Long-distance relationships can be emotionally intense. Sometimes you’ll miss your partner so much that no amount of video calls and good morning texts feels like it can replace what it’s like to be together. Other times, you’ll feel so connected that you just can’t put the phone down and go to sleep, even though it’s 2 a.m. and you have a flight at 8:30.
Either way, it can be easy to forget about the rest of your life and about taking care of yourself.
Here are six ways to practice self-care when you’re in a long-distance relationship.
1. Know how to close a conversation
One of the best milestones of a new relationship is the first time you spend all night awake, talking about life, the universe and your favourite movies.
There’s nothing wrong with that. But if it starts interfering with your work, sleep or other vital commitments, you’ll need to set some boundaries.
Have a conversation and agree that you’ll hold each other accountable for ending your text marathons at a sensible time. Respect that when they might be busy (such as at work) they might not reply right away.
(This is also where syncing your calendars can come in handy!)
2. Take screen breaks
Gone are the days of snail mail and landline phones – in 2020, you have endless options for staying in each others’ thoughts.
Unfortunately, it has one downside: too much squinting at a tiny screen can put strain on your eyes, cause headaches and make you feel lethargic.
If you feel stifled by screen time, remember to put down the devices every now and then and do something else.
3. Enjoy your time with others
When was the last time you called a friend? If it feels like a distant memory, make the effort to change that. If they’re not reaching out, take the initiative and suggest something.
The same goes for family. Call your parents or siblings – don’t wait for a reason!
4. Take yourself out
If you find yourself staying in all the time when you’re not with your partner, you might start resenting the distance between you. Instead, don’t wait for anyone else to be available – go out by yourself and do something fun.
If you really feel self-conscious about doing something alone, go with a friend or join a Meetup group.
5. Take care of your senses
One thing that’s difficult to achieve in long distance relationships is the sensual component that comes naturally when you’re together, since you’re missing all of the subtle daily interactions you have with another person (including sex – but also kissing, being held, falling asleep next to each other).
Taking time to slow down and reconnect with your senses can be soothing in the times you can’t be together and it can help remind you that showing kindness to yourself is as important as taking care of each other.
Take a hot bath, do some type of exercise that you enjoy, or cook your favourite meals.
6. Nurture hobbies that have nothing to do with the relationship
A supportive partner should motivate you to keep doing things that help you grow, even if they’re not things you do together.
If you have a hobby or activity that you love doing, take advantage of your time apart to make it part of your life.
If you’re not sure what to do, why not do some volunteering or sign up for some free online courses?