Counselling and Psychotherapy for
Body, Mind and Spirit

Ina Stockhausen, MTC

Ina Stockhausen R.P.C. offers spiritual counselling and body psychotherapy or somatic counseling in Burnaby and North Vancouver.

emotional self-care

Over the years of offering marriage counseling to couples, I’ve noticed that there are some recurring stories or themes that propel individuals to seek out couples counseling.


One such theme is “I’m not getting a lot out of our marriage/relationship anymore.” This statement is often accompanied with a sense of bewilderment, sadness or resignation.

There is a sense of loss that what used to be an exciting, romantic, sexy relationship somehow morphed into a well-functioning, predictable, loving companionship.

I’m not suggesting that there is anything wrong with solid, loving companionship. I would like to suggest however, that there needs to be a shift in attitude if you want to keep your marriage vibrant and exciting, an emotionally safe haven from the world where you continue to grow, heal and discover each other.

You are most likely familiar with John F. Kennedy’s statement “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” I would like to propose that you transfer this statement to how you live and participate in your relationship, i.e. don’t ask what your relationship can do for you, but what you can do for your relationship.

Like anything that is supposed to grow and flourish, relationships need care, attention and nurturing. But you can’t give from an empty cup. That’s why I believe that one of the most important contributing factors of lasting relationship bliss is self-care.

Unfortunately we all lead very busy lives, with long to do lists and self-care tends to land at the bottom of the list. Given that most people never get to the bottom of their list, and new items are added to the top rather than the bottom, self-care can easily fall by the wayside.

Why physical self-care is important:

Physical self-care means taking care of your body by feeding it nutritious food, New Westminter Marriage counsellor helps you rekindle passionexercising, refraining from abusing drugs and other addictive substances and getting enough sleep. If you don’t feel well in your body, it affects your mood. If you’re always grumpy, overtired and irritable it affects your relationship.
If you are disconnected from your body because you don’t exercise and regularly ignore the messages from your body, how can you expect to connect energetically and physically with your partner?

Why emotional self-care is important:

Emotional self-care means attending to your emotional needs. In order to be aware of your emotional needs, you need to practice mindfulness. You have to be willing to slow down and tune in to become aware of how you’re feeling. If you consistently ignore your feelings of hurt, disappointments or other emotional triggers rather than working them out in your journal, speaking to a friend, discussing the issue with your partner or seeking professional help, you risk being shut down, emotionally unavailable or exploding in unwarranted fashion when you reach a breaking point. If you’re busy trying not to feel certain emotions, or your heart is closed, how can you connect with your partner in an openhearted and loving way?

If you can agree that being available to yourself and honoring your own needs is the foundation you require in order to be available to others and potentially honor and connect to their needs, then it would make sense to put self-care at the top of your list.

If practicing good self-care is a commitment that you’re making so you’re able to nurture your love relationship, I invite you to stop and think about what would be helpful to you so that you can honor that commitment.

What are your challenges regarding self-care? Consider how you and your partner could support each other in practicing good self-care. What kind of agreements regarding accountability could you come up with? Remember that it takes consistent effort to move from the know-how to the do how…but isn’t growing and deepening your love relationship worth it?