Thursday, May 29, 2014

Stress Busters

Let’s face it.  We live in a stressful culture with an emphasis on being able to do everything all the time and making it look easy.  Work full time, take care of the house, spend time with your spouse, your children, your friends, your family, and yourself.  Unless you have a day stretcher and find a way to get more than the allotted 24 hours, it is just not possible to be all things to all people all the time.  Here is a list of some general guidelines and suggestions that may help you achieve more balance in your life with the result that you feel less stress and pressure.
1.      Every morning, take 5 minutes to breathe deeply and stretch your body.
2.      Eat a healthy breakfast that includes non-processed foods and drink some water.
3.   Whether at work or at home, take a 10-minute break and stretch, drink some water, and smile.  Smiling makes us feel happier.
4.    Take time to eat a healthy lunch.  If you can’t buy a lunch, bring a healthy lunch with you.  If the weather is nice, sit outside to eat your lunch.  At the end of your lunch, stretch and drink some water.
5.   Don’t watch the clock and wish your work day over, which is the equivalent of wishing your life away.  Instead, focus on what you are doing and enjoy that moment.  If you hate your job, give yourself permission to find a new job. 
6.    Find something in your day that makes you smile and share it with someone else.  Smiling can be contagious. 
7.      Have dinner together as a family.  It is the best time of the day when everyone can share their day and have that bonding time.  If your children are old enough, invite them to help you prepare dinner.  Many children enjoy this activity and you can have wonderful conversations with you child, learning more about them and their views on life.
8.      Take some time every evening after the children are in bed to have a conversation with your spouse that does not involve sitting in front of the TV.  It is a good time to share your day and any ideas you have about family and/or fun things to do.
9.      Go to bed early and allow yourself to get 8 to 9 solid hours of sleep.  A good sleep is one of the best stress busters you will ever experience.  Most of us tend to be very sleep deprived, which can lead to depression, irritability, decreased concentration and attention, lack of motivation, and even feelings of withdrawal.  Sleep also enhances our physical health which contributes to our overall sense of well-being.

10.  Get out of the house every weekend and don’t just get caught up in chores and things you feel you have to do.  A few hours out of the house can reduce your stress level immeasurably, especially if you are doing something fun or relaxing. 

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

My Relationship is Comfortable, But Stale

I love my wife/husband, but…… I hear this on a weekly basis.  Sometimes relationships become stale due to predictability and sometimes due to the focus being on children and not on the couple.  If you have been together long enough to become predictable, first, congratulations.  Second, talk with your partner about stirring things up.  What did you used to like to do together and what would you like to do now?  Many times couples will tell me that they just do not have the money to do the things they would like to do.  If that applies to you, look for the free and the inexpensive things to do in your community.  For example, many communities have free or inexpensive concerts, plays and shows put on through cultural centers, monthly main street events and food tastings, etc.  Some libraries show old movies for free and you can always rent a movie and invite some friends to share the movie and some popcorn in your family room.  Parks and beaches are free and you usually only have to pay for parking.  It can be fun to sit at a marina and look at the boats.  Go to a local lake and feed the ducks.  Get a cup of coffee or tea after dinner rather than at home.  Play miniature golf or play a round of bowling.  Talk about when and how to initiate sex now that the kids are older and maybe out of the house.  If your children are young, co-opt babysitting with a friend and watch each other’s’ children once a month so you do not have to pay a babysitter.  You might decide to not even leave the house but have a nice, uninterrupted dinner plus whatever follows that. If money is not the issue, but you are in a rut, make a list with your partner of all the things you would like to check out that are both local and maybe involve some travel.
Check in to a hotel for a weekend close to home if you do not want to travel.  Play strip poker with each other and see where that leads.  It is up to you to be creative and invite your partner to be creative with you.
Try a restaurant you have never tried or anything else you have not tried.  You may decide to go kayaking or go to a local museum.  Maybe you will join a walking or bicycle club together or possibly work with a personal trainer together.  Maybe you can take a class together and work on a project together.   Whatever it is that you decide to do, shake it up and make a concerted effort to do the things on your couples bucket list.

We hope you enjoyed reading our blog.  Please like us on Facebook and share our blog with others.  We also would appreciate your comments and we are happy to consider your ideas for topics we can address in our blog.