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Work-Life Balance With Achievement And Enjoyment

Finding work-life balance in today’s fast paced world is not a simple task.  If you are spending more time at work than at home, you could likely miss out on rewarding personal life moments.  Then again, when you face challenges in your personal life, such as caring for a young child or managing marital situations, concentrating on your job can be difficult.  If your job is overwhelming and exposes you to potential stress, then you may begin to feel pulled between the emotional needs of work and the emotional needs of home.  Whether the issue is too much focus on work or too little, when your work life and your personal life feel out of balance, stress – along with it’s harmful effects – is the result.

Work-life balanace does not mean an equal balance.  Trying to schedule an equal number of hours for each of your various work and personal activities is usually unrealistic.  Life is and should be more fluid and flexible than that.  Your best individual work-life balance for you today will probably be different for you tomorrow, as our priorities and goals shift and change.  The right balance for you when you are single will be different when you are married, and/or if you have children; also when you start a new career verses when you are retiring.  There is no perfect, one-size fits all, balance you should be striving for.  The best work-life is different for each of us because we all have different lives.

The first step to help create work-life balance is to recognize those people or activities that you value the most.  At the core of an effective work-life balance definition are two concepts – achievement and enjoyment.  Most of us what to achieve so that we move up the ladder of whatever we are working on.  Most of us also want to have enjoyment of life, which does not just mean happiness but also a sense of well-being and love.   Look at achievement and enjoyment as the front and back of a coin – you cannot have one side without the other.

How To Have Achievement and Enjoyment 

1. Identify Your Life Values – Create a list of what you find most valuable in your life.  This list could be a wide range of valuables from your partner, children, and family, the time you spend alone mediation or taking a yoga class, dinner with friends, to a special project at work that you a working on.

2. Evaluate The Importance Of Your Values – Compare what is on your list.  Some things will have a higher demand than others depending on the time and situation.  Know that this list will likely shift throughout different phases of your life.

3. Schedule In Your Values – Begin to work what you value into your daily or weekly schedule.  If it is scheduled into you calendar, it will likely be achieved with the added bonus of being enjoyed!

Focusing on achievement and enjoyment in every day life will help with balancing and getting the most out of your experiences.

 

 

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Top Ways to Make a Relationship Work

When you’re in a long-term relationship, there are going to be fights and issues you both have to face. Before you call it off, consider some of these tips for making a relationship work – even when things seem like they don’t.

Put Yourself in the Running
Too many individuals lose their individuality when they enter into long-term relationships. They put their partner first and stop working on themselves. This can lead to disastrous results – especially if you sit stagnant for too long. Instead of ignoring yourself, improve yourself. Consider taking up cooking lessons, reading or just learning a new language to keep yourself on the path for improvement.

Enjoy Quickies
Too many couples assume that spontaneous, quick love making sessions are for when you’re young and first dating. A fast sex session might not have the same bang or romance as a long one, but it helps trigger the chemicals in the brain that give you that “love” feeling. The more you engage these chemicals, the happier and more romantic you’ll be overall.

Never Go to Bed Angry
You have most likely heard this one before and it’s true. Couples should never go to bed angry with one another. Going to bed angry can make you not only have a bad night, but a bad day – only making that fight or problem linger on longer than it needs to.

Relax
If you never have time to relax, you’ll notice your relationship is strained. Couples that relax after work or unwind after a long day have less bickering and pointless fights than couples who don’t take a little time to calm down at the end of the day. Consider setting a “wind down” time each day where you both can relax with one another.

Split Up the Chores
More married women get stuck with the chores around the house than married men. This adds a lot of strain on the relationship when you’re constantly taking on additional chores and your partner isn’t. Considering splitting up the work to make things around the house more even. If your partner doesn’t like it, then cut back on the spending and hire a third party to do the cleaning for you.

Prenuptial Agreements are Back
You may be insulted if someone asks you to sign a prenuptial agreement, but studies show that this relieves a lot of tension in the marriage. When couples know that their partner isn’t with them for any assets or settlements, it ensures everyone is happy emotionally and secure financially.

