How Couples Can Support Their Mental Health

February 14, 2017

Today is Valentine’s Day, and with it comes candy hearts, flowers, cards, and a celebration of love relationships. There are many reasons to celebrate love and affection, and whether you celebrate the holiday or not, it’s worth taking a moment to be grateful for love in your life. It’s a true gift.

There are some tricky parts to being in a love relationship, and one of them is support for your collective mental health. Depending on how the relationship is going, your compatibility, and your dedication to the welfare of the other person, it can either be a means of strengthening each other or slowly tearing each other apart. Mental health is deeply affected by relationships, and if you want yours to be healthy both together and apart, here are some ways you can put it front and center:

First and foremost, get enough rest. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can have disastrous effects on mental health, as it slowly erodes your serotonin levels. Be sure to have some intimacy in the bedroom, but then ensure that both of you are getting good, quality sleep. Eliminate snoring, restlessness, pets, and anything else that interferes with your ability to get a good night’s sleep. The occasional miss is one thing, but over time, lack of sleep can really tear you apart.

You also want to make sure you listen. Creating a place where either of you can say the things you need to say and know that the other person hears you and has your back can bring your closer together and collectively boost your mental health. Having a safe place to speak your mind without fear of repercussion is important to mood and stress relief, so practice the fine art of listening.

Also, support each other in your endeavors, in anything from big career dreams to new diet and exercise plans. Be there for each other. Make the sacrifices that need to be made every once in a while so that you both get what you want. Having support is important, and without it there’s no guarantees that either of you will be happy…or will stay in the partnership.

You should make sure to work together. Whether that’s shared financial decisions or grocery shopping, be sure that the decisions that affect you both are made with both parties having a say in the matter. Feeling that the space and time you share together reflects both your interests and desires can only help bring you closer together.

Be sure to know when it’s time to push or encourage each other. Making sure medication is taken, that exercise plans are followed, that rest is taken when needed – these are examples of when you know that support means a gentle (or sometimes not-so-gentle) push toward a better way. Couples sometimes need to make sure that love is not enabling.

Finally, talk to each other. Don’t keep distress or things that upset you inside. Be sure to be vocal about concerns, disappointments, and what you need from the other person. Be willing to hear feedback to make the relationship better. In the end, the things you don’t say erode your mood and can make you restless, irritable, and discontent. It’s better to get it off your chest so the two of you can handle it together.