Healthy relationships take work, especially during challenging times. And sometimes it becomes easy to place your focus on the negative stuff, rather than on the happy moments. This can put you both in a rut.
The good news is sometimes all it takes is a simple perspective shift …you have power together.
When it comes to your health, the simple fact remains that a lasting marriage—or a healthy long-term relationship of any kind—brings positive benefits to both partners.
You know the phrase used in a marriage vow, “For better or for worse”? Well, there are actually a large number of studies highlighting what makes a marriage work, “for better”—particularly in relation to your overall health and well-being.
Your relationship can provide an opportunity for partnership in an area other than sharing finances and raising children. You both can work together to improve each other’s healthy state of body and mind. Imagine what you could do if you learned to harness this! As sociologist Linda Waite puts it, “Marriage is sort of like a life preserver or a seat belt. We can put it in exactly the same category as eating a good diet, getting exercise, and not smoking.”
To be fully supported in your self-care, I offer that these tips, along with a visit with your loved one to the chiropractor, can be a good place to begin opening your eyes to new healthy possibilities. Here’s how you and your partner begin your journey together to improve each other’s health and state of well-being:
- Exercise together. When couples meet, chances are each of them has his or her own regular exercise regimen – hopefully! If he or she does, accept that it may be different from your exercise routine – respecting that everyone has different goals. As an example, she may prefer aerobics or running, while he prefers sporting activities like golf and tennis. Here is an opportunity to “cross-pollinate”; for couples to participate in each other’s exercise regimens from time to time. Naturally, working out together tends to keep both parties exercising regularly, because you’re doing it as a team, not on your own. Additionally and most importantly, you can be spending more quality time together and getting to know each so you feel happier, and more connected. This plays an essential role in one’s health.
- Learn from each other’s food preferences. What matters here is that you both work together in creating meals. If one person enjoys being in the kitchen more than the other, still trying to work together makes healthy changes last. Take time to learn what you and your partner love to eat so the healthy meals you both create may expand food choices for both of you. Think you hate broccoli? Well, that was before you tasted your spouse’s recipe for it, right? Eat too many salty or sugary snacks while watching TV? That was before your partner shared his or her recipe for veggie snacks with the cucumber-coriander dip. As a general tip, health experts say you should look carefully at your partner’s food choices and follow the lead of the person with the healthier diet.
- Lose unhealthy weight together. Just as your relationship provides an opportunity to inspire each other when it comes to exercise, it can also be a godsend when one or both of you needs to drop a few unhealthy pounds. Agree on your mutual weight loss goals, and then go shopping together, stocking your kitchen with foods that support those goals. Whether you’re trying to cut down on sugar, fat, salt, or working to add more greens and fiber, working together on choosing a healthier diet can be a lot easier than doing it on alone.
- Don’t forget the “V” word. Vacations! Both men and an increasing amount of women find themselves in a work rut, failing to find time for vacations. Then they wonder why they get sick or even find themselves depressed. Planning a vacation together gives both parties the opportunity to decide on the destination and activities that will be relaxing for both partners. Vacations are magical! If more couples took yearly vacations, there would be a significantly lower risk of death and critical illness than those who did not.
- Learn things together. We all know how easy it is to get motivated to try something new on your own. What’s more difficult is to get somebody else, like your spouse, motivated to do the same. Here’s how to put this into perspective. Lots of things are “easy” to do one way, but it doesn’t mean that they are the only way. For example, keeping the same old stagnant routine, vegging out on Facebook, or sitting in front of the TV is easy versus committing to nightly couple walks.Studies have shown that each gender has his or her own strengths. For example,in the area of achieving better health practices, such as self-care and diet (making healthy food choices), a woman is often better able at getting her man involved in the process. This is reported to influence success (Burke, LE, et al. (2011).Self-Monitoring in Weight Loss: A Systematic Review of the Literature.J Am Diet Assoc. Jan; 111(1): 92–102). And scientists conclude that men adhere better to instructions, especially when engaging in new health changes for the first time, suggesting that they are better in getting started and sticking to the program than women. Use this information for you and your partner’s advantage, by using the strengths of each other in learning and remaining motivated about your health goals.If you recruit your partner and learn together, you’re more likely to actually stick to a new health routine.As an example, inviting your spouse to come with you to your chiropractic appointment is a great way to get him learning all about what you’re doing and why it’s beneficial to overall health. Getting you partner involved in your self-care and considering his own, is a great door-opener to gaining partner support in many health habit changes you both desire to make.
- Go to bed together. No, I don’t necessarily mean, “Go to bed and have sex together”, although that’s good for your mutual health, too. Instead, studies have shown that couples with similar sleep schedules are healthier and have fewer incidences of common diseases. Chronic sleep deprivation is becoming a national public health issue, so if you can work out a compatible sleep schedule with your partner, chances are it’ll make both of you healthier and happier.
- Laugh a lot. Let’s face it… how many of us laugh out loud when we’re alone? Do it too much and people might even begin to think you’re weird. But if you’re like most people, one of the reasons you chose your partner is because he or she makes you laugh. There have been numerous studies showing that the more genuine laughs you have per day, the healthier you probably are. So keep amusing each other, and keep laughing at each other’s jokes. It might just provide the mechanism for laughing together for the next 50 plus years and what’s not to like about that?
Togetherness is love and health for all around you. Self-care can be supported and ignited by the full involvement of your significant other. We always enjoy speaking to the ones you love about your progress and what we are doing. Please feel free to bring them in and give us permission to share. And if you are new to chiropractic care, ask me about what a subluxation is and how it can possibly be the cause or result of your pain and poor energy levels.