. Each ask yourselves the following questions:-

  • If you were a plant in a garden centre, what would your care label say? What do you need in order to thrive?
  • Share your answers with your partner, and then think about what the label would say if your relationship were the plant.

Visit my website where you can sign up for my newsletter, and also my FREE e-course for couples – The Four Seasons Relationship Course. There’s also a communication guide and loads more advice and information for couples. Come on over to my Facebook page –  Krystal Woodbridge Relationship Coach – follow me on Twitter, @KrystalCoach, or on Pinterest.

I really look forward to seeing you online soon. Take care for now!

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