11 Tiny Ways To Make Your Relationship Stronger By Putting Yourself First

Happy starts and ends with you.

Last updated on Mar 05, 2024

Woman spending time with her puppy gradyreese | Canva

At the beginning of every relationship, everything is wonderful. You're a happy couple deeply in love. You can't wait to see your partner at the end of the day. But, after a while, things change.

You put everyone else first in your life. But you leave yourself last on the list. If you continue to do this, it will affect your relationship. You will feel distant from your partner, which causes 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 partner never helps out around the house anymore, and the house still needs to be taken care of!"


Couples in happy and healthy relationships know they need time alone without their partner. How can you carve out a few minutes to take care of yourself?

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Here are 11 tiny ways to make your relationship stronger by putting yourself first:

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. Focus on your breath. Pay attention to how you breathe, where the breath is in your body, and follow it. This helps 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 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 to 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 beneficial 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.


relaxing in hot water with aromatherapy

Photo via Getty

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.

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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 to write about or write a poem.

7. Hug it out

If you are around a loved one, hug them 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.



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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 to try 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. 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 putting yourself first today and learn to be happier in your life and your relationship with your partner. Experiment and see which ones work best for you. Remember to go easy on yourself. 

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Lianne Avila is a licensed marriage and family therapist with a practice in San Mateo, CA. Her work has been featured in Psych Central, BRIDES, and Prevention.