In the midst of our busy schedules, we often forget to pamper ourselves and to show ourselves a little bit of love. This is where self-care comes in. Self-care is a practice where we dedicate time to ourselves and our own individual needs. There are a variety of self-care practices for everyone. These can range from a do-it-yourself spa day where you can apply face masks and lay back, to working out and sweating out daily stresses and anxieties or even something as simple as having a good night’s sleep. Other forms are painting, reading a good book for pleasure, meditating to calm the nerves or going out for a walk in the fresh air and taking in the sunlight. There is no wrong or right way of practicing self-care as long as it works for you.

Introducing self-care into your personal routine can bring about many benefits to your quality of life. Practicing it can boost self esteem, help clear your head, see priorities more clearly, help de-stress and relax as well as help you stay on track with your goals. Self-care can allow for you to function more easily and make you feel less overwhelmed if you’re the type of person that juggles many things at once. Setting some time aside for yourself can really improve how you handle your day or even the rest of the week. It’s the littlest things that make the biggest impact sometimes. For me personally, it improves my mood and increases my motivation to continue on with my pending tasks.

However, life can get in the way of your self-care routine at times. For those who are in relationships, it can be even trickier to find the time to take care of yourself while trying to find a balance between school, work and spending time with your partner. Self-care shouldn’t be put aside simply because your relationship status has changed. In relationships, especially new ones, there can be this pressure of always having to dedicate your free time to your partner and cancelling time for yourself. It’s completely acceptable to have “me” time within the “we.” Self-care can be beneficial for relationships because it allows for both individuals to focus on themselves, while at the same time, providing the space for each individual to have their own goals to fulfill. For example, maybe a couples’ New Year’s resolution was to have healthier lifestyles. Let’s say one of the partners wanted to lose weight while the other wanted to gain muscle. As one partner dedicates their free time to Zumba, the other might be lifting weights at the gym. This is two people practicing self-care in the form of exercise. Having that “me” time will also allow for one to value their significant other more since less time is being shared with them. Dedicating quality time for yourself will help you stay in tune with your well-being and make you emotionally available for your partner. It will offer the opportunity to reflect on your relationship and find ways of improvement for both the relationship and yourself.

Again, finding time to implement your self-care routine can be difficult, but a good way to make it work while in a relationship is to plan! Compare both of your schedules for the week and plan out times where you can spend it together and where you can allow some time for yourselves as well. Implementing self-care once a week is a good way to start, but you should put away some time for self-care whenever you deem it necessary. Compromise is key, so spending time with your partner may not always come as easily, but it is something that should be considered to improve both sides of the relationship.

Taking care of yourself shouldn’t stop for anyone or anything. That time, whether it be seconds, minutes or hours, can make the difference between a good day and a bad day. It can also improve the way your relationship functions. Self-care doesn’t have to mean that you’re being selfish or conceited, you’re just being there for yourself. Make yourself a priority and devote some time to becoming the healthiest and happiest person you can be.