Life is busy with tons of priorities… work, kids, friends and, of course, your relationship. Sometimes we are so scheduled with demands that we fail to include time for self-care. It’s often undervalued but self-care benefits the mind, body and soul. Couples can apply the same concept of self-care to their relationship — resulting in both individual and collective gains that’ll help maintain a healthy connection!
There are so many facets of relationship building. You are likely familiar with common self-care practices for personal gain, so simply shift those ideas to a twosome approach.
RELATED: Ways to Create Your Own Couples' Retreat in Orlando
Updated May 2023 by Nancy DeVault
Here are 30 self-care ideas for couples in Orlando
FOR YOUR MINDS
- Get Back to Nature.
Countless studies have concluded that nature is good for overall health. There are plenty of couple activities to enjoy outdoors. Think about energetic options, like hiking. Hit up Black Bear Wilderness Area, Lake Louisa State Park, Lake Lotus Park, Shingle Creek Trail or other paths. Or opt for more calming options, like picnicking. Central Park, Kraft Azalea Garden and Mead Botanical Garden are great options for al fresco fun.
To explore a mindful self-care ritual together, try earthing (also known as grounding — a word that perfectively describes this literal practice of using the ground to figuratively stay grounded). On your next romantic picnic, perhaps at Dinky Dock Park or Wekiwa Springs State Park, kick off your shoes and let your bare feet stabilize on the energy-rich earth. Feel the breeze on your bodies and gaze up to peacefully cloud-watch. Scientists believe that earthing reduces chronic pain, inflammation and blood pressure, while increasing energy levels and sleep quality.
- Try Tandem Meditation.
Meditation tops self-care lists for many. It’s an excellent exercise centered on relaxing the mind and finding clarity. Perhaps you perceive meditation to be a solo thing, but it doesn’t have to be. Sit in a traditional lotus position in alignment with your partner by facing each other with your knees touching, sitting side-by-side or sitting back-to-back. Maybe hold hands or place your hands over each other’s heart to feel the beat and breath. There’s actually a guided practice called Love-Kind Meditation, by The University of California Berkeley, which works really well for couples. It includes suggested phrases to recite to one another, such as “May you live with ease, may you be happy, may you be free from pain.”
If you’d rather attend a guided meditation class together, Orlando has plenty of zen spaces to try.
For example, Community Event Center729 in Thornton Park hosts a meditation session every Wednesday at 7:30pm, Aili Healing & Empowerment Center on Curry Ford holds classes on Thursdays at 7:30pm and the Center for Health & Wellbeing in Winter Park typically offers a crystal bowl sound meditation on Mondays at 7pm. If the two of you end up loving meditating together, support each other through Meditation Bootcamp, offered by Warrior One in Audubon Park.
- Unplug to Plug In.
Reboot yourself and your relationship by powering down! We’re all guilty of allowing mobile devices to distract our attention. A Time magazine article titled “How Your Smartphone is Ruining Your Relationship” addressed how devices can be a romance killer. It stated, in part, that people who were more dependent on their smartphones reported being less certain about their partnerships; and people who felt that their partners were overly dependent on their devices said they were less satisfied in their relationship. Woozer! So, make an effort to be more present with your partner and not focused on a screen.
Whether at the dinner table, on the couch or on date night, switch your phone to airplane mode or turn it off altogether to avoid disruptive notifications.
If you really want to unplug, get off the grid with a camping or glamping adventure. Need suggestions? Click over to Orlando Date Night Guide’s round-up of camping and glamping recommendations.
- Stretch Beyond Your Comforts.
Routine can be good, but too much consistency can put one (or, in this case, two) in a rut. To keep your relationship fresh, be open-minded to trying new things. For instance, stray from the typical dinner-and-a-movie date night combo. By holding off on this stall go-to, you’ll get a taste of new experiences and eat up fresh connective opportunities.
Here's an idea: Make a date night jar inclusive of ideas that stretch beyond your comfort zone. Or dare to tackle “100 Orlando Date Night Ideas.” We double dare you!
