SGR 024 | Why Self-Care
= Partner Care


Self-care is a popular buzzword these days.

We all “know” on some level that taking care of ourselves is important. For some reason, it’s almost always the first thing to slip when things get crazy.

First goes the self-care.

Then goes the partner care.

When we meet with couples, we often hear about the life circumstances (i.e. kids, household responsibilities, job stress) that impede on their ability to spend time together and prioritize one another. What often gets missed, however, is that self-care broke down first.

The baby was born and they stopped sleeping, showering, and eating healthfully.

Work got really busy, so they stopped going to the gym, reading in the morning, and catching up with friends once a week.

It’s our attention to ourselves that disappears first. Then, our attention to our relationship disappears. And then, you end up in our offices.

So, what do you do?

Start with you.

Be sure to listen to this week’s episode because we’re talking about:

  • What self-care is and is not
  • What is so important about self-care
  • Why self-care gets put on the back burner
  • How self-care impacts your relationship for better or worse
  • Ritualizing self care

Also, we’ve put together our 10 Easy Tips for Effective Self-Care in case you need help getting started.



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Show Notes:

SGR 002 - Getting Back to the Honeymoon Phase - One Habit at a Time
SGR 012 - How to Agree to Disagree
SGR 020 - Surviving Thanksgiving
SGR 021 - How to Have an Awesome Date Night in the Midst of Holiday Chaos
The Miracle Morning book
Meditation Studio app

Short on time? Here’s a list of today’s topics and when to listen:

What self care is NOT - 1:34
What self care is - 5:18
Why self care is so important - 7:04
Why self care gets put on the back burner so easily - 10:30
How self care impacts your relationship - 14:27
Ritualizing self care - 18:05
The Five Minute Journal - 19:45
Meredith and Marina’s takeaways - 25:11


Marina: Hey there! And welcome to episode twenty four of the Simply Great Relationships Podcast. We're so glad that you could join us today. I'm Marina Voron, this is Meredith Silversmith. And today, we're talking about "Why Self Care Equals Partner Care". So, we'll be covering, "What is self care"? We're gonna define this buzzword of the moment.

Meredith: Yeah!

Marina: Why self care is so important, why self care gets put on the back burner so easily, how self care impacts your relationship, and then, ritualizing self care.

Meredith: Yeah!

Marina: Make sure you stay until the very end because we've got a really great bonus that we made just for you and we'll tell you how to get it at the end. I'm really excited about this one.

Meredith: This is a good topic! So, self care. Marina, what's your definition? What do you think self care is?

Marina: Let's talk a little about what self care is not before we talk about what it is because I feel like there is a lot of stuff that gets labelled and marketed as self care. That, I don't know if it is truly genuine self care or if it is just marketing.

Meredith: Yeah!

Marina: Self care is not organic manicures and vagial steams and consumerism and this oil and this lotion and these supplements. Self care is not necessarily about spending money and buying stuff.

Meredith: Right!

Marina: There are products that can help with self care, but that self care is not a product.

Meredith: Yeah! Definitely! I mean, self care is more of an action, a process, right? It's an internal, active and intentional process. So what does that mean? A couple more things that self care is not and I’m sorry if this is what you're doing and you like it is self care - vegging out in front of the TV. See, I'm gonna disagree with you on this one. I know Marina felt that one. I'm gonna tell you why.

Marina: Okay. Let's model some agreeing to disagree.

Meredith: So, how do I wanna approach this. If you are vegging out in front of the TV because it makes you feel relaxed and it makes you feel calm and it's a way that you distress and release tension and you like to lay on your couch and you have your favorite blanket and you have a nice snack and you watch a show that makes you laugh and makes you feel good, that to me is more of an active process.

Marina: 100% agree. I think what I more define as not self care is when you’re on the couch and some show is on and something else is on and you are like this on your phone and you're scrolling through Instagram and feeling shitty about yourself because Stacy got those new shoes you wanted and that one is on vacation where you wanna be and you're not really present in the moment and enjoying it, you're kind of just zoning out and actually making yourself feel worse a lot of times.

