How to help and encourage your partner to make time for self-care
Self-care isn’t selfish, but if we’re honest with ourselves, too many of us believe that it is.
We spend our days trying to meet the needs of countless others, but when it comes to making
time for ourselves, we often feel guilty or undeserving.
By constantly putting off our own self-care, we find ourselves at risk of burnout and mental ill-health. It’s for this reason that having a supportive partner is so vital. Those who are constantly taking care of others often need a little nudge when it comes to taking care of themselves.
So, if this sounds like your partner, here are a few things you can do to encourage them to prioritise their own wellbeing.
Listen and practice empathy.
First things first – take the time to really listen to your partner. How have they been feeling lately? What are they carrying as part of their mental load? Are they worried, stressed, or anxious about anything? What do they need, at this very moment?
Listen without interrupting and avoid expressing pity or sympathy. Instead show empathy and take their concerns seriously – remember, what feels minor to you can feel major to them.
Asking questions and listening to the answers will show your partner that you care about their needs, but most importantly, will encourage them to shift their focus inwards – the first step in prioritising self-care.
Re-establish and respect each other’s boundaries.
Most couples know that healthy boundaries are an important part of any successful relationship, but what many of us don’t realise is that boundaries also play a key role in maintaining resilience and preventing burnout.
If your partner is constantly letting their boundaries fall in order to meet other’s needs – whether yours or someone else’s – they’re going to quickly find themselves exhausted, frustrated, and burnt out.
Remember that boundaries are not designed to punish, but to preserve, so encourage your partner to be clear about their boundaries and to let go of any guilt they may feel about having them.
Talk about your shared goals and priorities.
If you find you and your partner are constantly juggling a mile-long to-do list or a packed weekend schedule, take the time to stop and evaluate your priorities. Are there commitments you can let go of, events you can decline, or tasks you can outsource?
Consider what your long and short-term goals are, and what kind of life you want to have together, and try to shape your commitments and activities around this.
By creating space in your schedule by removing what isn’t necessary, you can help ease your partner’s mental load and give them back some time to spend on themselves.
Share the load.
If your partner is feeling stressed or overloaded, consider what you can take off their plate to help lessen their load. Maybe it’s cooking dinner, dropping the kids off at their play date, or taking the dog to the vet.
Try to share the load as fairly and evenly as possible, as this will make it easier for your partner to find guilt-free time for themselves.
Self-care isn’t a luxury we need to “earn” – it’s a necessity we require to maintain resilience, balance, and wellbeing. By enabling your partner to make time for self-care, you can help remove any guilt or reluctance they may feel and support them in nurturing their best self.
Peta Sigley is the Chief Knowledge Officer and Co-Founder of Springfox