Get Help
If you notice you and your partner are fighting a lot, consider couples therapy. It isn’t taboo to get a non-bias third party in the mix to help you both sort out your issues. A counselor can help identify any underlying problems that both of you are ignoring and help you get past them s that you can move on to a healthier, happier relationship.

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Are Your Friends Toxic for Your Relationship?

We all have them – drama queens, exploiters and pessimist pals. Some are friends you have had since you were a child, others are those you have just encountered but can’t seem to break free from. While some of your friends are beneficial to your life and your relationship, others can be toxic. You know those friends, the ones who are anti-relationships, negative and basically do what they can to make you feel as though being in a relationship is the wrong choice. Naturally you want your friends to approve of your significant other, but if they get in the way of your ability to establish a long-term, healthy relationship, you may want to consider detoxing from these harmful friends.

Valuable Friends versus Toxic Friends

When you’re looking for the answer to what makes relationships work, you may have noticed that happy couples still have their own non-relationship friends – meaning friends that weren’t acquired as part of the relationship. You and your significant other should maintain your old connections and even make new ones. This helps boost your personal identity and is healthy. But, there is a big difference between a valuable friendship and a toxic one. So how do you decide?

  • Do you look forward to seeing your friend?
  • Do you hit the “ignore” button every time they call or jump to answer?
  • Is your friend happy to see you?
  • Every time you get together, does your friend only seem interested in you when they need something from you?
  • Is your friend there for you as much as you are there for him or her?

The bottom line, if you don’t look forward to meeting with your friend or it seems your friend is only interested in you when they need something, it’s likely you have a toxic relationship. Toxic relationships don’t just hinder your own personal life, they can also impact your relationship.

Toxic Friends and Relationships

A toxic friend to a relationship is one that is negative about your relationship or even just relationships in general. This friend doesn’t respect your relationship or the boundaries that come with it. For example, you go out for a night on the town only to find your friend encouraging you to meet up with other men or betray your relationship in some way. If you confide in your friend about any negative issues in your relationship, your toxic friend may automatically dismiss the relationship or consider it a failure. While there are times a friend’s relationship advice is needed and perhaps can shine light on aspects of the relationship that are toxic to you, there are also friends that purposely poison your relationship out of jealousy or simply because they don’t believe in relationships.

You and your partner should re-evaluate your friends at least once a year. Consider a detox of the friends that don’t contribute or even those that are detrimental to your relationship. Of course, make time for those friends that do bring value to your personal and relationship life.

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Facebook Rules for a Happy Marriage

Almost everyone in the world uses Facebook. It can be a fun way to pass the time while also staying in touch with your family and friends. It can also be incredibly destructive to a marriage. Many modern marriages have seriously suffered because of Facebook-obsessed spouses or online social media affairs. That is why it is essential that you play by the Facebook rules for a happy marriage.

Here are five Facebook rules for a happy marriage:

1.     Set Your Status to Married

Many single people (and married people who wish to be single) will scope out potential mates on Facebook, and they assume anyone without a marital status must be fair game. You can avoid any potential misconceptions by clearly stating that you are married on your profile page. It is also a good idea to use a picture of you and your spouse as your profile pic.

2.     Allow Your Spouse Access to Your Account

If you are in a healthy and happy marriage, there should be no reason for your spouse to check your account, however, you should still make the option available to them. Giving them your password will give your spouse reassurance that you are not hiding anything. There shouldn’t be any secrets from your spouse in the first place, so there is no legitimate reason to deny them access.

3.      Limit Time Spent on Facebook Games

Online games are designed to be highly addictive, and it is easy to waste hours every day playing around on Facebook. Talk to your spouse about how much time is acceptable and then agree on a limit that works for both of you. It is also important to the health of your marriage that you don’t turn down spending time with your spouse to play Facebook games. Try to find games where you can interact with each other like “Words with Friends.”

4.     Post Only Positive Statuses About Your Spouse

Facebook is a public forum, which means it is not a place to vent about what your husband or wife did wrong. If someone is interested in you sexually and they see that you often complain about your husband, it may look like an open invitation. If you regularly post statuses about your daily life, make sure to only choose moments that reflect positively on your relationship.