Meredith: Yeah!

Marina: So, I think this was an important distinction because I 100% agree. Watching your favorite show in your cozy blanket with a snack and you're really tuned in and you're really getting a lot out of it, of course it’s self care. But I wouldn't consider that vegging out. I think maybe that’s where we semantically...

Meredith: We differ on the definition of vegging out. No worries. I just want to distinguish that for you because for some it is, for some it's not. I actually talk a lot with my couples about mindful TV watching versus mindless which I think is exactly what we are describing right now which is funny. Self care is not going to happy hour with your colleagues to avoid, this is the important part, to avoid what's going on at home, an argument with your spouse, something stressful. So self care is not doing some activity to avoid something you don't want to do or something that's causing you stress. That's the distinction.

Marina: So, let's talk about what self care actually is. I think there are 3 components to what makes self care. It's intentional and it's active and it's a process. Right? So it's intentional. Intentional means you set time to spend some quality time with yourself, you said that intention. It doesn't just happened. You know what state of mind you're going in with and you know what state of mind you are trying to achieve.

Meredith: Absolutely! And active, meaning it's something you're doing, right? There's something in action that you're taking to become more relaxed, more calm, sort of organize your mind, your emotions, move towards some personal growth in terms of self acceptance, self love, self esteem. So it's an active process where you were working towards building those things. Which is really important.

Marina: Yeah! And it's a process, right? It's not just like vegging out and sitting there and doing nothing. So my definition of vegging out, it's about tuning in. It's about doing something very focused. You're doing it because you are looking to get a specific emotional outcome.

Meredith: Right!

Marina: It's a feeling of filling the blank. Self acceptance, calm, rejuvenation, whatever it is. But it's definitely not just going for an organic manicure and then you're self cared for.

Meredith: Yeah! It's a little bit deeper than that.  

Marina: Yeah!

Meredith: Just a bit. So, why is self care so important?

Marina: Well, I think for a long time there is this kind of misconception with self care as selfish. Like you are putting yourself first, if you’re self loving and self supportive and you wanna take time to enrich yourself as an individual. But, I think that's kind of a myth that I want to bust. I think self care is really important because it's rejuvenating. We all have a finite battery and when it's on low, just like we need to plug your phone and we need to plug into that state of recharging ourselves. What about for you? What do you think makes self care important?

Meredith: I mean, I definitely get that part, I think re-energizing, clearing your thoughts. It's sort of, I kinda view it as taking the time to deal with all the stuff you don't have the opportunity to deal with when you're super busy. So, it's like feelings that came up or thoughts that came up or sort of looking at the bigger picture of your life and your world and making decisions like “what's best for me and how can I relax and how can I distress.” It's almost like hitting the pause button and doing things that make you feel the way you want to feel.

Marina: Yeah! And I think re-charging that battery and getting to feel how you’d want to feel is a big part of being truly present in the rest of your life.

Meredith: Yeah!

Marina: Not just in your relationship but in all your relationships - with your kids, with your parents, at work, in your friendships. It's very hard to be fully present and enjoy and immerse and get the most out of those experiences if, again, you are running on empty and you're not feeling how you wanna feel.

Meredith: Yeah! Absolutely! You know what I experience this just this weekend because I think you and I both had a really long week last week. It was just a particularly challenging one. And by the time the end of the week came, I was “Wow! I am completely tapped out!” And then we did have a family event over the weekend. On Saturday, we had a family event upstates. So we had to do a drive upstate. And then we were with a lot of family and I was just not, I wasn't in the zone! I was not in the space to be really chatty and talkative and friendly. I found myself that I just wanted to go sit on the couch and just kinda veg a little bit and just sit down.

Marina: Yeah! Zone out!

Meredith: I just wanted to sit and zone out and not in a negative way but I just felt like I needed to just be and not be so involved and engaged (?-9:57). I definitely noticed that. That's reality, you know.

