We interviewed Kimberly Bass, LCSW to understand why self-care is so important to our relationships. Kimberly has been working in the field of human services for over 17 years. She brings a wealth of experience and finds deep joy in connecting with people in their journey of healing and self-discovery. Kimberly is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who provides educational group instruction to professionals interested in learning trauma-informed care. Kimberly’s passion for mindfulness, spirituality, personal growth and healing through her delivery of clinical treatment provides clients with safety as they meet their own treatment goals.
Three Categories of Relationships
When people think of relationships, their minds tend to jump straight to romantic relationships. However, relationships can fall into three categories:
Your relationship with yourself
Your relationships with the world around you (people, money, food, etc.)
Your relationship with something bigger than yourself (karma, universe, energy, a higher power, etc.)
The First Relationship Category & Self-Care
Self-care falls into the first category of relationships, and it’s all about taking an active role in maintaining your happiness and health. An analogy that Kimberly Bass uses for self-care is thinking about our body as a car, and self-care is the maintenance that keeps it going from point A to point B. If we leave our low tire-pressure unchecked, then it gets more difficult for the car to get to point B. Similarly, if we leave our emotions unchecked, it can be harder to get through our day. So what exactly should we address in our self-care? Some of the basic needs that are critical to take care of include:
🥦 Making healthy choices - getting proper sleep, eating healthy, doing physical activities
😰 Monitoring your own mental state - Are you feeling lonely, angry, etc.?
🚫 Avoiding unhealthy choices
And making sure that we keep up with our “maintenance” is important because when self-care suffers, it impacts our other relationships, including our relationship with our partner. Not taking the time to take care for ourselves can result in an unhealthy reliance on our partner to make our day better. Unfortunately, we sometimes forget that our partners cannot read our minds and we need to recognize that only we can address our own internal needs.
So how do we make sure self-care is something that we prioritize? It’s easy to push taking self-care to a later date by saying “I’ll start that goal next week” (we’ve all been there)! In order to make sure that self-care is something we are practicing everyday, we need to make sure to set aside time each day for ourselves and do something that brings us joy. This can be as simple as a walk outside, calling family and friends, or eating a healthy snack. It also helps to plan out our self-care routine for the day. For example, when it comes to eating, planning out our meals can help ensure that we avoid eating unhealthy foods or avoid skipping our meals altogether.
If you’re looking to expand your inventory of self-care activities, then look no further! Kimberly suggests the following activities as great ideas that can help you get started (or continue) on your self-care journey. As an individual, you can:
📗 Keep a journal to reflect on your day and set goals for yourself
📚 Treat yourself to something that makes you feel happy (for example: a new book)
🎧 Do activities that involve one of your senses, such as listening to music, aromatherapy, getting a massage, meditation
🚴♀️ Partake in physical activity (if it’s too cold outside, try some yoga inside 😃)
And even though it’s called “self” care, your partner can play a big role in making sure you’re successful at prioritizing self-care. Couples should find time to communicate so that they are on the same page and understand their partner’s needs intimately. Once you meet that basic requirement, your partner can help support your self-care goals. Activities that couples can do together to support self-care goals include:
📆 Creating a joint calendar to see what’s going on in each other’s lives (this can be helpful if you’re someone who thinks your partner can always read your mind 😃)
🍽 Schedule recurring date time
🏁 Discuss your intentions for the day with your partner so they can help support those goals
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