5.     Reject Flirting Immediately

It doesn’t take much for an innocent conversation to turn sexual. Happily married couples should instantly reject any private or public conversation if it appears that the person has ulterior motives. Don’t be afraid to unfriend anyone whose flirting makes you feel uncomfortable. You might temporarily hurt their feelings, but you will hurt your spouse a lot more if they discover you were participating in the flirtation.

Facebook has billions of users, and the majority of people log on daily to check the newsfeed, play games, and chat with friends. It is an exciting social platform and there is no real reason for happy couples to avoid Facebook, as long as you and your spouse agree to play by the rules.

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Mindful Self-Compassion

Relationships are one of our most important sources of well-being.  When we are down or distressed, we turn to others (partners, friends, parents, children) for comfort and guidance. Our intimate relationships, along with the relationship that we have with ourselves, can bring us great joy and, at times, also disappointment.  The way to navigate dealing with both circumstances is to have compassion.  Not only compassion for others and the situation, but compassion for yourself.

Self-compassion is when you are aware and honest, with a willingness to be non-judgemental, towards yourself.  No one in the world knows your feelings as well as you do. Because of this, you are the one most qualified person to bring compassion to yourself, which includes care, sensitivity, warmth, awareness, and kindness.  Having compassion for yourself will help you to bring compassion to others and your relationships with acceptance, unconditional love, and understanding.

Bringing Mindful Self-Compassion Into Your Life 

1. Remind yourself to slow down.  Take notice of when you become irritable or angry, especially towards yourself.  Meeting yourself where you are, rather where you think you should be, will help to you to accept the situation, calm yourself, and slow down.

2. Ask yourself how can you be happy right now.  Enjoy what you want for the fact that you like it or the activity of it.  This will help bring more awareness about yourself and what makes you happy.

3. When you make a mistake, it becomes a great opportunity to express compassion.  Remember that we are all human and we probably will hurt someone or ourselves – it is part of the human experience.  Taking responsibility for the mistake is a great example of using compassion towards yourself along with situation or person that was hurt.

4.  Learn to generate a kind voice in your own head.  Think of something that you do not like about yourself – as if you have a critic.  What is the critic saying and what emotions are rising as you hear them?   Invite and acknowledge all of these feelings and emotions, whatever they are – anger, sadness, fear, resentment, envy.  Try not to judge any of it as they are simply just thoughts and feelings moving through you. It is neither bad nor good, just awareness.  The compassionate self must be built – this is a great awareness exercise for building it up.

As you practice self-compassion, you will likely discover the awareness of being present.  You will feel more freedom to show up as you are and a greater sense of well-being, for yourself and your relationships.  Another wonderful outcome of practicing self-compassion is once you’ve experienced it for yourself, you will have it to share with others and it will flow automatically and effortlessly.

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Cultivating Positive Emotions

By now, most of us have heard about surrounding ourselves with as much positive as possible verses negative – but what does that mean when it comes to our relationships?  First we have to look at the quality of our thoughts in general.  Do you tend to think “I can’t do that” or “I can do that”?  Becoming knowledgable on which side you lean towards is the most important step as it creates the awareness of where you presently stand.

The next thing to look at is our emotions.  Are your emotions mostly happy, angry, or a combination of both?  If we look at a wide range of positive emotions—from awe to amusement to interest to inspiration to gratitude—what they all have in common is that they are responses to your current state or experience at that time.  They are usually not a permanent state, only feelings that fluctuate.  This is true for all emotions, however the positive emotions tend to be more temporary, as we do live in a very busy, sometimes overwhelming, world.  Often, we are not aware of the positive emotions due to our tendency to see the negative ones.

Positive emotions are also desired states.  Not only do they feel good, but we desire to feel them, as often as possible.  Some people might say it feels good to be angry, and at times anger can be useful or productive, but generally, people do not desire to feel angry.  Positive emotions can make us healthier and happier if we take time to cultivate them.

