It’s easy as couples to get completely consumed with the responsibilities of work, family, and relationships. The average American worker fails to use almost 5 paid vacation days per year the U.S. Travel Association found. Whaaaaaat? We don’t even feel like we have time to take vacation time from work that is rightfully ours.
This mentality spills over into home life as well. Pretty much 100% of parents don’t feel like they spend as much time with their kids as they would like and most of us feel like we don’t have enough time for our relationships and partner. For a lot of people, making their own needs a priority seems almost impossible. The interesting thing is that the more we take the time to fulfill our own individual needs, the more capable we will be to meet the needs of others.
The following are 4 reasons you should make yourself a priority:
- You will feel reenergized
Whether you are playing video games or going for a bike ride, there are psychological reasons you are attracted to these things. All of us have to follow our desires at times to do things that make us feel rested and fulfilled. Finding balance is important though. Just because you feel like watching TV for 8 hours a day doesn’t make it reenergizing, but being able to catch a quick show after the kids go to bed might be just the meditative experience to help you get through.
- You will better be able to meet the needs of your family
If you are setting boundaries in order to make sure you get what you need you will be much more capable to meet the needs of others. If you realize that going for a hike will invigorate you and get your neurotransmitters firing you will be able to come home and be much more present and excited to spend time with the partner and kids.
- You will feel resentful if you don’t
A few years ago I got the idea in my head that I wanted to run a marathon. I started a training program which required long runs that took a couple of hours on some days. We were right in the midst of a “dark period” as our second child had just been born. My wife regularly gave me a hard time for pursuing this “useless” goal. I became very resentful towards her (I was already feeling completely consumed by having a 2 year old and newborn). We were able to make a compromise so I ended up doing a half marathon (you can’t always get what you want).
- There will be more of “you” to give
If you are always doing what everyone else wants you to do you will lose a sense of yourself and individuality. Your partner, kids, and boss all have expectations of you, but you need to carve that time out for your own self-care. By doing this you will actually have more capacity to fulfill the expectations of everyone else in your life as well. When I take a vacation I often come back to work and feel like I can be much more productive after that restful time away.
“It’s hard to feel attracted to someone who has abandoned her sense of autonomy.” –Esther Perel
When we depend on one person to meet all of our needs it can be easy to feel disappointed and overwhelmed. When my wife started taking Chinese classes it made her seem more interesting and mysterious. She had this whole other part of her life that I could only imagine.
Shane Birkel is a therapist who works with people from all over the Seacoast of New Hampshire to improve their relationships. Feel free to call or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about counseling.