- Minimize Your (Online) Social Circle.
It’s wonderful to have a large circle of friends. However, thanks to social media, we may stay connected to people who, unfortunately, bring negativity into our life. Think about it: How many times have you read a post – political, religious, whatever – that rubbed you the wrong way and, thus, shifted your mood or mindset.
Ugh, why waste time on negativity? Encourage your partner to limit that negative energy by ‘unfollowing’ certain people on social media platforms. On Facebook, for example, you’ll remain ‘friends’ but won’t see their posts. Additionally, plenty of articles (see Psychology Today and Bustle) outline how social media can hurt a relationship.
When you’re ready to kickstart some positive social posts, Orlando has some really cool backdrops to choose from, like those featured at Wall Crawl, a super cool studio in Downtown Orlando featuring about 20 murals for the cutest couple snapshots.
- Read a Book.
From romantic poetry to rom-com movie scripts, well-written love stories entertain and inspire. You can create beautiful chapters of your own love story together with literary themed date nights. How about strolling the aisles of a bookstore together, such as Writers Block on Plant Street or Barnes & Noble on Sand Lake. A date night could easily continue from either of these spots… down the historic lane of Winter Garden or on restaurant row.
Lit lovers could also do a crossword puzzle together, write poems to one another, listen to an audio book or attend PechaKucha Nights.
- Set Goals.
Self-care isn’t just about manicures and bubble baths. Challenging yourself and challenging your partner is a form of self-care! Studies show that we’re more likely to achieve goals when aided with the help of another. That doesn’t just apply to gym buddies… that supportive approach can apply to any goal, whether personal or collaborative. And isn’t your partner your best support person?
When one partner sets a goal, be mindful to encourage his/her efforts. That can mean participating or just offering reassuring words. Also, consider establishing couple-specific goals. You’ll be able to work as a team and experience a shared self of accomplishment. Talk about relationship building!
Fun fact: Orlando Date Night Guide founder Kristen Manieri is a life and habits coach. How cool would it be to be coached by someone who truly loves connection?! Couple goals can also be coached by local experts, such as Orlando Thrive Therapy, Total Life and Orlando Relationship Consulting.
- Take Your Time.
Grant yourselves permission to slow down, enjoy the simple things and, in turn, enjoy each other’s company. With the hustle and bustle of life, we tend to look for shortcuts but sometimes the long and slow road is better. On your next couple’s road trip, take a beautiful scenic route rather than the congested highway which can put you in a bad mood. Backroads have a way of bringing couples back to meaningful conversations too. Florida has 26 designated scenic byways and Orlando Date Night Guide has mapped out some options just for you.
- Conquer the To-Do List.
Set yourselves up for success through organization and honesty. There are personal to-do lists and shared to-do lists. For personal efforts, I’ve learned that I respond better to old-school written checklists. When I just set a Google calendar appointment for myself with time blocked for a to-do item (like calling the life coach to schedule an appointment), I tend to easily hit snooze or push back the date. Once I physically write out a list and leave it on the counter, the in-your-face visual reminder is effective and I get it done. It feels good to literally cross something off my list with a pen. I have started making written lists with reminders for my husband too and, funny enough, he also gets more done. So simple, yet effective!
Regarding implementing this further in our relationship, there have been times when I’ve felt that I’ve asked my husband to do something (insert any chore) a million times and he puts it off. That creates negative energy between us because I get annoyed. He starts to feel that I am nagging and I start to feel resentful that I need to nag him. To avoid this, I strive to be direct and sometimes share with him why I think something is a priority and help him set a timeline. Once I’ve expressed myself clearly, he has a better understanding of the reasoning behind my ask and understands that I’m not just nagging.
We’ve better communicated, appreciated each other’s perspective and conquered the to-do list.
OK, that’s a serious self-care strategy but the same can apply for more lighthearted to-do lists. For example, wouldn’t you be more prone to tackling a date night bucket list if you could check off the completed fun? Put this strategy to the test using Orlando Date Night Guide’s 50 Bucket List Summer Date Ideas.