Marina: Yeah! I think, a lot of people can relate with that. I think everybody can relate with that. When I think that's like the red flag of "You need self care. You need self care". When you find that you're really, really yearning for those moments of zoning out.

Meredith: Yeah!

Marina: I think that's definitely a sign to watch for because it says, you're looking for any opportunity to kinda find that moment for yourself. So, I think with that, this ties into our next topic really well, why does self care tend to go on the back burner? Why is it so easy to put self care last and everything else first?

Meredith: I think it's that constant struggle you know where it feels like, I guess it's sort of a cycle, right? Where we get really busy and we are really like, "Oh my Gosh! I have to finish all these things. These are the things that are important. If I could just get these things done. If I could just get these things put away, I'll feel better." So we're  putting all of our focus outside, trying to control what's going on around us versus saying, "Hey! I feel really stressed and overwhelmed! What can I do on the inside to try to manage that?" Because the outside realistically is probably always gonna be crazy.

Marina: Yeah!

Meredith: Unfortunately.

Marina: I think I've come to that moment of acceptance and it was like the real "Ahuh!" moment. Like the outside is always gonna be crazy but then inside is where kind of my locus of control lives.

Meredotj: I have not yet have that “Ahuh!” moment. But I’m working towards it.

Marina: We will get you there.

Meredith: Yeah! So, I think that’s a big piece. And what do you think gets in the way and gets it put on the back burner?

Marina: I think, like I said earlier, it’s like this perception of being selfish especially when things get really busy not just for you but maybe in your bigger system. Right? So, things are busy for you and for your partner and maybe for your kids and other stakeholders and people involved. That perception that “If I tap out and take 20 minutes for myself, they’re gonna look at me as selfish” is a really big impase for people because we don’t want to be seen as selfish. Selfish is such a bad characteristic. Right? When really, what you’re being is self loving and self preserving which I think are really strong characteristics.

Meredith: Yeah!

Marina: But again, it’s that misalignment of “What may people will think about me if I tap out right now when everybody is feeling this way?”

Meredith: Yeah! That’s a good point! And you know, it can be overwhelming to do self care, right? It’s not always the easiest thing to sit with your own thoughts, feelings, what’s going on for you. And you know, that could be a little bit discouraging. It might be easy to say, “Oh! Not today, not today, not now” and avoid it a bit. But that doesn’t mean it’s not important.

Marina: Yeah! Definitely! And then the rationalizations, right? Rationalizing that there are things that are more important. You know, like, “I don’t have time for self care. I don’t have money for self care.” To me that always sounds a like a bit of avoidance. I would say when you tend to rationalize self care away is when you probably need it most because there are some bigger feeling you are not dealing with and you’re trying to avoid.

Meredith: Yeah!

Marina: But I think it’s just so easy to rationalize it away. “Well, goup told me I can only do self care if I go for this organic facial. I don’t have time nor money for that.” When really it might be like, “I’m feeling such a sense of exhaustion and overwhelm and helplessness and a sense of being stuck right now. It’s really overwhelming to me to sit with that feeling quietly.”

Meredith: Yeah! Definitely! How does self care impact our relationships? I do like this one because I always like to bring it back to the couple.

Marina: Yes!

Meredith: We always like that. So, it’s this concept, I actually get sick of hearing this example but I’m gonna use it anyway. Like if you’re on an airplane and the masks come down. Put your mask on first and then help your other person that’s with you. So, it’s that same concept. That if your cup is not full, you don’t have the energy. If your battery is not re-charged, you’re not gonna be able to give up yourself to someone else. So, that really is the first step. You have to fill your own cup before you can be a supportive partner, a good listener, validating. You know, because what happens otherwise?

Marina: You get snappy, you get short, you’re easily irritated, you’re running on empty. You’re using limited resources, right?

Meredith: Yeah!

