"Self Care" imho is a term we use ad nauseum to describe the "extra" or "special" things we do to survive the lives we"ve created for ourselves we dub "optional", such as taking a bath, having a glass of wine, or booking a pedicure. While these things are delightful, consider instead that "self care" is the LOW BAR BASICS we must do to survive the lives we"ve created ourselves.
The low bar basics you do for yourself also applies to your relationships and will interrupt pesky and persistent cycles leaving you disconnected from yourself and the important people in your life. Here are a few tips to help you do just that.
Be present- as in make a little space to connect with your people. Make eye contact, put down the chopping knife and scoop up your beloved for an embrace. Allow yourself to be there in that moment for as long as you"d (both) like. Notice how it feels for you and your love when you give yourself this moment. Does it feel a little different than a quick, "hey" as they walk in the door?
Take time for you- I notice I have so much more to give to the people I love when I allow myself time to be with myself or to do whatever the fuck I feel like doing, which is a lovely lead in to . . .
Notice your feelings- When I notice irritability or snappiness rising, I make it explicit ("Whoa! I"m feeling grumpy and irritable") and excuse myself for a bike ride or to pull weeds in the garden. In these brief moments, I don"t have to hold anyone or anything other than myself and can come back feeling a bit more fit for human consumption.
Set healthy boundaries- A mountain of resentment builds rather quickly when I"m not tuning in to what I want/need to do for myself vs what I think I have, should do, was asked to do, etc, etc. "Here"s the damn dinner I made for you" isn"t the message I want to send to my beloved. I"d much rather them hear, "I can"t wait to make this new recipe for you Tuesday" and see all my love and care spooned into their delicious mouth.
Take action to improve your relationship- A client who told me she and her partner have a "State of the Union" meeting Sunday afternoons and share what the other had done well that week, as well as a struggle. Making intentional time each week to give/receive feedback creates a culture of noticing and verbalizing sweetness vs allowing frustrations to fester and get bigger.