- Clean House.
Freshen things up as it can do much more than tidy up your physical space. Decluttering can help you improve organization and, thus, improve functionality within your home. Plus, a clean space makes you happier. Seriously! Sure, nobody is thrilled to tackle chores but nobody likes a huge pile of clothes wasting space in the closet or a stockpile of expired cans in the pantry either. And cleaning, of course, helps to eliminate germs.
Wouldn’t you rather use your bed together for something hot rather than be in bed with a germy cold? You can make cleaning fun if you do it together, I swear. Crank the tunes and have mini-dance parties in between sweeps.
As your cleaning house, consider donating gently used items to Orlando resale locations to benefit fellow couples. For example, Habitat ReStores, Mustard Seed of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank.
FOR YOUR BODIES
- Pamper Together.
Perhaps your daily regimen is just washing your face, but self-care of one’s body can and should go way beyond that. Ladies, if you think your guy won’t be up for pampering, you may be wrong. Think of the laughs you’ll have as you paint goopy facial masks on each other. And pedicures are lovely for everyone’s tootsies. Run a warm bath for a rejuvenating soak. Incorporate salt scrubs, oils and lotions. Your bodies will get silky smooth which is an invitation for touchy-feely time.
Thanks to Orlando’s many spas, couples have endless opportunities to pamper together. For something a bit different, try the Couples Himalayan Salt Stone Massage at Sufii Day Spa in Altamonte Springs or a beer soak at My Beer Spa on International Drive. [Yes, you actually relax in a tub of beer!]
- Support Personal Self-Care Pampering Too.
Sometimes the best way to treat your partner is to allow him/her to indulge in whatever self-care ritual brings him/her/them joy. We’re talking basics here. For example, I love to stand in a hot shower for a long time. I mean practically scorching and so long that the water heater runs out. My husband knows that those ten minutes (OK, twenty!) are my feel-good escape, especially since we have children. He splurges on hair care. I think he overpays for haircuts and styling products but, alas, it’s his favorite self-care thing so I just offer compliments of his well-groomed locks.
For his next birthday or Father's Day, I’ll book a special experience at Harmony Barber Shop at Magic Kingdom or The Art of Shaving at Disney Springs.
- Be Workout Buddies.
Since you’ve committed to a life together, collaborate on exercise-focused self-care to achieve optimal health. Your partner makes your heart skip a beat and, so, incorporate cardiovascular exercises to work that heart! These things can make for great dates too, such as dancing, biking, hiking, rock climbing or however you like to get a sweat on. And since healthy relationships are all about balance, don’t forget to explore yoga, stretching, etc.
Try couples yoga at Tranquiliti Wellness Center in Windermere, tandem kayaking in a clear bottom vessel with Get Up and Go Kayaking, a beach bike tour with BK Adventure and so much more.
- Add Color to Your Life (and Plate).
How we choose to fuel our bodies is another self-care consideration. Isn’t it beautiful to see a rainbow alongside your love? Well, strive to “eat the rainbow” with your partner too. That means a bright meal featuring diverse hues, rather than a bland brown and white dish (yup, meat and potatoes won’t cut it). Different nutrients are found in different colored vegetables and fruits. For example, orange/red (i.e., sweet potatoes, carrots) provides beta-carotene which is converted into vitamin A; and green (i.e., broccoli, spinach) delivers fiber and vitamin C. In an effort to stay hydrated, use the same approach with water by infusing H2O with berries, cucumber and citrus fruits.
There are so many delicious ways to add color to your life (and plate) with your fellow foodie. You could stroll hand-in-hand while shopping farmer’s markets for pressed juices, homemade pasta, locally pickled veggies/pickles/olives, salsas/dips and humanely-caught seafood. Some of our favorite farmer’s markets are the Downtown Orlando Farmer’s Market, Windermere Farmer’s Market, Winter Garden Farmer’s Market and Winter Park Farmer’s Market.