Marina: It’s really easy to go to those surface level visceral emotions like anger, snappiness, irritability. You’re not gonna access all that good stuff that requires to be in a bit of a better and more relax and more calm and more self cared for place! And those are the emotions that you’d want to take priority in your relationship, not the visceral, like fighter flight type emotions because you’re so drained.

Meredith: Yeah! And it’s not the real you. And I think that’s something that gets missed, right? You have an unmet need at the basis of everything. So it’s not, “We don’t get along, we fight all the time, we’re cranky.” I think that now having this conversation, I’m going to be having a conversation with my couples. “What do you do for self care? When was the last time you had a day off?” That is something I’ve noticed, where couples or partner works like 7 days a week. How can we ask them to, “Okay now, summarize and validate your partner”, when they are drowning in their own stuff. So, that’s a really big piece of, you know when we say 50% that’s one partner’s responsibility and the 50% that’s the other, it’s not just the relationship issue often. You both have to do your part as individuals to set yourselves up to be a good partner.

Marina: Yeah! Exactly. And basically, you can’t be your best self if yourself is not charged. Another thing about self care is self care is where you do a ton of your personal growth.

Meredith: Yeah!

Marina: So self care is where you learn a lot about yourself and it allows you to then take that and bring that into your relationship. It allows you to share that with your partner and have them know you better which is what grows and enriches your relationship. So it’s almost like, the more self care you’re able to do, the more genuine self care you are able to do, the better you are able to get to know yourself, the more kind of authentic self you are in your relationship, the more connected you can be with your partner.

Meredith: Mhmm! That makes it sound very important.

Marina: It is very important! It is very important!

Meredith: That’s great! By now you know that we love ritualizing things because that’s the best way to build it into your schedule especially if you are busy like we are. So, how do you ritualize self care? Because if you don’t, it’s probably not gonna happen.

Marina: Mhmm! I think like you have rituals of connection on your relationship, you have rituals of connection with yourself.

Meredith: Yeah!

Marina: Right? Because that’s what self care is. It’s about connecting with yourself. And our first and favorite tip for anything that’s ritual related is - schedule.

Meredith: Yeah!

Marina: Schedule it in.

Meredith: Yup!

Marina: Use iCal, use Google Calendars, use a good old desk calendar.

Meredith: Put it on the calendar!

Marina: Yeah! The second goes in, I feel like you’re likely would have actually following through grows exponentially as opposed to if you just think about it and go, “Ah! I’m gonna do that at some point in time.”

Meredith: Definitely! And this doesn’t have to be big stuff. Right? It doesn’t have to be this like, “Oh, I’m gonna take a cruise by myself.” and all these things.

Marina: I’m gonna be eat, pray, love.

Meredith: Yeah! Oh my gosh! Not that we all wouldn’t love to do that but it’s just small stuff often, right? Compounding effective. Doing these little things everyday, every week, every month are going to lead to a consistent flow of self care. So, what are a few of your favorites?

Marina: 5 minute journal.

Meredith: Mhmmm

Marina: I love 5 minute journal. It is so quick. It is so easy. It is so ritualized for me right now. And I think it just captures those key elements of self care. It’s intentional, it’s a process, it’s about how you want to feel.

Meredith: Yeah!

Marina: And it just brings so much gratitude and makes you scan for the good stuff and I think for me, that’s really helping me connect with the way I want to feel. So, that is definitely one of my most favorite, easy peasiest, “anyone can do it”, self care rituals. What about for you?

Meredith: I. too, like the 5 minute journal. I’m better with that. I like the idea of a morning ritual and I’ve been trying to get this consistent for a long time ever since I read this book and I would highly recommend the book, it’s called, “ The Miracle Morning”. We’ll put a link below. Obsessed with that book. So, I do the 5 minute journal, I do a meditation from our favorite app, you like it too?

Marina: Yeah! Meditation Studio.

Meredith: Meditation studio, love it. Link below. And I read for 15 minutes. Something non-fiction, something that’s feeding my brain and getting my brain thinking about interesting things. I don’t quite have the exercise part built in yet. That’s the fourth component of “ The Miracle Morning.” I haven’t been super successful with that but the other three are going pretty well. So that’s my self care and I do that everyday.

