In the initial stages of a new relationship, it’s not uncommon to adopt a ‘yes’ attitude in the hope this perceived free spirit and down to earth nature will land us a long-term partner! This can often mean putting ourselves out, especially when it comes to our diet, fitness, and sleep. However, we should never feel pressured to change for anybody especially when it comes at the expense of our health and happiness.
If you have recently fallen down the rabbit hole of putting your health last when trying to navigate a new relationship, here are some tips to help flip the balance and see both your health and new relationship work for you:
Communication is key
Any good relationship is built on honest and open communication. This means it’s important to discuss your needs and preferences when it comes to health, diet, and fitness. Having to make excuses around why you can’t meet up or why you don’t want to eat at a certain restaurant will only lead to frustration and possible resentment! Being open and honest is a sign of respect for your partner and also for yourself. For example, if you really value going to the gym on weekends, tell your partner or find a way to be active together such as going for a hike or playing tennis. When we communicate well, we can find mutually beneficial compromises, which sets us up for a healthy relationship long term.
Be honest with yourself
It’s important to maintain your own independence when in a relationship full stop. This means, if workouts, diet, and sleep are not being prioritized and you feel poorly for this, be honest with yourself and understand, not taking care of your own health doesn’t end well for anybody. Avoid making excuses or thinking, next week will be better, take action today to make a change.
Sleepovers and last minute invites can throw your routine out of whack and leave you scrambling! Take some measures to be prepared to maintain the basics, at the drop of a hat such as:
Take a single-serve protein powder or porridge sachet to sleepovers so you can be sure you have some form of breakfast to wake up to;
Leave some healthy snacks in the fridge/pantry such as nuts, yogurt, frozen fruit, nut/seed bars, and popcorn or some food to make meals from such as canned fish, frozen veggies, microwave rice, and canned legumes, to avoid relying on Uber Eats 24/7;
Have a spare pair of runners and gym clothes in your car so you can maintain activity and avoid exercise becoming a burden because you aren’t prepared; and/or
If you take supplements and medication, pack them in small containers so they can be taken on the go and not forgotten.
Adjust to suit
To make a good impression, we can easily fall into the trap of eating foods, which don’t make us feel good or drinking too much. If you aren’t the type to drink much but your new lover does, be OK with ordering mocktails or having water in-between alcoholic drinks. The same applies to food, if you feel better eating lower carb but your partner likes carb-heavy meals, you can still eat the same meals but make an adjustment such as replacing carbs with an extra serve of veggies. Don’t forget self-confidence and respect are likely qualities your partner is looking for!
Schedule in ‘me time’
Just like we schedule in time to be with others, for our own mental wellbeing, we also need to schedule in ‘me time,’ to recharge and relax! If your partner sees ‘me time’ as an insult, reword how you say it and make sure your partner understands that this time is not about getting away from them, but instead, giving back to you so you can be the best version of you. Some simple ways to schedule in me time when in a relationship include:
Book a massage or sauna session
Go for a walk alone
Listen to a podcast
Take yourself out to breakfast or lunch
Sip a coffee or warming drink while reading a book at a café