By: Chawnette Clark

Are you in a dating relationship? If you are, I am hopeful that your first priority is having a healthy relationship. I want to offer you some solutions that you may have already heard; however, let me remind you of how important they are. The best way to have a healthy relationship with someone else is to make sure you are achieving your own optimal health. Achieving optimal health includes a healthy mind, body, and spirit. We can also refer to this as a holistic approach to health. 

Achieving optimal health involves strengthening your physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual being. When we ignore any one of these areas, it’s easy to feel stressed and often depressed with limited ability to handle many of the pressures that life throws at us. A good example of how achieving optimal health can serve as most beneficial is in times like this pandemic we are all facing. 

There is no denying that this world change has wreaked havoc on many individuals, relationships and families. This is a time when taking care of yourself is highly recommended. Being quarantined and social distancing ourselves from those we love can be stressful in and of itself. In addition, if we are not properly caring for ourselves now, it can certainly show up in our response to those we love and care about. Yes, that might include those we are in dating relationships with.

Not caring for ourselves properly can lead to fatigue that can definitely affect our emotions and mental state. When we are tired, we tend to be short-fused and compromising our ability to communicate effectively.  We have learned early on how vital affective communication is in relationships. If good communication has not or is not taking place in your relationships already, this pandemic and having to practice social distancing may cause additional strain. 

When we have good emotional health, we tend to be in more control of our thoughts, feelings and the way we respond to others. It is a great idea to mind your emotions as closely as possible especially now. We all are going through various emotions and rightfully so; however, we have to learn to gage them closely and tame them if at all possible, in order to maintain healthy dating relationships. 

Now, your mental health which is characterized by being able to complete key functions and activities while being able to express and manage your thoughts in a reasonable manner is vital right about now. If your mental health has never been challenged before, this pandemic is certainly a time that it likely will be. With so many uncertainties, the many restrictions and demands that are placed on individuals, maintaining a healthy relationship with your significant other will certainly require effort. 

But, here’s the good news, “You can begin here and now” fine tuning your relationships by first taking a closer look at your own personal wellbeing. If pending circumstances has affected you in any of the areas mentioned above, first understand that “you are not alone.” Nevertheless, know that self-care is not only a good idea, but it is also necessary.  

Caring for yourself may be as simple as going to bed earlier, changing your diet, exercising, journaling, learning a new hobby, video conferencing with a positive person, or perhaps you may want to consider counseling. Sometimes talking to someone neutral and nonbiased to your existing situations can help you to see them more objectively. The idea is to take good care of yourself whereas you can show up as your best self when you engage others. Truth is, “When we feel better, we typically engage life better!”  As a result, the people who are closest to us get to experience our best selves.