Relationships Advent Calendar . Day 10 . Treat Yourself

Today’s a reminder that this relationship is not all about your other half, it’s important to take care of ourselves so that we have enough of ourselves left over to meet our partner half way.

So schedule some time out today, buy yourself something lush, just stop for ten minutes and have a cup of tea, or luxuriate in the bath with some bubbles ..

christmas-lights

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Christmas-proof your relationship

“Advent is the perfect time to clear and prepare the Way. Advent is a winter training camp for those who desire peace.” – Edward Hays

xmasdisasterTomorrow is the start of December, and it’s so easy at this very special time of year to get caught up with the chores of Christmas: the cards, the gifts, the cooking .. and put our couple relationship on the back burner until the New Year.

Christmas is a wonderful time, but sometimes the stress can take its toll on our relationships, with many couples seeking counselling from me after the holiday season, when stress, the family, disappointed expectations (and one too many Baileys) have resulted in relationship melt-down.

December is a great time to take stock of our relationships, and to make sure loving each other is part of the run up to Christmas. Those of you who read my posts regularly will know I’m a firm believer in the power of small sustained actions to build and sustain loving relationships.

So for the third year in a row I invite you to follow my new and improved Relationship Advent Calendar Challenge, a great way to build acts of love into each day from December 1st, as my seasonal gift to you.

And if you haven’t met your sweetie yet ..  you’re still warmly invited to take part .. use this time to practise the actions I suggest on your friends and family.

So, what’s a “Relationship Advent Calendar?

A lot of advent calendars are about getting, but this one’s all about giving, because in a relationship we give to receive. Every day in December until Christmas, I’ll reveal a new action to build and sustain your couple relationship.

Subscribe to the blog, follow me on Twitter or Facebook and & get 25 acts of love delivered to your inbox each day, starting tomorrow December 1!

I’ll be doing all of these right along with you .. I’d love to hear how you get on ..

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Are you excited about this advent project? Do get in touch using the Comments box below or my Contacts details to the right of your screen .. happy adventing!

How Grateful Are You?

poppies bannerNovember has been designated a month for Gratitude in both the USA and Britain for different reasons. In Europe we have a Day of Remembrance on the 11th and as we see the Remembrance poppies gradually appear on our streets we are reminded of ordinary people just like us who gave their lives so that we can live in peace.

Gratitude and giving thanks are incredibly powerful mindfulness practices that we can use in our lives to increase our wellbeing and nourish relationships. It’s easy to be grateful when things are going well, and equally as easy to let this slip when life takes over or gets challenging. This of course is when we need to flex our gratitude muscle the most.

Sharing our gratitude with others is so important and research in the field of Positive Psychology shows that we are more likely to feel and express gratitude when shown kindness by a stranger than towards those whose lives we share:

When was the last time you thanked your partner for being there for you?!

How do you think they might feel if you took that one step towards them?

For the past twenty years I’ve been marking each November by re-focussing on my daily gratitude practice, and more recently I’ve been using the power of social media to keep myself on track. Making a pledge to post something different that I’m grateful for every single day of November on Twitter or Facebook really helps get me back on track!

This year I’m using Instagram to give myself the extra little challenge of finding a nice image to go with each reflection. If you fancy following me you can check if I manage it, and I’d love you to join in! Or if you prefer to receive prompts there’s an online 30 Day Gratitude Challenge (not run by me) that you could sign up for .

And of course gratitude goes hand in hand with Kindness. There are lots of groups and projects springing up around kindness and compassion, with an excellent Facebook group in my area of Tyne and Wear that encourages members to both carry out and notice acts of kindness in their everyday lives.

So go ahead and try it, ask yourself once a day every day of November .. what am I grateful for right now?

 

Gratitude-Month

References
Gratitude and Positive Psychology: What is Gratitude and What are the Benefits of Gratitude? Meade, Claire. http://positivepsychology.org.uk/gratitude/ accessed 8 November 2017.

8 Ways to Babyproof your Relationship .. after the arrival

The goal is to have a conversation in a way so that you can have another conversation tomorrow . Unknown

babynewsmWhen your baby is born it may feel like it’s your birthday, with lots of attention, gifts and well wishers, but the reality is that looking after a new baby can be hard on your relationship as well as on you individually.

Children are both the best and hardest challenge for a couple, they bring joy and love as well as frustration, anxiety and test parents to their limits. Amidst all this it’s easy to lose track of what brought them here in the first place, your relationship.

Once your baby arrives it’s important to look after yourselves, not just for your own sakes but everyone in the family:

  • Take time out to talk, listen and to have fun together
  • Make time for each of you to be alone, hang out with friends and remember what it’s like to be you, not mum or dad
  • Be flexible, and be prepared to change your approach as your child’s needs develop
  • Be realistic about what you can manage .. Simplify, simplify, simplify!!
  • Avoid being territorial about the baby, share with your partner even if they do things differently to you
  • Be each other’s cheerleaders and point out successes at least once a day
  • Keep an eye on each other to watch for signs of postnatal depression or other indications that you’re finding the adjustment tough
  • Find outside sources of support in your community or online, like mumsnet or http://newdadsnetwork.com to help you through this time

And above all don’t give up, if you feel you need additional help with your relationship contact a specialist relationship counselling organization like Relate or a qualified private relationship counsellor.

With thanks for much of this material to Elizabeth Martyn, whose book Babyshock, is one of a series of books by Relate on maintaining happy and healthy relationships.

babynewWhat do you think? Have you been given any really useful advice about becoming a parent? Are you finding things difficult and would appreciate a confidential place to talk about it?

Get in touch using the form below or using my contact details.

4 Way to Babyproof your relationship .. before the birth

The greatest thing you can do for your children, is love your partner . Steven Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families

babybumpsmImagine someone moved in with you, and your partner fell deeply in love with them?

To make things even worse this person screamed every 3 hours day and night, demanded food and took your hard earned money?

Children are both the best and hardest challenge for a couple, they bring joy and love as well as frustration, anxiety and test parents to their limits. Amidst all this it’s easy to lose track of what brought them here in the first place, your relationship.

Whether you chose to become pregnant or not, parenthood is a shared adventure, and it’s a good idea to prepare for it together as much as you can now, while you have the time and energy to devote to it.

  • Take time out to talk about your expectations and assumptions about how things might change in your lives, you may be surprised!
  • Above all practice listening, listen and listen some more!
  • Some things to think and talk about might be: sex, lifestyle, holidays, time together, wider family contact, time for intimacy, how you manage money, work, finding support outside your couple, childcare, any worries about the birth and becoming a parent you might have.
  • What might you have to give up and what do you hope to gain by becoming parents? What are your individual and couple goals and how will having a child affect them in the coming years? What changes can you manage before the birth and what needs to be put off?

If you find talking about these issues difficult you can seek support from a specialist relationship counsellor who will help you, either as a couple or on your own, to prepare for the changes ahead.

With thanks for much of this material to Elizabeth Martyn, whose book Babyshock, is one of a series of books by Relate on maintaining happy and healthy relationships.

babybumplg

What do you think? Have you been given any really useful advice about becoming a parent? Are you worried about the challenge ahead?

Get in touch using the form below or using my contact details.