This year has been hard on most relationships. Indeed, many couples feel they have been going through a relationship endurance test during 2020. Some have sought relationship help with professionals in an attempt to ease any tensions in their relationships. Chances are if you have a significant other that your relationship has been stressed this year.
Is there an infallible secret formula to stay afloat through turbulent times? The answer is no, but we have some helpful tips and everyday practices that can help you both deal with stress in your relationship.
Basis of Healthy Relationships
Let’s get started from the very beginning; what do we mean when we talk about healthy relationships? These are the five most important characteristics that we can say are common to most healthy relationships in the world:
- Supporting each other’s goals
- Being kind to each other regardless of the circumstances
- Having honesty and trust as core values
- Being patient
- Two-way communication
Obstacles of 2020
Although many relationships share the above characteristics, 2020 has brought many new challenges. Many couples have felt they had to speed up decisions about getting married or moving in together or face not seeing each other for a long time. Or they may have put off these decisions. Making such important decisions in haste can cause stress and doubt in a relationship.
A healthy relationship always needs to work on the fine line of having space to breathe and grow and sharing quality time. You can feel imprisoned spending too much time with that same person in the same space, thus ending balance.
This feeling can have some serious effects on our patience and communication. One or both partners may feel stifled and that their individuality is under threat. In that mindset, being supportive, loving, kind, and patient is pretty much Mission Impossible.
Can a healthy relationship turn into a toxic relationship? The answer is an absolute yes. Years of building a home with love and patience as the main foundation can become shaky under stress.
The Secret Behind Healthy Relationships
The big secret behind healthy relationships is understanding that happiness is not dependent on others or exterior conditions. Happiness starts from within. For example, when I became aware of this concept, I was able to examine my relationship and understand how to make it work.
Once I fully grasped this insight that happiness comes from within, I started nurturing a different relationship–not with my partner, but with myself. The more I was able to understand my own flaws and work on them, the more I could understand those of my partner. This has opened a whole new chapter in communication leading to an unknown territory. We have been able to speak frankly, and that old feeling of anger and resentment that followed me from my childhood soon vanished.
Through serious work on myself, I reached a new understanding of my past and re-learned how to communicate by being present in the moment. Leaving past wounds, fears, and scars out of my current feelings and emotions turned all discussions and problems into situations much simpler to solve. I was no longer bringing my insecurities or judging my partner through my biases, but genuinely nurturing mutual understanding.
How to Start and Maintain a Self-Care Routine
How can you achieve this new, better state of self-understanding? Everyone’s path is different, but starting a self-care routine helped me stay focused and grounded. These are small steps that, with dedication and consistency, will definitely change your life, too.
1. Mornings Are Important
I started getting up half an hour earlier than usual. This time is enough for hydration, 10-minute meditation, 10-minute yoga, and a quick shower. Meeting my partner after those activities makes me want to hug them. Meditation balances me, yoga releases some endorphins, and hydration adds clarity. Sharing breakfast is also a good thing for us.
2. Learning to Say No
This was another major change for me; since I have learned how to say no without feeling guilty, I can dedicate more time to nurture myself and my relationship with my partner. Saying no to plans you don’t feel like participating in will open the door for other things; embrace them.
3. Food and Nutrition
I stay away from food that is high in processed sugar. It’s okay to have a treat once in a while as long as your diet is generally healthy.
4. Declutter Your Workspace
Since I am now spending lots of time at home due to remote work, I have had to revamp my workspace. Keeping it neat and tidy makes it easy to get started each morning.
5. Slow Down before Going to Bed
I detox from social media, Netflix, and all screens and meditate for 10 minutes before going to bed. This helps my brain relax and get ready for sleep. I try to get a solid 8 hours a night.
Those are the five most important steps of my self-care routine. Once you start nurturing your relationship with yourself, you’ll have way fewer mood swings, and that can be a huge help to any and all relationships.
How to Maintain a Long-Distance Relationship
Can a long-term relationship survive as a long-distance relationship? They definitely face some challenges, but there are some positive things about them as well. For example, you won’t be distracted by everyday annoyances from your partner and focus on having interesting, insightful communication. It makes every communication more mindful and valuable.
When you do the work on yourself, you are likely to be more patient and nurturing. These two skills can help you cope with those moments when distance can be an obstacle that can’t be conquered by technology. Zoom calls help people communicate, but sooner or later, you’ll want the feeling of a hug or a quick touch. To nurture the long-distance relationship, find interactive activities with your partner that help you stay close and connected.
Finally, the best advice I can give you for a healthy long-term relationship is to judge it and appreciate it for what it is. If you spend time thinking, “if only we could…”, you’ll only be focusing on the negative. Embrace your freedom, give time to self-love and personal growth, and share your new-found happiness with that person who means a lot to you.
The secret to a healthy relationship is hidden inside yourself. Once you unlock self-love and establish a good self-care routine to stick to, you’ll experience with joy, how all relationships around you change for the better. The journey to unleashing your GR8NESS and being happy starts with you. Grow your self-love through self-care, and you’ll nurture healthy relationships all your life.