Thursday, July 6, 2017

How to Significantly Improve your Relationships in 10 Minutes A Day




I love writing about connection and relationships.  As a therapist, I see all the time how important it is to nurture healthy relationships, eliminate toxic ones, and spend time with our people. Being with the people you love, who love you back (flaws and all) is one of the most life-giving ways we can spend our time.  I'm convinced that if people spent more time in the presence of their loved ones, connecting, laughing, playing, and hugging, they would spend far fewer hours in their therapist's office.  #realtalk

Life is busy, schedules are often crazy, leaving us exhausted at the end of a day.  It's not unusual for people to find themselves falling into bed after a hectic day and not have had a single moment of meaningful connection with their loved ones.  Over time, this can become a habit, leading to feelings of frustration, bitterness, and depression if we're not careful.  

There are a lot of ways to fix this problem, but today I'd like to share one simple way to significantly improve your relationships in just 10 minutes.  That's right, in the length of time it takes you to pack a lunch or unload a dishwasher, you can improve the quality of any relationship.  Sound too good to be true?  

I felt the same way.  About four years ago, I was really struggling as a mom.  Potty training was going terribly with my older son, my younger son was a baby and I felt like I had nothing to give emotionally to my husband at the end of my day being a stay at home mom.  I felt like my frustrations were taken out on my sweet boys (big and little) as the best of me slipped away and a new, stressed and sassy mama took her place.  It wasn't pretty.

I stumbled upon a book called "If I Have To Tell You One More Time..." by Amy McCready.  In my desperation to get my old, fun Cath back and maybe not have ALL of my interactions with my son revolve around whether or not he put his poops in the potty, I read through it in two days.  There were so many amazing parenting tips and tricks in the book (I have since recommended it to many of my clients and mama friends), but the one that truly revolutionized my family was called, "Mind, Body, and Soul Time."  I think that's a super weird name, so we just call it "Special Mom and _______ Time."  The blank is filled in with whomever needs to connect with me each day.  Spoiler alert:  That is everyone I live with.  Errrrry day.  

McCready says that spending 10 minutes a day (twice a day) with your kids individually, with your phone and all distractions put away is life changing.  And I'm here to tell you that it IS.  I began to schedule in 10 minutes, twice a day to spend with each child.  Soon, my kids knew that no matter what else happened in the day, they would have 10 minutes in the morning and in the afternoon with just me, fully focused on them.  The bonus was that they got to choose the activity for those 20 minutes per day.  They were in control for those beautiful bits of time.  And then an amazing thing began to happen...there were far fewer power struggles and many more fun times in our house.  Praise.  

As I have continued Special Mom and ______ Time throughout the years, it has dawned on me more than once that 10 minutes can be so powerful.  Sometimes, we truly don't have time for more than 10 minutes per day per child, especially with my older son being in school all day now.  But it seems to me that in just 10 minutes of togetherness, and talking with no distractions, I can communicate security and significance to my children.  My husband.  My family.  My Besties.  Whoever.  10 minutes per day.

Now the trick is to make the 10 minutes per day a habit.  You can ask yourself "who do I want to connect with intentionally today?"  "Who do I want to express love to?"  This will probably look a little different for everyone.  You may want to adopt the Special Mom and _______ Time in your house for each of your kids each day.  You may want to carve out that same special time for your significant other.  Maybe each day, it's a different friend you want to call for 10 minutes to catch up.  Too often we think, "If I don't have at least a half hour to catch up, I shouldn't bother calling."  But that's simply not the case.  My BFF lives out of state, and our lives are pretty busy.  We have found that shorter, more frequent calls keep us as connected as when we can talk for an hour.  

It's helpful to think about how you will spend your 10 minutes (and with whom you will spend them) as you start each day, or even the night before.  When you start planning how and when you will pour into your people each day, you will soon reap the benefits of this intentional time, as will your loved ones.  Trust me, they will thank you.  You will thank you, too.  

We do have time to foster deep connection with our people, and everyone will benefit when we prioritize it.  

If you are struggling to deeply connect with your loved ones, feel free to email me.  I'd be happy to listen, and point you in the right direction with a FaceTime or Skype session.  

Lots of love to you all, and let me know if you decide to give this trick a try!  



I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com .  All opinions expressed are my own and I never recommend a product unless I truly love it!

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