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How Self Care Can Improve Your Love Life
Posted by hollyashby
5th Nov 2018

How Self Care Can Improve Your Love Life

Thanks to technology, dating has never been more accessible. Love them or hate them, dating websites (and more recently, dating apps) have revolutionised the way that we find love. Even long distance relationships, once characterised by perfumed letters, have been made infinitely easier with the use of Skype and more affordable transportation.

Despite this, statistics show us that 40% of marriages still end in divorce, and it can sometimes feel like more unmarried people than ever are breaking up. Although there is definitely an argument to be made that we simply date differently than we did 50 years ago, it is also true that our generation’s mental health struggles are considerably greater, and this is also affecting our relationships.

With so many of us feeling anxious and stressed, is it any wonder that we find it difficult to maintain healthy relationships, or just struggle to know what we want when it comes to dating? Whether it’s meditating every day, taking an afternoon just to yourself once a week, or organising your time better, self care can go a long way towards relieving the pressures that are placing strain on our dating lives.

 

The Oxygen Mask Theory

For those of us that have ever been on an airplane, the safety protocol of securing your own oxygen mask during an emergency before you attempt to help others with theirs is all too familiar. This concept has been cleverly co-opted by self care enthusiasts, and for fairly obvious reasons. After all, it doesn’t seem very logical to put all our energy into looking after or helping someone when we’re not at full strength to look after ourselves - mentally, physically or emotionally.

Whether it’s pressure at work or family struggles, there’s always something that can keep us up at night, and prevent us from slowing down enough to reflect on our choices. Thankfully, meditation can be a fantastic self care tool that can fit into our busy lives and help give us a better perspective on what it is we really want. Studies show that by taking the time to meditate every day, whether it is at home or even on the bus, you can help to unwind the stress responses that may be causing you to feel unsettled.

Meditation can also help to improve self esteem and confidence (the holy grail of self care), and can make a huge difference in the way we approach our relationships with others. Even with the convenience of modern technology, relationships and dating take a great deal of work to maintain, and this is only exacerbated when we’re feeling down or stressed. Once we start to feel more at peace with ourselves, it becomes far easier to go after the things we want in life, and to find a place for other people in our lives.

 

A Whole Lot of Time

Knowing what it is you want out of relationships can be hard enough when you have all the time in the world. As we get older, however, our love lives tend to take a backseat to other life commitments, such as our careers. According to Match.com, the most common reason its members give for not putting themselves out there is “not having the time”.

Even if you’re not interested in a serious relationship, dating still takes a lot of time and effort, and many of us lead hectic lives that leave little room for matchmaking. Even those in serious relationships can still find it hard to make time for one another, especially when different work schedules are taken into account.

Time management is an aspect of self care than can help to alleviate the stress we feel when life seems to get on top of us. Organising your time can go a long way to relieving symptoms of stress and anxiety, as it provides us with structure and control over our lives. As hard as it may be, it’s important to find “me time”  in even our busiest periods. Something as simple as bullet journaling can be a creative and easy way to gain control of your time. Because the layout of a bullet journal is created by the individual, it can adapt to even the most unconventional schedules.

Whether you’re single and trying to find the time to go on that blind date that you’ve been too busy for, or you and your partner have been passing right by each other for weeks because of opposing work schedules, making the effort to schedule your time (and cut out the habits that are not making you happy) can have great long-term benefits for both you and your potential partner.

 

Let’s Stick Together

If you’re trying to make time for another person, finding that all important “me” time can seem counterintuitive. However, this doesn’t have to be the case if that “me time” becomes “we time”. By finding activities that you and your partner can do together, you’ll not only both benefit individually, but also won’t have to go out of your way to find the extra time for self care rituals.

For example, instead of spending lots of money on a spa weekend, you and your partner could create a romantic getaway in your very home, complete with dim lighting, music and scented candles. If your partner is feeling particularly generous, they may even offer you a massage. Exercise is also a fantastic self care ritual that anyone can take up - and let’s face it, working out is always more fun with someone else. Exercising, particularly aerobic activities, increases our natural serotonin levels and improves our mood throughout the day, which can only benefit our interactions with others.

Though it is still important to take time for yourself now and again, self care doesn’t need to become another obligation that keeps you from dating. Sometimes just relaxing with someone else and having a hot chocolate can be a great first date that will still help alleviate your stress and anxiety.

 

Clarity Of The Mind

Self care is all about finding a clarity of mind, and  improving your relationship with yourself as much as with others. With this clarity, it’s possible that you can improve your communication skills, which will only benefit any relationships you’re in.

Sammy Davis Jr once sang that ‘I can’t be right for somebody else if I’m not right for me’, and when life stresses you out, it can be hard to feel ‘right’. Whether you’re single, in the early stages of dating or in a long term relationship, self care can help reduce that stress. With luck, you’ll also begin d improve your self esteem and confidence in yourself, your decisions and your relationships.

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Holly Ashby is a wellness writer who works with Will Williams Meditation, a London based meditation company who help people cope with the effects of stress and mental illnesses like anxiety and depression.

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