Self-care promotes your well-being and keeps your marriage healthy as well
“The relationship with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship you have.”
- Robert Holden, British psychologist and author
Self-care is an umbrella term that means treating yourself in a kind way and taking care of your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. It’s only when you love and take good care of yourself, that you can give to others – your partner, children, family and friends.
Self-care and the health of a marriage are innately linked. For instance, as self-care reduces stress and improves moods, it enhances the marital relationship. Also, opting for self-care activities makes you self-reliant. You are no longer constantly seeking your spouse’s time and attention. As partners give each other space, the marriage flourishes.
Psychotherapist and relationship counsellor, Dr. Aman Bhonsle, who has a clinic in Mumbai, believes self-care is a problem that has not been addressed in marriages for the longest time. “Now the conversation around self-care has picked up because of the phenomenal increase in access to information and convenience thanks to the internet and smartphone apps. Moreover, more individualistic attitudes are prompting people to avail self-care options while being in a joint emotional, physical and social space like a marriage.”
Making time for a hobby, be it trekking, dancing, music or sport, is an important way to practise self-care, he says. It is important to communicate and negotiate with your partner so that he or she supports your self-care activities. “Finally, I would say don’t abuse the concept of self-care to be selfish. You have to be sensitive to your partner’s needs too,” he stresses.
Self-care means different things to different people. Says Dr. Tana Trivedi Joshi, an academician based in Ahmedabad: “For my husband Love, self-care means meditating, playing video games and working out at the gym, while for me it’s catching an afternoon nap, getting a relaxing massage, meeting friends, and cooking. We have this implicit understanding and give each other the time and space to pursue our varied interests and hobbies. Not everything is a joint venture.”
Modern-day challenges are manifold. Working full-time and caring for the home and family are itself stressful. In addition, coping with unexpected crises such as a raging pandemic and rising costs of living, make it imperative that couples focus on self-care, says Tana.
Physical self-care involves keeping fit and healthy with a nutritious diet, exercise and good sleep hygiene. Pick a form of exercise you enjoy. Self-care definitely does not involve forcing yourself to do things you don’t like. That would defeat the purpose!
Take up these self-care activities for mental, emotional and spiritual well-being:
- Journal regularly
- Spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself
- Practise deep breathing and/or meditation
- Be mindful of whatever you are doing
- Cultivate the reading habit
- Join an online activity where you can meet new people
- Listen to music
- Connect with nature
- Have a pet
- Indulge in some retail therapy by shopping online
Having ‘me time’ not only helps you connect better with yourself but with your partner as well. Says Anusha Iyer, who works for a consumer organisation in Ahmedabad: “In the pre-pandemic days, my husband Sathya would go on a short annual trip alone. Initially, I wondered about his need for solitude. But soon I realised it was important for him to connect with himself and recharge. And, this was important for our marriage as well.”
Sathya is an early riser and goes on long morning walks. He does not try to drag Anusha along as she is not a morning person. As work keeps him busy on the weekends, she does her own thing – reads a book, watches something on the OTT platforms, or catches up with friends. “Self-care makes you better in every role that you play in life. When you work on yourself, the positivity reflects in your marriage as well,” says Anusha.
By: Aruna Raghuram
Very nice and thought provoking article! Keep it up!
Nicely written and compiled ! Self care is so important in current scenario .