Sometimes, the right thing to do when your relationship feels off track is to check in on yourself.
Dr. Gottman recommends that you take some time to be “selfish.” If that word feels funny to you, think of it as investing in you. Our research found that taking care of yourself helps your relationship grow stronger. Both you and your partner will benefit from a release of tension. Here are a few ideas you can start with:
Filled with nervous energy or frustration? Take some time to engage in physical activity and work it off. If it helps to reduce stress, bring your favorite music along. The relief you gain from spending time moving your body may lessen your likelihood to snap at your partner.
Does reading soothe you? Head to the library and check out a new book. Many local libraries have ebooks that you can read on any device. Let yourself fall into the world of fiction or if you prefer to fill your head with a new subject matter.
Miss your friends? Make a connection. Whether it’s over a video chat platform or you skip over to your favorite coffee shop, be intentional about reaching out to your friends. Taking the time to reconnect with those who feel like your home away from home will leave you all feeling rejuvenated.
In dealing with those who are undergoing great suffering, if you feel “burnout” setting in, if you feel demoralized and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself. The point is to have a long-term perspective.
The Dalai Lama
Take a moment to contemplate what activities help you feel refreshed. It may be different depending on the day. Some mornings you’ll need quiet and a cup of coffee while others you’ll need 30 minutes on your yoga mat. Whatever it is, commit to carving out time every day to do a “selfish” activity that helps you feel like you are again. You’ll find yourself in a better headspace and ready to invest in your partner and your relationship.
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