It’s easy to get stuck in to-do list mode and forget to spend quality time with your significant other. Between work, side projects, kids, errands … the list doesn’t seem to end. And so we often say, “There’s always tomorrow,” as we postpone that after-dinner walk or Friday night date just one more week.
My fiancé and I have been planning a wedding for the last four months, and down time has been especially hard to come by lately. As soon as the wedding is over, we agreed to instate two relaxing dates a month, to make sure we enjoy each other, stress-free. The ideas we came up with are inexpensive, too—but if budget were no object, we could add to this list easily. Here are eight of the ideas we came up with on how to relax together:
Take a Hike
Getting outside offers a hefty dose of vitamin N (Nature). Henry David Thoreau made a good point when he said, “I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.” It’s because nature refreshes, invigorates, and nourishes the body, mind and spirit. Hiking is also a great way to get some exercise and create endorphins. Combine them and what you get is time well spent.
Go slow, leave your watch and smart phone at home, and bring a camera and snacks to make it more enjoyable.
Watch the Sunset Over a Picnic
Grab a bundle of your favorite finger foods, a bottle of wine, a blanket—and head to the beach, the top of a mountain, or anywhere you can enjoy a sunset or the twilight hour. Here, you get another dose of nature—and a chance to lounge around and connect with one another.
Get lost in the vibrant colors and spirit of the sunset, and take Mother Nature’s advice that there’s nothing more to accomplish in the day except to catch up on some R&R.
Give Each Other a Massage
Research has shown that physical touch can reduce stress and improve overall well-being. When you get a massage, your heart rate slows down, the tension in your muscles releases, and cortisol levels drop (that’s the stress hormone.)
My fiancé and I took a couples massage class last year and learned a lot of simple techniques to use on one another when we want to unwind. If you want to get really fancy, you can even get one of those portable massage chairs for your house and make it a regular thing.
If you love the idea of getting a massage but aren’t so sure about giving one, you can also schedule a couples massage date and reap the same rewards.
Lie in a Hammock
This idea highlights the importance of doing nothing. Block out two or three hours on a day off and just lie, swing, and cuddle. There’s nothing more to say or do here—just relax.
Take a Nap
Napping is almost as demanding as lying in a hammock, but you don’t even have to go outside.
Cook Brunch or Dinner Together
There’s nothing like enjoying a home-cooked meal. Plan ahead by choosing a new recipe and getting all of the ingredients ahead of time. This way—when it comes time for your date—you have everything ready and all you have to do is put on some relaxing tunes and start creating your meal.
Take a Yoga Class
Breathe and flow together at one of your favorite yoga classes. The bonus here is that you’ll be able to enjoy the post-yoga bliss together over a relaxing meal or walk.
Soak in a Bath
Got a tub? Fill it with some bubbles, your favorite essential oils (lavender is my choice), Epson salt, and take a long soak together. Make sure to put on a relaxing playlist or ambient music.
No tub? Try sneaking into a hotel or apartment complex Jacuzzi nearby. (Don’t tell anyone I sent you though.)
There are tons of other ideas—the important thing is that you do something you can both look forward to that doesn’t require much planning or effort. If the idea of cooking stresses you both out, obviously you’ll want to choose something you consider to be more enjoyable. If you consider a trip to an amusement park to be relaxing, by all means—have at it.
Got any other ideas on how to relax as a couple? Please add to this list in the comments below.