Sharing and Connecting

Self-care is an excellent time to connect with yourself. You’re doing something that enriches you and renews you, and most of the time, the ritual is something you enjoy. It’s usually a physical activity, something like working out, taking a relaxing bath, or getting ready for sleep. So it’s an ideal opportunity to be in your body, do some introspection, and get grounded.

It can also be a good time to connect with someone you are intimate with. Shared rituals not only help the individuals doing them, but the relationship between them as well. The workload is lighter, and the bond is deeper. You’re helping each other be your best for each other.

Sharing a meal with good friends is a ritual familiar to many of us. If friends and family are on board with your way of eating, you can mutually support each other in consistently choosing the best dishes. And how that extra help is welcome! Two or more people cooking together can prepare a meal with much less effort than it would take to prepare both their meals separately. And of course, the camaraderie in working together, and sitting down to eat at the table together, deepens the connection between them.

Massage is another natural self-care ritual to share with a partner. My spouse and I took a massage class together. It was an evening class from our local adult education community, one night a week for six weeks. We bought a few used books, too, and we splurged and bought a massage table that has paid for itself many times over. Both during and after the six weeks we took turns giving each other massages, each of us giving and receiving two a week.

It was a challenging time for us to do this, because we were fighting. Several times, I was in tears when we showed up for class, because of the threats and insults I weathered in the car on the way down. The class didn’t fix the problems between us, of course not. But the shared activity in public, combined with the assumption of mutual support and self-improvement, gained me a lot of respect, something that was easy to overlook in the isolation and entrenched routine of our home life. I’ll always remember the scent of summer evening air, the wooden classroom with blankets on the floor, and the aha moments as we learned about our bodies together.

Do you have a self-care ritual you share, or have shared, with someone? How did it affect your relationship?

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