A visit to a u-pick farm is another yummy way to freshen up date night with the apple of your eye! This flavorful activity is great in and of itself but, for an added cherry on top, use your freshly harvested goodies to cook up a delish date night meal together.
When my husband and I first began visiting u-pick farms, we opted for fruit selection. PickYourOwn.org is a great resource that provides listings of u-pick farms located all over the country, in addition to recipes, food events and more. Click here to check out Orlando Date Night Guide’s comprehensive list of u-pick farms.
- Inhale a Soothing Scent.
Scents impact mood. Vanilla is believed to be arousing, lavender is soothing and peppermint stimulates. Use candles or an essential oil diffuser to let aromatherapy naturally put you both in great moods.
To ignite this idea, head to Artifact Candle Foundry, in either Thornton Park or Winter Garden, for a DIY candle making experience with your hottie. This interactive place offers over 60 premium fragrance oils to pair with soy blend wax.
- Be Intimate.
Sex is good, right? And, as it turns out, it’s good for you too. During orgasm, oxytocin is released which promotes more restful sleep. Science aside, I can attest that my husband achieves snore status quicker post-rendezvous! And sex can boost positive emotions because, well, it feels good to be desired. Orlando Date Night Guide’s founder Kristen Manieri schedules sex to ensure that this self-care ritual happens twice a week.
To help you get in the mood, you could also take a sexy fitness class at Alegre Club. They offer instruction on lap dancing, pole dancing and burlesque dancing. Or you could feast on oysters, a natural aphrodisiac at Wine 4 Oysters or Lee & Rick’s Oyster Bar. Or mark your calendar for Orlando’s next Nude Nite, a sensual pop-up art experience.
- Sleep Together.
OK, this time we’re talking about actually snoozing. Sleep… seems like such a simple thing but most Americans aren’t catching enough zzz’s. There are tons of benefits from being well-rested, such as increased productivity and a stronger immune system. Instead of staying up for another episode during a Netflix binge, crawl into bed together and dream away.
Play around with couples matching pajamas – because why not? Or make have the best sleepover of your life with a romantic stay-at-home camping night.
- Have a Cup (or Two).
Coffee makes couples happy… literally. Forgo decaf because caffeine triggers the production of dopamine in the brain and, thus, triggers cheeriness — a lovely ingredient indeed. Plus, café dates are easy and delish.
- Give (and Receive) Massages.
Finding time to unwind with your partner without worries flooding your mind is tricky. Schedule a couple’s spa day to indulge in professional massages, which usually comes with other amenities like access to a sauna, steam room and lounge. This type of TLC is amazing, right? In between spa splurges, give each other massages at home to work out kinks and relish in chill status. Here’s a round-up of where to get the best couples massages in Orlando.
- Be Gentle.
Gentle touches are ways to offer love and show that you care. Intimate embraces don’t have to be reserved for the bedroom. I’m not talking about major PDA, but rather subtle touches of affection. Hold hands, hug, give sweet kisses on the cheek or forehead, caress the arm, etc.
FOR YOUR SOULS
- Laugh Together.
Laughing stimulates hormones called catecholamines which release endorphins that aid happiness and relaxation. Laughter really could be the best medicine! And benefits include stress reduction, muscle relaxation, lowered blood pressure and strengthened immune system. Find ways to laugh when alone and when together. Comedic entertainment is an option but go further by talking about funny memories you’ve made together.
There are plenty of places to catch comedy shows in Orlando, like SAK Comedy Lab in Downtown Orlando and the Improv on I-Drive. SAK is known for its silly improvisational style and the Improv brings in some decent, well-known comedians.
- Write it Out.
The practice of releasing and recording feelings, memories and thoughts can be fulfilling and useful. For example, the trend of ‘gratitude journaling’ helps users realize and appreciate life’s gifts that might otherwise be taken for granted. Journaling is often a solo practice, yet couples journaling is a way for partners to document their love story and deepen their relationship.
To shout your love from the rooftops, share your penned love stories at open mic nights!
- Go Solo.
