Couple Appreciation Month: Celebrate and Reinforce Your Relationship

Couple Appreciation Month: Celebrate and Reinforce Your RelationshipApril is designated National Couple Appreciation Month to encourage couples to do something special to re-enforce and celebrate their relationship – to let their partners know that they are respected and desired.

Given the grim statistics we hear on the state of relationships, I’m glad there is a whole month set aside to appreciate couples.

Statistics say most couples are unhappy in their relationships and more than 40% of marriages end in divorce.

As bleak as these statistics are, on the other hand, there are still approximately 50% of couples in relationships that are long lasting, thriving and happy.

What keeps these couples connected and happy?

Here are few tips you can use to improve and strengthen your relationship:

  • Communicate. Communication is one of the most important qualities in a relationship. Expressing your feelings is the key to effective communication no matter how uncomfortable or awkward it may feel. In strong resilient relationships, couples say “I love you” often and don’t sweep unpleasant issues under the rug.
  • Date Night. Remember how you looked forward to going on a date with your partner before the bills, school functions, meetings and other life forces took over and pushed your relationship to the back burner? You can regain that same excitement and joy in your relationship. Start going on dates again. Just as you schedule other functions, schedule a time devoted to each other. Make your relationship as a priority. Take out your calendar or smartphone, select a mutually agreeable date and time and write in your partner’s name. Commit to this date and don’t use excuses to stand up your partner. I’m sure you’re super busy but you must have at least one night out of seven to devote to your partner.
  • Never go to bed angry. In any relationship, especially a couple, unresolved anger breed resentment. Long-term resentment leads to apathy and disconnection. Don’t give anger space to grow. Let the other person know how you feel without directing blame or criticism.
  • Play together. Most couples spend less than 20 minutes a day engaged with each other and even less having fun together. Make time in your schedule to do a fun activity you both enjoy. Couples who share a common interest such as golf or bowling tend to have less conflict in their relationship. Not only do these couples spend time having fun, they also are strengthening their connection.
  • Trust. Can you count on your partner tomorrow do what he or she says? Successful relationships are built on trust. If you tell your partner you’ll be home by 6:30, don’t be persuaded to stop for a beer or get into a 20-minute conversation with co-workers when it’s time to leave work.
  • Fight fair. All couples have disagreements. If you’re not careful, disagreement can end in shouting matches, anger and hurt. A disagreement does not mean you don’t love each other or care. Before you start slinging insults, name calling or a disagreement ends badly, a 5-10 minute “time out” may help you sort out your thoughts so you can return and reach an amicable solution.
  • Show appreciation. Couples ought to show appreciation every day not just in April when we celebrate National Couple Appreciation Month. It’s the little things that mean a lot. It’s not that you don’t appreciate your partner; you just forget to verbalize your appreciation. Tell your partner how much you appreciate him or her. Put an “”I love you” note on a pillow, in a pocket, on the bathroom mirror, in his or her gym bag or briefcase/purse to make them smile.

Couple Appreciation month ends in a few days but you don’t wait for Couple Appreciation month to  let your partner know how much more enjoyable he or she makes your life, and then tell them.

To get professional help to improve or strengthen your relationship, please contact me to schedule a consultation.

Valentine’s Day – A Day of Generosity And Love

In the spirit of generosity, I’m sharing this previously published post. If you read it before, please share it with your friends to remind them to practice generosity every day.

Valentine's Day On Valentine’s Day, instead of the usual flowers, cards and other sentiments we usually give to loved ones, what if we all practiced a different kind of generosity. What if we were extra kind to everyone we meet today?

Valentine’s Day is most often thought of as a time to show love and affection to the people closest to us by bestowing them with flowers, chocolates, romantic dinners, notes and cards.

This excerpt, from a blog post by Sasha Dichter, offers us another option to celebrate Valentine’s Day;

Barely three days before Valentine’s Day, Sasha Dichter,
Chief Innovation Officer for
Acumen Fund, decided to convert his month-long
Generosity Experiment” into a global Generosity
Day. The idea was simple: to reclaim Valentine’s
Day from the clutches of commercialization and
turn it into a day of “sharing love with everyone.

This is a great idea not just for Valentine’s Day but for other holidays as well.  It would certainly eliminate the commercialization of holidays and instead promote generosity and love on every day.

Dichter suggests that people are hungry for more connection and meaning in their lives. So, instead of filling up on flowers, candy, cards and extravagant gifts, he proposes that we show more generosity by dispensing love to everyone on Valentine’s Day – not just those closest to us.

