What would you say fills your self-care “tank”? Do you know how your partner would answer that question? More importantly, how long has it been since either of you has actually done any of those things?
All of our lives have been upended in some way or another over the last year, and as we all work to hold each other up, it is easy to get lost in the stress and forget about ourselves. We look to each other for cues as to what’s next.
That means we need to encourage each other to take care of ourselves. When? And How?
When Our Emotional Reservoir Runs Low
Every one of us has an internal reservoir. It is most often associated with emotional health, because our emotions are the output of every sense of our personal health and well-being. Kids become easily frustrated when they’re overly tired. Babies cry when they’re hungry.
Our emotional output doesn’t disappear as we age — we just get better at hiding it! But certain activities fill our emotional reservoir, while others drain it.
Although we have the capacity to forge ahead for much longer than we ought to, eventually an empty tank will leave you stranded.
Once you or your partner have completely tapped your internal resources, you can’t help but begin tapping the other person’s. For both your sakes, give one another permission to refill their tank before you drain each other!
Granting Permission to Refill the Tank
Nutrition and exercise are what we typically think of when we talk about taking good care of ourselves, but the kind of self-care we’re talking about — stuff that really helps refill your tank — is far more diverse than eating your veggies and hitting the gym.
Below, we’re sharing a go-to list of eight proven ways to get a quick boost to your general sense of health and well-being. Take a look, pick a few you know your partner will be into, and tell them to get to it.
- Take a leisurely stroll. No destination, no time limit, no expectations, just walk.
- Reconnect with friends. Maybe a catch-up session by phone or zoom for now. And encourage your partner to make plans they can look forward to.
- Reclaim a personal joy. It could be reading a book, taking a hot bath, or even laying in the grass and watching the clouds float by.
- Get back to that hobby. Ever seen a spark in your partner? Perhaps buy some supplies and send them to the shed or office to work on a mindless project.
- Put pen(cil) to paper. Writing down or drawing out what’s happening around you or how you’re feeling has been a lifeline to many people for a very long time.
- Buy something nice. If there’s something your partner has been eyeing but has waited to buy because of certain circumstances, give them permission to get it if possible.
- Address that nagging ailment. We often ignore minor aches and pains when we’re under stress, hoping they’ll go away. But getting that back massage or soaking those tired feet can make a huge difference in your partner’s stamina.
- Find a spot and be still. Sometimes in a loud and busy and overly-stressful world, what we need most is silence and stillness.
For those couples that need a bit more than a solid dose of self-care, you can always shoot an email to experienced relationship coaches Tim Higdon and Norene Gonsiewski and ask what to do next. Rock Solid will get you each on the path to a stronger sense of self, so that together you can continue strengthening your long-term relationship.