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We all know about the importance of self-care, but little is said about the importance of maintaining self-care in a relationship.
It’s easy to forget about our self-care in a relationship. You get wrapped up in the other person, in thinking about them, making them a priority.
When a relationship starts you find things you like doing together, you form habits & traditions. It’s common for people to forget about their lives beforehand, some even stop doing things they like or having alone time because they have less time.
That’s all normal at the start of a relationship, but with time it may start to take its toll on you personally and on the relationship too. That’s why it’s super important to prioritize your self-care in a relationship.
Remember you’re not just one half of a couple, you’re also a whole person all on your own.
To have the happiest and healthiest relationship possible you need to make your self-care a priority.
It’s about taking care of the relationship but not letting yourself as an individual aside. Taking care of your own needs is as important as caring for the relationship.
What is self-care?
We get sold self-care as face masks and massages and that can be a part of it but it’s not all there is to self-care. Self-care is about doing things to better care for yourself in order to be your healthiest and happiest version.
For some, a massage and moving their body is exactly what they need. For others, it’s going to therapy to resolve traumas from their past. Self-care looks different for each person, but it’s all about showing yourself kindness and understanding how valuable you are.
Self-care in relationships is similar, it’s about taking care of your individuality. But it’s also about caring for your relationship to make it as healthy as possible. It’s a form of self-care because having healthy relationships is a big part of self-care, of the social type of self-care to be exact.
If you want to learn more about the types of self-care, check out our 7 TYPES OF SELF CARE article.
Ways to practice self-care in a relationship
Speak your mind
A big part of practicing self-care in a relationship is staying true to yourself, honoring your values, views, and feelings. For any relationship to work and be healthy, both parties need to feel that they’re allowed to be themselves & voice their opinions.
Both people in the relationship need to feel like their needs are being met and they’re respected. The first step to getting that is speaking up when something doesn’t feel right.
Be vocal about what you need to feel happy & safe
This is the first step you need to take to practice self-care in a relationship, it’s the best thing you can do for yourself. If you don’t speak up, your partner won’t know what you like & don’t like, what you need to feel appreciated, etc.
Value your alone time
It’s of course super important to have quality time with your loved ones, to make memories together. But, the same value should be given to your alone time. At the end of the day, the only person you’re guaranteed to spend forever with is yourself, so I’d say it’s pretty important to learn to love your alone time.
It might not seem like it but valuing your alone time will even make your relationship better in the long run. It’s natural to want to spend every waking moment with your partner, but if you don’t find time for yourself you may unconsciously start feeling suffocated.
Plus, you need to make your own memories, watch the shows and read the books you like in order to have things to share with each other later.
Find Happy Middles
Most of us don’t like conflict, what our mind & soul truly wants is peace and being on good terms with the ones we love. It’s hard to do that when you’re constantly fighting.
Self-care is about giving yourself the best chance to be as happy and at peace as possible. Feeling at peace when you have problems with someone is hard. So, self-care in a relationship comes with the need to compromise at times. If each person is at different spectrums in a conflict, the best thing to do is find a middle ground that feels good to both parties.
As we said, it’s important to meet in the middle at times, but not always. Don’t compromise on things that make you feel like you’re losing yourself or your values. Be open-minded but true to yourself.
Have your own hobbies
Having hobbies is important because it makes life more exciting and gives you something to look forward to when you’re buried in responsibilities. It’s an important part of self-care.
When it comes to self-care in relationships, keep in mind that you don’t have to only get into hobbies you and your partner both like. It is a good idea to have hobbies you share, things you can do to have fun together. But, it’s also important to have activities you like doing on your own. In fact, it’s a healthy way to practice self-care in relationships and in general.
If you’re having a stressful day or you had an argument with your partner, practicing a hobby you love by yourself is a great way to destress and avoid taking your frustrations out on the other person which will help avoid more conflict.
Nurture other relationships
It’s important to make time to nurture all the other relationships in your life apart from your romantic relationship.