Here are some ideas you can use to celebrate Valentine’s Day:

• Tip extra generously when you are out enjoying your Valentine’s Dinner. Your server will appreciate it.

• Take “thinking of you” cards to a nursing home and have the staff write the name of a person on the envelope. Most people in nursing homes rarely receive mail.

• When you are getting your morning coffee, pay the check for the person behind you.

• Place a place a tin of cookies at your neighbor’s door to thank him/her for just being a good neighbor.

• Donate your gently used clothes, appliances, furniture, etc. to a non-profit organization.

• To ward off the flu bug and germs, pass out small bottles of hand sanitizer to people you meet at the doctors, dentists, hair salon, supermarket, etc.

This Valentine’s Day, celebrate the day by making it a day that you show generosity and love everywhere you go.

How will you spread generosity today? Please share your thoughts with us.

For more tips, tools and insights, I invite you to get my book, Master the Genie Within: Uncover, Embrace and Celebrate the Real You.

Jellybean Facts

jellybeans

What’s our fascination with jellybeans?

Is it because they are colorful, super sweet and readily available for a quick sugar pick me up?

Or is there something more to our attraction to jellybeans?

Here are some interesting facts about jellybeans for you to ponder:

• Jelly Beans were first introduced to the Easter scene in the 1930’s patterned after the popular Mid-eastern confection known as Turkish Delight. This was a popular egg shaped candy in America and sold primarily in glass jars that sat atop counters in stores all over the country.

• Jellybeans became linked to the popular Easter Bunny after the Civil war as a forerunner to Easter. Eggs were considered a symbol of new life during the spring season and the two seemed perfectly matched. Consequently, Jellybeans stuck as one of the classic Easter candies. Currently, 16 billion jellybeans are made for the Easter holiday with “red” being the most popular color.

More Interesting Jellybean Facts

• Most of us use, or are at least familiar with, Google’s Android operating system called Jelly Bean. Google’s Jelly Bean is a module that is widely available to lots of applications—as though it might be grabbed out of a jar in handfuls when needed. In fact, the Android logo, shaped like a large jellybean jar, is also part of the Android lawn statues on the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California.

• Ronald Reagan, the 40th US president, had such a fondness for jellybeans that he had three and a half tons of red, white, and blue Jelly Belly jellybeans shipped to Washington, DC for the 1981 Inaugural festivities.

• One of the space shuttles even took up a bunch of jellybeans for the shuttle crew to snack on.

• The term jelly beaning is American corporate slang for small talk with a client, getting to know them on initial meeting, before trying to make a sale, close a deal etc.

• Every year, there are more bizarre jellybean flavors introduced than the year before. For example, the Jelly Belly Company has such flavors as ”toothpaste” which supposedly is similar to gum.

• The notion that jellybeans, in the shape of an egg, are symbolic of new life or rebirth does not go unnoticed. Spring is said to be a time of new beginnings, a shedding of the dull colors of winter and a bursting forth of vibrant and lively hues.

• Considering the example of jelly beans as given by Google – grab a handful out of the jar when needed – I think we could use the jelly bean metaphor for those times when we need a little lift. For example: Reach your hand into a jar of jellybeans and take what you need to feel alive and energized. You can just play with them. Count how many colors are in the jar; count how many jellybeans are in the jar. You may just find yourself more relaxed and less stressed.

• To get over hurt and anger, try what I call the jelly-toss. Reach deep and grab a big handful of jellybeans. From the handful, pick a color that represents your strongest feeling. Toss that color in the trash until you have exhausted that particular color. Pick another color and do the same until all the jellybeans are gone. Now, didn’t that make you feel better? And it didn’t add one calorie to your diet.

• In a dilemma – can’t decide between two similar choices? With this method, you simply select the first jellybean color that catches your eye. Select the next color that attracts your attention. Assign a choice to each color jellybean selected. Count each of the colors and the one with the higher tally is the one you go with. Of course, this is not the best way to make a major life decision. But for decisions such as “should I wear the blue shirt or the red shirt”, this is easy peasy…

• Keep a jar for jellybeans with a small scooper on your desk for visitors as a conversation starter. Ask their favorite color and let them tell you why.

Whether you celebrate Easter or not you may have indulged in this popular treat at some time or another and wondered how jellybeans came to be so popular. Now you know…

If you have other tips or interesting facts about jellybeans, please share them with us in the comment section. I would love to hear from you.