When people increase their daily doses of positive emotions, they find more meaning and purpose in life.  They also find that they receive more social support—or perhaps they just notice it more, because they are more attuned to themselves and others.  They begin to show mindful awareness of the present moment and increased positive relations with each other, especially true within your relationship.

SIMPLE STEPS TO CULTIVATING POSITIVE EMOTIONS 

A positive emotional relationship begins with believing in yourself and also in your relationship.  Know that you are both good people who are deserving of each other’s love and kindness.  If this is something you have doubts about, it would be helpful to think about what your needs and wants are along with your partner’s and reaffirm your connection with one another.  If the two of you believe in one another and both of you want a positive lifestyle, you may need to learn how to make the commitment to do your best to maintain a positive demeanor and start with small baby steps.  Being aware of what brings you gratitude, joy and happiness and to notice on a daily basis what actually makes you feel good is the first step of being mindful of positive emotions.

An example would be if you come home from work, exhausted, and take notice that your partner has neglected to do the dishes that have been sitting in the sink all day.  Your partner hands you a cup of tea and suggests you relax.  You have a choice in the moment to either react and get angry at the neglected dishes or take a breath and realize the positive verses the negative.

What is required is the willingness to make a change for the better, being aware of your patterns that are not working, adjusting your thoughts and attitudes toward life and each other.  This process is one that takes time and it will likely take more than a moment for you to see and feel the results.  Much like compassion, positivity is an ongoing process.  As part of that process, you will need to accept that sometimes we experience positive and negative emotions, which is part of life.  We want to be able to understand and accept our negative emotions while not getting caught up in them.  Being aware of the pattern in your relationship gives you the opportunity that your negative thoughts and emotions sometimes serve a purpose on what we can learn from them and what we would like to change to live a happier and healthier life.

Cultivating positive emotions and allowing that feeling to flow through your relationship is a great way to go through life with the one you love.

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Taking Care Of Yourself First

Taking care of ourselves before others often sounds selfish, as if we are not as vested in our relationships, rather only in ourselves. However, taking care of yourself first is a crucial step in actually being more vested in your relationships.  When we tend to our own needs, we are able to be more focused on helping others and tending to what they need help with.  Just like the airplane safety videos, demonstrating that applying your own oxygen mask before helping your child or neighbor is important, life is much like this.  If you cannot breathe properly, there is no way that you will be able to successfully help someone else breathe.  If we do not take care of ourselves first, we are likely to be little help to others or our relationships.

We have so many things to tend to daily – from our demanding work schedules, our partner’s schedule and needs, and our children’s school and activities – it’s a miracle we get anything done!  Tending to yourself first benefits all of your relationships and your daily tasks.  Taking good care of yourself provides the foundation upon which everything else builds.

Taking care of our needs prior to others relates to self-compassion.  Self-compassion is when you are aware and honest, with a willingness to be non-judgemental, towards yourself. Tending to your own needs first is a great way to practice self-compassion.  Just like having compassion for yourself helps you to bring compassion to others and your relationships, taking care of yourself prior to others also helps bring care and attentiveness to your partner, children and other relationships.

Self-care is about replenishing ourselves so that we can have enough energy, creativity, love, and joy to spread to others.  By taking care of ourselves first, it allows for us to be the best we can be for our partners, children, friends, co-workers, and community.

Ways To Take Care Of Yourself

Nourishment – Your body works best when it is strong.  When life presents challenges, keeping yourself in physical and emotional well-being is of utmost importance.  This means eating plenty of fresh whole foods, staying hydrated, being physically active, and getting adequate rest.

Relaxation – Often times we view spa visits as a luxury and not necessary.  However, carving out the time to treat yourself to a dedicated method of relaxation – whether it is a massage, facial or even a quick visit to a sauna or a swim – is a great way to take care of yourself and replenish your energy so that you can carry on with your tasks and helping your loved ones.

Meditation –  An effective way to nourish your well-being, meditation helps to reduce the stress in your life and gives you the ability to handle the day with a calm, refreshed attitude. While increasing your energy levels, meditation essentially helps you to connect with your authentic self.  Meditation is simple minded practice, meaning you do not have to do much to participate in it, yet the benefits can affect your entire life in amazing ways, including making it easier for you to be there for others.

