Why self care is relationship care

Often as parents or one half of a relationship, it can be easy to fall in to the habit of putting other people and their needs first – at the expense of taking any time to look after ourselves. In doing this, we often think that we’re being selfless and a “good” partner or parent, when in fact, failure to look after yourself is not doing anyone any favours. Looking after your wellbeing and having fulfilment outside of your relationship is a key contributing factor to maintaining a healthy and happy relationship and family life. Being happy and healthy both physically and mentally allows you to lead the best life you can, to connect with others and to ride the bumps that life often brings.

Common issues that affect people’s wellbeing, happiness and state of mind include:

  • Relationship issues – whether they be with your partner, family members or friends
  • Unhappiness in your career or workplace
  • Health concerns
  • Financial worries

Most of us will feel the bite of these challenges at some point in our lives.  By looking after your wellbeing, you’ll be best positioned to manage the stress and sadness that we all experience from time to time.

Looking after yourself

  1. Eating well. Try to eat a well balanced variety of foods and allow yourself the time to sit and enjoy a meal – no more rushed meals at the desk or after arriving home late.  This may require a bit of planning or teamwork. Freezing meals, preparing in advance and carrying nutritious snacks can all avoid last minute takeaways or poor eating habits.
  2. Get some rest. The amount of sleep needed varies from person to person, but generally for an adult somewhere between 7 and 9 hours is considered appropriate. Avoiding television or device usage late in the evening can help you relax and prepare for a good night’s sleep.
  3. We all know it can be tough to find time to exercise. If joining a gym or other formal exercise is not for you, try to find incidental ways to exercise – hop of the tram a few stops earlier and walk the last kilometre or so home or to the office, take the stairs instead of the lift or take a lunchtime walk.
  4. Do something you like or learn something new. Whether it’s reading a book, seeing a movie or time in the garden, making time for the things we love to do is hugely important for wellbeing.  Extending your horizons can be a great way to feed your outlook on like.  Returning to study, pursuing a new hobby or mastering a new cuisine, trying something new can be a lot of fun and create new opportunities in your life.
  5. Spend time with the one you love. When a couple become a family it can be easy to ‘parents’ to override ‘partners’. Find a way to spend time with your partner and remind yourselves of why you became a couple in the first place.
  6. Spend time with others you love. As much as we love our immediate family, spending time with others that make your heart sing is so rewarding. Try to find time to catch up with friends and other family and reap the benefits of your extended support network.

Everyone leads busy lives these days and can be easy to allow self care to slip to the bottom of the priority list.  As the old saying goes, you need to look after yourself before you can look after others.  We all need a reminder of this from time to time.


At Umbrella Family Law we can help you navigate the stresses associated with the end of a relationship. With many years experience in practicing family law in Melbourne and across Victoria we can help you start your new life.