It’s normal to want to be glued to your partner in the beginning but you need to make an effort to not stay in a bubble with just them. We all need different types of relationships in our lives to serve different purposes. Each kind of relationship you have feeds different needs you have and brings out a different side of you. Therefore, we need healthy friendships, good relationships with family and co-workers to be fulfilled in every area of our lives.
Give your other relationships as much energy and value as your romantic relationships because they’re just as important. This is one of the most valuable things you can do to practice self-care in relationships.
Don’t miss out on family gatherings or cancel Sunday brunch with your friends. Value all those relationships and what they give you. We don’t wanna put those other relationships aside when we get a partner, and later realize they’ve lost their strength because we didn’t put effort into them.
It’s okay to say no. We need to keep in mind that just because we’re in a relationship with someone, that doesn’t mean that anything goes, no matter how much you trust them.
Everyone has their personal boundaries, things they are & aren’t comfortable with, and we need to learn to respect those boundaries. We also need to figure out what OUR boundaries are and be vocal about them. Setting healthy boundaries sends the message that our needs and views are important and should be valued.
This is one of the most important practices for self-care in a relationship.
Learn each other’s love language
If you’ve been living under a rock you may have not heard about love languages. Your love language is the way you express and experience love, it’s what you need to feel loved and appreciated by another person. You can do a test online to figure out which one applies to you, or you can read the book if you want to understand the love languages better.
Being aware of your partner’s (or friends’) love language and them being aware of yours will be a boost in your relationship. You can use that knowledge to make the other person feel more loved and seen, and vice versa.
It’s super valuable information to have about someone to make them feel cared for. Someone may be showing you appreciation in the way they would like to get it but if that’s not your love language, you could be feeling underappreciated.
A big part of practicing self-love is establishing healthy relationships that make you happier and it would be hard to be happy in a relationship if you’re not feeling appreciated.
Have dates with yourself too
It’s common for couples to plan special dates every once in a while, maybe once a week or once a month depending on each couple. You do it to catch up officially if you’ve been busy, to do something exciting you normally don’t do, to make special memories with each other, to keep the relationship exciting and fun.
It makes me wonder why it’s not common to do this for ourselves. I mean, we’re bound to spend the rest of our lives with ourselves, we better make it exciting right?
Plan a date with yourself once a month, once a week, or as many times as you like. Take that as a time to have fun, make memories, and reconnect with yourself.
Nurture your relationship with yourself the way you nurture your relationships with others.
Work on your personal growth
A better me is a better we.
In order to have as healthy a relationship as possible, both parties need to put in work. It’s going to be very hard to be there for someone else, to be present in your relationship, if you’re not doing well personally. When we’re feeling off internally we tend to space out on others, to feel as disconnected from our loved ones as we do from ourselves.
If you want to be there for your partner, you need to be there for yourself first. It’s gonna be way easier to give your all into a relationship when you’re doing good personally when you’re connected to yourself. If you give everything to someone else when you’re feeling bad internally, you’ll likely burn out fast.
It may be a corny and cliche phrase but it’s true: the best investment you can make is investing in yourself. Give yourself time to work on yourself, on your traumas, limitations, and fears. Take time to get to know YOU as an individual, to be the best version of yourself.
Take responsibility for your own needs & happiness
It’s important to remember that another person can’t make you happy and they can’t satisfy our needs. When we put all our emotional needs & happiness into our relationships is when we have problems and we end up disappointed Each person is responsible for themselves, for their needs and fulfillment.
Your partner is there to share life and love with you, to teach you things. They’re not in your life to be an unlimited source of fulfillment for your emotional needs, you’re the only one that can fill that for yourself.
Being aware of that and practicing it is self-care because it will protect you and help you develop healthier and happier relationships.
If you approach your relationship with the consciousness that you need to care for yourself as an individual to make it work, it’ll be easier to make yourself a priority.
Don’t feel guilty for putting yourself first. You need to be your own biggest advocate to be happy and to be able to put the best energy out into the world and into your relationships.
Remember that your relationship with yourself will set the tone for all other relationships you have. So, work really hard on making your connection to YOU the best it could possibly be.
Practicing self-care in a relationship will help you be more present, loving, and empathetic towards your partner which is bound to make your relationship better.