Being a part of a loving duo is wonderful, but it’s totally fine (and maybe even crucial) to snag solo time too. Schedule something that makes you feel happy and nourishes your soul. Read a book amidst the floral aromas in Azalea Park, nibble your way through East End Market in Audubon Park, enjoy some screentime at Enzian Theatre and paint the town red at Rollin’s College Cornell Fine Arts Museum. Connecting with your partner is one priority, but so is reconnecting with yourself. When you reunite, you’ll be in a great mood which, of course, is contagious!
Researchers say cuddling is highly beneficial. Snuggling up will again release oxytocin and promote happiness. For personal care, wrap yourself in a cozy blanket and nap. And also assume the spooning position as cuddling with your love can improve your connection through non-verbal communication and intimacy.
Plenty of date night locations encourage cuddling. Snuggles can be had around fire pits at Big Fire at Universal CityWalk, Rock and Brews (Sunset Walk at Margaritaville Orlando Resort and in Oviedo) and Tangerine at Swan Reserve. But some of the best cuddles, in my opinion, happen at drive-in movie venues and/or outdoor movie showings. Who can resist a snuggle under the stars, right?
- Do Good to Feel Good.
Volunteerism or the act of doing something good makes us feel good and improves our mental state. Spend time with the person you love doing do-good and feel-good date activities. You could foster a pet together through the Pet Alliance, participate in a beach clean-up with the Sea Turtle Preservation Society, roll up your sleeves alongside Habitat for Humanity, held children with special needs catch some waves with Surfers for Autism or support any cause or charity that you’re passionate about.
- Check In On Emotions.
You likely ask your partner simply questions, like “How was your day?” Take it further and allow each other to express emotions without judgment. Kristen Manieri, Orlando Date Night Guide’s founder, shared how two questions make all the difference in her relationship: What would you like to be acknowledged for? What would you like me to know about your life? And for some couples, attending counseling sessions is a way to stay in a positive state before problems arise.
- Ask for Help.
Some perceive asking for help as a sign of weakness but it’s really a sign of strength. It’s great to push aside the fear of judgment and involve others when you need a hand. Cut yourself some slack! No one is perfect and everyone has different strengths, so another person may be better suited for the issue at hand anyway. Plus, healthy relationships are all about give and take. Sometimes needs are met via 50-50 participation and other times one steps up more.
Your partner is the person you trust most so feel comfortable asking for help. I’ve learned that if I want it done “right” (aka the way I would do it – ha!), I need to be direct and specific with my husband. He approaches things differently than me and he certainly can’t read my mind so asking for help and effectively communicating go hand-in-hand. People like feeling useful and your partner will likely not reject your request.
- Be Adventurous and/or Travel.
Self-care is about finding ways to take care of yourself and that includes identifying what makes you happy. New adventures and exciting life experiences are just that. Odds are you aren’t going to achieve your bucket list if you’re living a couch potato existence. Allow your mind (or minds to include your partner) to grow through travel, for instance.
The wonders of our world are sure to impact your mind, body and soul. On vacation, incorporate downtime into your agenda. I have a tendency to overschedule which increases my stress and, thus, defeats the goal of a relaxing trip. Explore vacay options via the ‘Getaways’ tab on the top menu bar of Orlando Date Night Guide.
Opening one’s heart to a higher power through prayer or spirituality can be powerful. Have you heard the statement “couples who pray together stay together?” A study conducted by the National Survey of Religion found that partners who attended faith services regularly were more satisfied with their relationship, according to HuffingtonPost. Many churches offer couples counseling, couples Bible study groups and parents’ night out events. Some of Orlando’s most popular churches are Discovery Church, Mosaic Church, Summit Church and many others.
- Make Date Night a Routine!
Funny enough, date night works for self-care. Countless studies have proclaimed date night as beneficial, like the Date Night Opportunity published by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia. It found that regular date nights add value to relationships by generating “higher levels of communication, sexual satisfaction and commitment” among couples. And we hope our site is your go-to source for ideas!
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