After taking time to explore the ways that work best for you to tend to yourself first, you will likely see that you are able to tend to your partner and children’s needs more effectively.

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Why Equality in a Relationship is Essential

Equality in a relationship or marriage is not always easy, but it is definitely essential. The traditional balance in the home is shifting as more women are seeking professional careers outside of the home. Fortunately, most modern men are willing to pick up the slack around the house. They are glad to help and they are capable of handling a larger portion of the family responsibilities than their own father would have been able to do. This shift in household duties is a big step towards equality, but it has created some unique challenges for newly married couples.

Women are Their Own Worst Enemies

When couples first move in together, most women will willingly take on the majority of the shared duties and they will care for their man without any complaint. They never ask for help and are grateful for anything their husband chooses to do on their own. They will do everything necessary for the first few years and then suddenly crash. Eventually the stress of managing a full-time job, plus having to get all the groceries, cook all the meals, wash every dish, do the laundry, dust, and vacuum will become too much to handle and things will start to go wrong.

She will immediately blame her partner even though she never asked him for help in the first place and he’ll have no idea why he has upset his wife so much. He’ll also be so unfamiliar with the routine and cleaning schedule that it will only further infuriate her when he tries to help out and he doesn’t do it properly. This is a common recipe for disaster that affects many new marriages.

How to Establish Equality Early On

It is important to discuss and divide household chores as soon as you move in together, whether you are married or not. If the woman in the relationship handles all of the cooking and cleaning in the beginning, it is harder to get a man to participate in those chores in the future. Each person in the relationship should make a list of things they don’t mind doing and then compare. You may need to compromise on some things, just make sure to divide them as evenly as possible.

How to Create Financial Equality

Couples that establish equality with household chores should also fairly divide the shared expenses. Make sure to divide the bills based on each person’s income, so neither is paying more than they can really afford.

How to Maintain Equality after Children

Daily duties drastically increase after you have children, so it’s important to once again establish responsibilities. Instead of dividing up the tasks, try sharing them since most responsibilities regarding parenting are also bonding opportunities. Use the tag-team approach and take turns getting up during the night, feeding the baby, and changing diapers.

Equality is essential for your future happiness and it is important to establish it early on. Talk to your partner as soon as you move in together and set up rules for managing the shared responsibilities and expenses. Communication and honesty in the beginning will help ensure that you have a long and happy marriage.

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Tips for Managing Stress

In today’s ever so busy world, it is likely that we often find ourselves a bit stressed out.  Most of us are constantly juggling – partner, children, job, and so on.  Stress is the non-specific response made by the body to any order placed upon it. We experience stress as a predicable pattern of response the body makes to demands, opportunities, and/or changes.  Some of these factors may be positive or negative – however, the body does not differentiate between the two.  Stress is a natural response, affecting us physically, emotionally, and mentally.

There are external sources of stress as well as internal sources.  External sources include: physical environment (noise, pollution, harsh lighting), social interaction (dealing with other people’s moods, rudeness, bossiness), work related (overworked, tight deadlines), major life events (death, marriage, divorce, birth of a child, job loss, moving), and the everyday stresses (keeping on schedule, managing your family, traffic, misplaced keys/phone/wallet).  Internal sources include: lifestyle choices (lack of sleep, caffeine, over-commited schedule), negative thinking (self-criticism, overanalyzing), and personality traits (type A behavior, workaholism).

The ABC’s of Stress Reduction 

A – Awareness 
To identify the stressors and the events that trigger a stress reaction, as yourself these two questions – “what causes you stress?” and “how do you react?”

B – Balance 
There is a very fine line between stress and no stress.  How much can you cope before stress becomes too overwhelming?  What is your tipping point?  Can an intervention be made before the stress becomes unmanageable?  Answer these questions to see where you stand and see where you can become better balanced.

C – Control 
What can you do to help yourself combat the negative effects of stress?  Choose methods and techniques (below) that reduce the impact of the stressful event.

