Last night we had thunderstorms and lots of rain. Some parts of the St. Louis area received up to 5 inches of rain overnight! When I woke up, the day started as another dreary day. Gray skies are a common feature especially in the winter. As I thought about the thunderstorms it made me feel thankful. Yes, thankful. I have come to realize that having gray, stormy days are necessary in order to feel thankful for sunny, warm days. You see, if every day was sunny and warm we would tire of it. We would become complacent. So, today embrace these gray skies and rainy nights and offer thanks. Sunny skies are soon to come!
Yesterday, I posted a blog on giving thanks. I'd like to take that one step further and give thanks to those in your life. We get so caught up in life and a lot of times we forget to give thanks to those around us. Take a momemt today and see who makes an impact on your life and thank him/her for that. Today, I thank YOU for reading my blog and supporting my efforts.
Take a moment today and look at your life. Give thanks for all that you have. In a tough economy, it's easy to focus on the negative. When we focus on the negative, we attract additional negative to come our way. Look at the positive aspects of your life and be thankful for them. You may have to play detective to find them, but you will. Today, I'm thankful for being me!
Have you taken that first step to starting a date night routine? To get you going on some ideas, I suggest a private brainstorming session. I suggest each partner come up with their own ideas for date night and write them down on a piece of paper and put it in a "date night" jar. Again, choose activities that will allow you to interact with your spouse and also to have fun with your spouse. Do not share your date night ideas with your partner. Each time you and your spouse schedule date night, choose a slip of paper from the jar and do what it says. The jar idea will help to create the feeling of mystery and excitement in your activity. Prior to coming up with your ideas, you may need to set some agreed up parameters - how much money can we spend, how much time we will allow for the activity, etc. Date night can be fun, exciting and a much needed relief from the daily routine of life. Go ahead, be daring!
Every parent stresses from time to time. Life provides a large dose of pressure and stress is inevitable. So, what can you do to handle the pressure? You need to fill your gas tank. No, not your car's gas tank - you're own gas tank. You need to make sure that you are getting plenty of rest, relaxation and fun. You've got to have gas in your tank to be able to provide for your children. Mothers are especially bad about running on empty. Women typically give and give and give. They give to their children, their spouses, friends, family, job, etc. You get the picture. Usually women are last on their list. In order to be able to give to others, we need to give to ourselves. I like to get together with girlfriends, spend some quiet time reading or having a few hours alone. Make sure you are on your list. As a mother, I realize that it is unrealistic to put ourselves first on the list, but perhaps we could be up there where we get to ourselves daily. Hmmm, how am I going to fill my gas tank today? Perhaps I'll watch Dancing with the Stars tonight. How will you put more gas in your tank today?
Have you ever felt like your marriage/relationship is in a rut? You may be arguing with your spouse. You and your spouse may be a little more quiet around each other not having much to talk about. Or it could be that you just don't have anything in common anymore. A solution to get the relationship back on track is to have date night. I suggest to my couples to choose an activity that gets you moving. Perhaps, an activity that you and your spouse have either not done or rarely do. I suggest thinking outside the box - racing go karts, taking a ballroom dancing class, playing minature golf, etc. I suggest avoiding the same old dinner and a movie routine. This activity provides very little interaction. The purpose of date night is to interact, get connected and have a great time with your spouse. Experts agree that couples should have date night once a week. As a parent, that request is a little far fetched in my household. How about once a month? When you start having fun with your spouse again, you'll notice that the relationship will improve. You'll have more to talk about and the anger/resentment/discord will soften. When can you schedule your next date night?
Have you ever noticed how contagious a smile is? Someone smiles at you at the grocery store...a perfect stranger...and all of a sudden your immediate reflex is to smile back. Years ago, I had a client who said that he "practiced" smiling to help improve his mood. I thought this was kind of crazy until I tried it out myself. It really does give your mood a boost. I dare you to practice smiling and see how it boosts your mood. Watch how it affects other people. Go ahead, smile!
Last week was my birthday and I was looking forward to the day. But by that afternoon, I noticed that I was feeling down. My poor husband thought the reason for my sadness was because he didn't do enough for my birthday. At the time I didn't realize why I was so sad. The next morning I figured it out. I realized that I didn't set aside special time for me on that day. Instead I spent the day cleaning and grocery shopping. Who in their right mind would do that on their birthday? I don't know what I was thinking. So, the moral of my story is to spend time on yourself. Looking back, I should have done something I really enjoyed, but I got into the regular routine of my life. How often do you spend time on yourself? For me that may mean reading, watching a television show or movie, hanging out with friends or just having some quiet time away from my family. We don't have to do this only on our birthdays. In fact, we need to do this on a regular basis. I suggest to clients that everyone needs a few minutes everyday to devote to themselves. It's a good way to not only de-stress, but to connect with ourselves too. I challenge you to make some time for yourself each day AND spend some extraspecial time on your birthday too.
Oh my goodness! Life has thrown me a curveball. I have been so busy that I have not been able to get to my blog. Sorry, everyone! I hope to get back on the ball here and write more often. Sometimes life gets so hectic that we neglect particular responsibilities in our lives. When this happens, usually our stress levels go up too. The best thing we can do in stressful times is to take a look at our responsibilities and prioritize. I like to get the most pressing things done first and work my way down the list. Unfortunately, my blog wasn't one of my most pressing responsibilities. So, when life throws you a curveball, how do you handle all of your tasks? Do you juggle them and hope you get to all of them or do you make a list and prioritize?
The last few days here in St. Louis have been great. It's been a warm 70 degrees. People are out walking their dogs, mowing their lawns and doing projects around their house. It seems that the winter slumber might just be over. The warm weather has really gotten me motivated to move! I notice that I want to be outside exercising. Don't get me wrong, I have hardly had the motivation to move over the last few months. It's nice that the weather has finally given me the push to put on my tennis shoes and head out the door. After a brisk walk, I feel so much better. It has gotten my blood pumping, my muscles moving and lots of fresh air for my lungs. It has also given me a boost in my mood. Exercise is a natural mood booster. It's especially better if it's a nice, sunny day. The sunlight also helps boost moods. Exercise is such an important necessity in life. So many people avoid it like the plague. It is the number one technique I recommend to people who are stressed, depressed, anxious, angry, etc. It's great for everyone no matter what their mental health issue is. So, lace up your tennis shoes and go out for a little walk. You never know, you just may feel like a million bucks!