Self-Care + Relationship-Care
I spent the better part of the day fighting off a bug, and engaging in some major self care by taking it super easy (like I may or may not have binge watched the entire season of Dead to Me on Netflix ). As I’m not sure my brain can take anymore tv, I’m finally started typing up some notes ( because TBH I’m always behind on them) and thinking about relationships. Self- care is a huge buzz word right now (and for good reason). In a culture that loves its hustle porn and productivity 24/7, we NEED constant reminders that it’s ok to JUST BE sometimes. In fact it’s more than ok, it’s imperative.
We know that self-care is important to our own wellbeing, but what we often overlook is that our relationships need that kind of care too. I don’t mean a once a year beach vacation (which don’t get me wrong, is fabulous). I’m talking about being able to prioritize the connection we have with our partners and just BE.
- without an agenda
- without the pressure that it needs to be Instagram worthy
- without the pings from our phones
- without other people around
- without the need that it be anything else than just time to nurture each other.
Most couples I talk to struggle with time. I get that life these days is at a crazy pace. Work, school drop offs and pick-ups, soccer practice, dinner prep, exercise and poof- it feels like there’s nothing left to give. The problem is, if you and your partner don’t schedule in time for each other no one will. And there will always be ONE more thing that bumps that relationship care down a rung if you let it.
Just how am I supposed to do that?
So what does that mean for the busy modern day couple just trying to survive? Well, it means you can’t give up- BUT you may need to do things a little differently to prioritize your relationship.
- Throw those expectations straight into the garbage. Seriously. If you’re constantly just waiting for the “perfect time” or the fancy dinner or a holiday – your relationship is going to be starving by the time it gets a little TLC. Instead: maybe carve out an hour at night in your pjs, grab some time together at lunch, squeeze in a tiny chunk on a weekend. It doesn’t have to be amazing; you just need time to be.
- 2. Stop over scheduling. Ok you’re going to hate me a little bit for this, but it needs to be said. Yes, there are some things that we HAVE to prioritize- our livelihoods, making sure our kid’s get an education, and of course some self-care (exercise, doctors’ appointments, etc.). But I’m going to invite you to take a hard look at your schedule and see where you can trim. Maybe the kids don’t need to play every sport all year long, or maybe you don’t have to bring work home? I don’t know, I’m not the expert on your life- you are. But what I do know, is that I see WAY too many couples filling up their schedule so much that their relationship doesn’t even make an appearance on the list of priorities. Unfortunately, that often leads down a path of relationship destruction as they eventually don’t even know how to just be with each other anymore
- 3. Visualize your relationship as a living thing, and quality time you spend with your partner is how you feed and water it. Sure, it can go a while without that nourishment, but eventually there’s nothing left to keep it going. Make sure that even if it’s not getting fed as much as is optimal, you’re still giving it some sustenance.
I hope you and your partner take some time to talk about the current state of your relationship care and be honest. What are you doing well and what would you like to work on? Keep the discussion ongoing and check in at least once every 6 months.
So go on ahead.
Start that conversation and see where it takes you!
Yasmine Binghalib is a Relationship Specialist and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice in Placerville, California. You can learn more about her and the services she offers by going to eldoradocountytherapy.com