Marina: I feel like three out of four is pretty good.

Meredith: Yeah! Yeah! I guess. I suppose.

Marina: But yeah. Miracle Morning, I think that’s really about starting your day with self care.

Meredith: Yeah!

Marina: Which is such a lovely intention when you think about it.

Meredith: It’s like the ultimate, “I come first. Me first and then everyone else.”

Marina: Great book. Definitely check that one out. Really simple things like going for a quick walk at lunch, spending some time walking around by yourself, listening to meditation, doing a walking meditation. Great, super simple, very doable way to press that refresh button.

Meredith: Mhmm! Taking a bath. I know we enjoy this. Except we don’t. We’re not as lucky to have really topnotch bath taking bathtubs. But, if we did, we’ve been taking a lot more baths. But if you do have one, you should hop in there because that is a great self care because you could sit, you could read, listen to music, do a meditation, light some candles, create whatever ambience you want that’s really great.

Marina: Yeah! And I find like the water is just so relaxing. It’s just all the elements are there. I will say you do not need to buy $70 bath salts with all kinds of fancy stuff in them.

Meredith: Yeah.

Marina: You can do it for $3.99 with just water and a tub.

Meredith: That’ll get it done.

Marina: That’ll get it done, I promise. Meditating.

Meredith: Mhmm!

Marina: I think is a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful self care ritual.

Meredith: Yeah! Absolutely! I can’t stress that out enough. It makes it so simple. I tell all my clients about it because it’s, I mean, you’re literally hitting a button and they’re gonna walk you through it and you pick what your intention is. Definitely download it because it just makes it so easy. We’re all about easy. There’s no reason to make things hard. So meditating is a great one. You can start your day, you could end your day or you could use it in the middle if you need a little refresh.

Marina: Mhmm! I also think being creative. So if you like to doodle or draw or paint or dance or whatever your form of creativity is. Setting aside a chunk of time but making that time sacred, really walking out that chunk of time to be creative is a great self care ritual.

Meredith: Yeah! That’s a great suggestion!

Marina: Another super easy peasy one. Like we always say, we don’t want you to just listen. We want you to listen and we want you to integrate this into your relationship and into your individual experience. A lot of this is really about your individual experience, so we want you to integrate it into there and then into your relationship. We’ve put together our 10 Easy Tips for Effective Self Care just for you and you can get it at So, let’s talk about takeaways.

Meredith: Hmm. Let’s talk about’em. I think… I don’t know. We didn’t say this out loud but during out conversation, I was thinking it in my head, so I guess I will share it as a takeaway. With ritualizing, I think it would be really beneficial to have small things you ritualize daily and then a little bit of a bigger we set weekly and then an even bigger one monthly.

Marina: Hmm, I like that!

Meredith: I feel like there’s some sort of build up at least for me. There’s a build up everyday of “stress”, let’s call it. There’s a build up by the end of the week and then there’s definitely a build up over the course of a month. So I think building it and scheduling a daily, a weekly and a monthly would be really beneficial.

Marina: I love that! I think that’s great and kind of finding variety in your self care rituals. I love that! That’s great! My takeaway would be… we both love baths, the 5 minute journal. No, my takeaway is really that self care has a compounding effect, so the more you do it, the more of a benefit you internalize from it.

Meredith: Yeah!

Marina: And that it’s not selfish.

Meredith: No. Definitely not selfish. If there’s one takeaway you (26:38) today, self care is not selfish.

Marina: Alright. Well, that’s all for today. We hope you take these tips and start using them right away. We’d love to continue the conversation with you guys in our Facebook group where we’ll be hooking you up with tips, with tricks, with live streams, with more info exclusive for our members. You can find our group at or you can just click the link on our website We would love to hear all about your self care rituals.

Meredith: Yeah! Join us!

Marina: Join us and we’ll see you next week!

Meredith and Marina: Bye!