To stay up to date with the latest insights, self-care tips and more, I invite you to join our self-care circle.

Popular Self-Care Tip Posts

Woman stressed and frustratedHave you ever spent hours jumping from one web link to another trying to gather relevant self-care tip posts only to find yourself in a maze of information overload?

I have and I know just how time-consuming and frustrating that can be.

Don’t you sometimes wish you had a handy reference guide put together with several articles about your specific search topic all in one place?

Now you do…

Periodically I will publish a list of previously posted popular self-care tips and strategies that I’ve rounded up from various sources on the web to make it easier for you to get self-care tips and more all in one place.   Here’s the list:

15 Self-Care Tips for Anyone Who Works Too Much
Nichole Liloia on MindBodyGreen
Choose from these 15 self-care tips to make self-care a part of your regular practice so that you feel good about taking care of yourself (and you get a break from your work!).

The Absolute Worst Things To Do When You’re Stressed Out
Jena Pincott on Oprah.com
When life comes at you fast and furious, the last thing you want to do is make things even harder on yourself. Start by avoiding these 8 stress  traps

Girl on a Ledge – Moving Past Your Fears 
Marisa Leighon on Huffington Post
Girl on a ledge describes perfectly that feeling we have when fear keeps us stuck in the same old patterns, trying to decide how to make the transition from fearful to courageous.

How to Build Self Confidence
Zorka Hereford on Essential Life Skill.net
How we see ourselves is more important than how anyone else sees us. If we don’t work at loving and accepting ourselves, nothing anyone else thinks matters.

Four Ways to Deal With Stress
Posted by the American Heart Association
Use these four simple techniques to combat stress

How Fear Keeps us Stuck (and what to do about it) – Posted on Unstuck.com
9 tips to help you get unstuck and move past the fear

What’s in Your Tool Kit?
Posted on CoachforYourDreams.com/blog
Just as you use physical tools to complete tasks and projects, you also have tools that help you maintain your self-care. To stay organized, focused, accountable and inspired, use these tools from your self-care tool kit.

If you enjoyed these popular self-care tip posts, please leave a comment to let me know what resonates with you and what other topic you would like me to pull together for you.

In the meantime, for more self-care tips and insights, I invite you to check out my book, Master the Genie Within: Uncover, Embrace and Celebrate the Real You

The Power of Quiet Time

Park benchMost of us don’t have quiet time. We’re usually too busy to sit quietly for even a minute. We certainly don’t believe we deserve a space of our own in which to go within to replenish our energy.

In the book, A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf refers to a woman needing a quiet space of her own to write. I doubt if Woolf could have envisioned the hectic lives most women live today. Whether we apply it to writing or other areas of our lives, Woolf’s message is still relevant. We all need some quiet time and a space to reflect and reclaim a sense of well-being.

Some of us manage to build quiet time into our busy days but others constantly complain about a lack of time.

Most often, it’s not time we lack but rather, we regret forfeiting quiet time to reflect, re-center and regain a sense of well-being. Quiet time helps us to unwind from our daily stressors, engage in an activity we enjoy or just sit quietly to replenish our energy.

When I don’t build some quiet time into my day, it seems as though I’m on a merry-go-round – going nowhere fast. But when I make it a point to schedule some quiet time into my day, my life doesn’t seem quite so hectic.

There’s a reason why hospitals advocate for quietness. It’s so patients can restore their strength and regain health. You don’t have to be in a hospital to regain your strength and reclaim a sense of well-being.

Instead, use these power of quiet time tips to reflect and re-center yourself:

Request some quiet time if you live in a “busy’ household. I’ve found that often a request is all that is needed to get what you want. Rarely will your request be denied. And even if it is, you must take charge of your life by having the courage to do what is best for you.

Make space for yourself away from everyone else. A busy mother once told me that her quiet time was a relaxing bubble bath at the end of her day. She taught her family not to disturb her during this time.

Take a walk around your neighborhood for 15-20 minutes. I often find a short walk alone quiets my mind and re-energizes me.

Spend quality time with others. Most couples know that in order to stay connected and strengthen their relationship they must spend quality time together, focused on each other. Spending quality time with those you care about means listening and giving that person your undivided attention. You can’t give another person your undivided attention when you are busy checking email, texting or thinking about your next project.

Listen to soothing music. Music is a natural relaxant and reduces stress.

For more tips and insights like these, I invite you to check out my book, Master the Genie Within: Uncover, Embrace and Celebrate the Real You