How to Communicate Your Self-Care Needs to Your Partner

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How to Communicate Your Self-Care Needs to Your Partner
Executive Summary As working parents with a seemingly endless array of responsibilities, it can be hard to make space for our own needs. But the benefits of taking care of ourselves, whether that's physically, emotionally, spiritually, or mentally, are undeniable. We need space outside of home and work to explore interests, decompress, and find personal fulfillment.


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Personal needs

Personal needs

Working parents tend to focus all their energy on work or family and put their own needs on hold. With the current crisis, parents have even less time for their own needs while they juggle work and...


Know what you need

Take two minutes right now and list what would most benefit you. It could be taking 15 minutes to decompress after work. Or to have a few hours a week to read a book. Or even guitar lessons.


Communicate your needs

To have a successful and productive conversation with your partner about your needs and desires:

  • Timing is everything. Set a time aside together that is free of dist...



Emotions During a Difficult Conversation

It’s hard not to get worked up emotionally when you’re in a tense conversation: a disagreement can feel like a threat.

But if your body goes into “fight or flight” mode,  ...


When you start noticing yourself getting tense, try to focus on breathing (on feeling the air coming in and out of your lungs).

This will take your attention off the physical signs of panic and keep you centered.

Focus on your body

Sitting still when you’re having a difficult conversation can make the emotions build up rather than dissipate. 

Standing up and walking around helps to activate the thinking part of your brain.

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Communicating with your partner

  • Don’t make assumptions about how the other person feels.
  • Foster mindful communication, especially if you’re feeling scared or upset. Pay attention to your reactions.
  • Accept ...

Open dialogue

Most of us have never experienced circumstances like the current one, so we have to accept that we will all cope with this differently and that’s okay.
Foster open dialogue and try to be as clear as possible with each member of your family or with your partner. 

For the whole family

  • Establish a routine to avoid randomness. Our brains love patterns.
  • We are going to stay inside for a while, so it's best to set family goals and expectations.
  • Designate areas of the house, such as ‘work’, ‘chill-out’, ‘privacy’ and ‘interaction’.
  • Don’t avoid answering kids' questions about the pandemic and what is causing it.

Soft language vs. hard language

  • Soft language: it uses “I” statements and focuses on the actions that took place, how they made us feel, and what we want to happen.
  • Hard language: it starts wi...

Create space

It's useful to agree in advance to call a “timeout” or “press pause” before arguments begin.

It will give you the time to work through what happened. Because arguing when you are in a low emotional state is not going to help you.

What if…?

Ask yourself these questions: “What if the other person had a point? What if I wasn’t being honest with myself? What if I wasn’t taking responsibility for something?”

This will provide a new lens through which you'll see the situation. You might realize that there are things you could take responsibility for, that you were probably ignoring based on your initial triggered response.

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