Love, Self

11 Ways To Make Your Relationship Stronger By Putting Yourself First

Photo: getty
How To Be Happy In Your Relationships By Taking Part In Self-Care

Couples who know how to be happy in a relationship have a secret that you should also apply in your own relationship: self-care.

At the beginning of every relationship, everything is great. You're a happy couple that is deeply in love. You can't wait to see your partner at the end of the day and look forward to spending time with them.

But, after a while, things change. 

RELATED: 9 Ways To Accept (and Love) Your Life Today — For Real Happiness That Lasts

You may be working longer hours after that promotion. You bought a new house. You have a couple of children that need your attention. Somehow, you put everyone else first in your life. But, you leave yourself last on the list.

If you continue to do this, it will come out in your relationship. You will begin to feel distant from your partner, causing resentment. You don't feel like you are having fun in your life anymore.

Yes, you need to do the dishes, take the kids to school, and go to the grocery store. You’re thinking, "How can I fit anytime in for me? My husband never helps out around the house anymore and the house still needs to be taken care of!" So, you feel like you must do all the chores.

But couples in happier and healthy relationships know that they also need time for themselves, without their partner. 

Again, how can you carve out a few minutes to take care of yourself? 

If you want to be happy in your relationship, it's time to take part in these 11 self-care ideas and tips.

1. Stop and take a deep breath.

This can help reduce cortisol levels, which reduces stress and anxiety. If you can, close your eyes and try to clear your mind. Just focus on your breath.

Pay attention to where it is in your body and follow it. This will help keep you in the present.

2. Listen to music.

Research has shown that listening to music can help reduce stress.

So, listen to music with positive lyrics with a soothing sound. And try not to think about what is stressing you out while you are listening to music.

3. Go for a walk.

Get outside in the sunshine, if you can. The fresh air is good for your brain. Try and keep your mind off of what is stressing you out.

Stop and look at a flower or a tree. Take time to notice the details.

4. Try aromatherapy.

Aromatherapy is a good way to reduce stress. If you have some of the oils, put a little behind your neck or underneath your nose. Then, take a few deep soothing breaths.

You can also close your eyes. This will help block out distractions.

5. Hang with your pet.

Studies have shown that pets help reduce stress (also known as pet therapy).

Your cat or dog loves to spend time with you. You can hang on the couch or play with your pet. Time with your pet is time well spent.

RELATED: How To Totally Master The Art Of Being Happy In 6 Steps (Or Less!)

6. Start a journal.

Keeping a journal can help reduce stress. This will help get your feelings out.

Nobody has to see it, so you can say what you want. If you’d like, you can pick a subject write about or write a poem.

7. Hug it out.

If you are around a loved one, give them a hug or ask for a hug. Touch is good for you and we've sadly gotten away from it in our culture.

I love it when my seven-year-old nephew hugs me. It’s even better when he doesn’t want to let go.

8. Do an art project.

This will change your focus. All you need are some pencils and paper. Pick an object to sketch. Or sketch your pet. You can also color.

I love all of the coloring books that are out now for adults.

9. Try mindfulness.

This is a form of meditation and there are many apps out there for mindfulness. Download one and try it out. You can start with five minutes and eventually go up to thirty minutes.

Mindfulness is about being in the present. You can’t go back and you can’t predict the future.

10. Try some light yoga.

With yoga, you get the mind and body connection. This is a great way to reduce stress.

Start with a few gentle poses. Simply rotating your neck can do wonders.

11. Laugh it off.

Laughter can reduce some of the physical effects of stress on the body, like fatigue. So, watch a short funny video clip on YouTube or read a hilarious comic strip.

Now that you know how to take care of yourself, finding happiness in a relationship is within your grasp.

Start with one of these today and learn how to be happier in your life and relationship with your partner. Experiment with them and see which ones work best for you. And remember to go easy on yourself. 

RELATED: 4 Research-Backed Strategies That Will Help You Feel Happier

Lianne Avila is a Marriage & Family Therapist helping people in San Mateo, CA who are looking to create a life that is happier and more fulfilling. Please subscribe to Lianne’s newsletter on Lessons for Love to learn more about her services and expertise.

This article was originally published at Lessons for Love. Reprinted with permission from the author.