Active Relaxation Techniques

Progressive Relaxation
– Lie on your back and close your eyes.
– Really feel your body, sense the weight of your body, from your feet all the way up to the top of your head.
– Begin to consciously relax each part of your body while paying attention to your breathing.
– As you begin to relax, feel the energy of the stress sink into the ground below you.
– As you being to sink into the ground, feel the tension begin to slide off of you.
– Mentally scan your body to see if there is any place that is still tense, then consciously relax that place and let it sink into the ground.

Toe Tensing 
This activity will help draw out tension from the rest of your body.
– Lie on your back, close your eyes.
– Sense your toes.
– Now pull all of your toes back toward your face.
– Count to ten slowly.
– Now relax your toes.
– Count to ten slowly.
– Repeat the above cycle ten times.

Deep Breathing 
By concentrating on our breathing, deep breathing allows the rest of our body to relax itself.  It is a great way to relax the body and get everything into synchrony.  Relaxation breathing is an important part of yoga and martial arts for this particular reason.
– Lie on your back.
– Slowly being to relax your body. Refer back to the progressive relaxation technique mentioned above.
– Being to inhale slowly through your nose if possible.  Fill the lower part of your chest first, then the middle, and then the top part of your chest and lungs.  Be sure to do this slowly – over 8-10 seconds.
– Hold your breath for a few seconds.
– Quietly and easily relax while letting the air out.
– Wait a few seconds and repeat this cycle.
– If you find yourself getting dizzy, then slow down!
– You can also imagine yourself in a peaceful situation such as on a warm, gentle ocean (or another “happy place” that you would like to go to).  Imagine that you rise on the gentle sweeps of the water as you inhale and sink down into the waves as you exhale.
– Continue this breathing technique for as long as you like until you fall asleep.

When you find yourself stressed to the max, remembering to practice these active relaxation techniques will help to un-stress you and get your life back into a place of balance.

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Handling Resentment

Sometimes even the best marriage is not always 100% perfect. There are times where both parties will feel a little resentment, and while this will not cause a divorce, it is all about how the couple handles these issues that makes the difference. When people ignore these emotions and just sweep them under the rug, more toxic feelings can fester, which leads to resentment. For men, it is easier to sweep an issue under the rug than attack it, so understand what makes your husband aggravated and how to handle it may actually improve your marriage.

How Your Handle Your Fights – Happy couples have fights, too. A happy couple, however, knows how to fight better. Rather than blaming their partner, they discuss their feelings and what they are aggravated about. When you need to bring up a conversation, try not to start it off on a negative note or with the blame-game; instead, let your partner know how you feel and what you suggest to overcome it.

How You Treat Your Spouse – You might think your husband is a slob or cannot dress himself, but if you start doing it for him, he will resent you. Treating your husband like a child or talking down to him can create significant resentment issues. After all, no one wants to feel like they are not in charge of their own life.

Having Others Involved – Men rarely enlist the help from others to solve their marital problems. Women, however, will discuss it with friends and family. These individuals will get involved, which only makes matters worse. Rather than allow others in, create a couple’s bubble and keep your marital issues between the two of you.

Basic Appreciation – Your husband does things and does not expect appreciation for it, but there are times offering up praise is important. If you only recognize the things he does wrong and you do not offer praise for the things he does right, he may start to resent you for it. Consider noting when he does things right and giving him the attention he deserves for it.

Withholding Sex – How many times have you gotten upset with your partner only to withhold sex? While you might think you are justified, holding sex back as a way to punish your partner does long-term damage to your relationship. This can create feelings of resentment that your partner will harbor for months – if not years. Next time you are upset, tell him, rather than withholding sex.

Trying To Change The Other Person – People can change, but only when they want to change. There may be something you don not like about your partner, but you should not work to change that thing. If you focus on all of the things you do not like about your partner and try to change them constantly, they will not feel like their own person. Instead, accept your partner for the way they are, let them do their quirky things and work on changing what is really important – let the little things go.

While these things may seem trivial, the more you do them, the more they add up. Try to avoid negative feelings in your relationship by discussing your issues with one another. Keep in mind that happy couples still fight and it is perfectly healthy. But the way you handle the fights and what you fight about can determine the overall success of your relationship.

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