Self care is relationship care

We all want to improve our relationships with others, particularly the relationship we have with our partner. But, how can we do that if we are neglecting the relationship that we have with ourselves? We have all heard the statement time and again, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.”

Yes, this blog post is about relationships, but it’s also really about you. Where you are at in terms of your emotional health, physical health, sleep quality, and self-esteem (to name a few) all impact who you are in your relationships with others and how you show up for the people you care about.

After having my two kids, I’ve really begun to prioritize exercise and nutrition in my life. I know that long-term, it’s imperative that I have a healthy lifestyle so that I can be the person that I want to be for my partner and my kids. But, with the stressors that have occurred in 2020 for all of us, I had fallen off track in regards to my own self-care. As a result, I felt as though my energy was depleted and the disappointment that I had in myself easily trickled over into my ability to be present in my relationships.

If your a mom during this pandemic and you’re being faced with the current decision of having to teach your children from home, you likely know where I’m coming from. I imagine that self-care at the moment is at the bottom of your list. Similarly, your relationship is likely also not being made a priority. I get it! There are only so many hours in the day and you have just taken on the new role of educator for your children. Unfortunately, we have to keep in mind that the outcome will not go well. When we don’t take care of ourselves because we are giving to others, resentment often surfaces.

Resentment is a incredibly powerful emotion that can quickly increase disconnection. If you are feeling resentful of your partner, your situation, or just the extra stress that has surfaced from this year, communicate those emotions with your partner or others in your life. This is an opportunity to increase connection by sharing with your partner the ways in which you are struggling. This is an opportunity for you and your partner to begin to empathize with one another’s pain and stress. Don’t hesitate to assert your needs. Ask for 15 minutes to take a bubble bath while your husband puts the kids to bed. Ask for your wife to make room for some time in the evening so you can go for a jog. Remember, you have to be the expert of you and check in with yourself and what you are needing. Once you are able to do that, it’s then your responsibility to communicate what your needs are.

If you can show up for yourself, your partner then has the ability to show up for you. But, it has to start with you. Your partner is not the expert of you. You can’t expect that they know and understand what your needs are, especially since your needs can change over time.

Is there a need you have for yourself during this pandemic that isn’t being met? Is your partner aware of this need? Are you continuing to prioritize self-care?

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