The quality of relationships we have with friends, colleagues, family and our partner affects both our mental and physical wellbeing. Similarly how good you feel emotionally and physically will affect how you get on with your partner – sometimes much more than we realize.
Improving your relationship can have a positive effect on your health and related behaviors such as exercising and drinking that in turn could be affecting how you get on.
Of course relationships like health go through ups and downs. But when we are unhappy or frustrated it can be all too easy to ignore what we know is bad for us. Often risky behaviors provide an escape but sometimes we can fall into habits that are both bad for our health and for our relationship. Consequently, things then get worse, not better.
But the good news is by taking stock and taking a good look at patterns of behavior we can start making a few changes and things can start feeling very different.
So have a look at the following questions individually and then share your answers with your partner. This will help you to assess the bigger picture and take action on changing some of the behaviors that could be affecting your relationship.
- Overall how well do you feel on a day to day basis?
- Where would you score your physical health on a scale of 1-10 – with ten being best it can be?
- Do you smoke – if so how much, when are you most likely to smoke and why do you think you smoke?
- How much on an average week do you drink ….do you drink to unwind, be social, or to blot things out?
- On an average week, how well do you eat, do you eat together – is cooking and eating well an important part of your relationship?
- Are you overweight? In terms of your physical appearance, how good do you feel?
- How well do you sleep? Can you see any patterns – what keeps you awake? How do you feel after a good night’s sleep?
- Do you take much exercise? Do you feel better when you exercise?
- How often do you have sex? Do you enjoy sex with your partner?
- Monday to Friday how much would you say your work affects how you feel
- What happens at home if you have had a bad day at work?
- How do you know you are overstressed? What are the signs?
- What things make you feel good emotionally?
- What makes you feel good physically?
So what next
Bad habits can be hard to break without looking at underlying reasons – taking it slowly, recognizing the need for change is a crucial first step. Don’t try and change everything at once.
First, have a look at your answers – how does the overall picture look? Does it look good or feel a bit overwhelming?
Of course, giving up smoking, and unhealthy foods is always a good idea. So if you are a smoker make cutting down your first step. And maybe introduce some small changes to your diet; experiment a bit as this can be fun and get you out of a rut. Cooking and planning some new healthier meals can also be a positive shared experience.
Not getting enough sleep, drinking too much and work stress are all issues that are very likely contributing to how you are getting on and often cause arguments. But these can be bigger issues to solve. A really good place to start might be taking some regular exercise …it doesn’t matter what, so long as it is something you will enjoy and fits in with work and family demands.
Taking exercise is a great first step not just because it’s good for you in itself because it will have a positive impact on other areas.
Exercise releases natural chemicals that improve your mood and make you feel happier, so adopting a more active lifestyle can do more to help your mental health and when we are happier we often get on better.
Taking time to exercise can also give yourself a well-deserved break from the hustle and bustle of daily life – finding some quiet time to yourself helps you relax, forget work stress and is good for sleep problems.
Leading a more active life can also improve self-esteem and improve your confidence. It can help you feel valued – and value yourself – it also helps you feel sexier so can be good for your relationship in that way too.
Exercise and physical activity can provide something worthwhile in your life. Something that you really enjoy, that gives you a goal to aim for and can stop you dwelling on small trivial problems that cause arguments.
Word of warning
Some of the issues you may have identified might be difficult to discuss so do use some of the communication exercises and articles elsewhere on the site.
If you have identified you or your partner are drinking too much it can help to seek professional help – looking at the articles on addiction on the site can be a positive first step.