Individual Therapy Bethesda, MD
Happy new year!
I hope that this third week of 2018 finds you nicely settled into any new routines or resolutions you set out to accomplish in this new chapter.
I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that your email inbox and newsfeeds are chock-full of articles that offer a battery of tips and tricks to help you stick to those resolutions. My hope is that you don’t need them because you’re doing such a great job following your new plan. But if you’re like most people and find yourself uninspired by now, fear not. I come to you with a resolution that will leave you feeling warm and fulfilled rather than sweaty, exhausted, and craving a Snickers bar.
The mission is simple–resolve to reconnect.
Think back for a moment on 2017. When you consider the year as a whole, how happy are you with how you spent your time? Was a large chunk of it dedicated to following the twists and turns of the latest political dramas? Were you often consumed with work and unable to be fully present for quality time with the ones you love? Are there large swaths of time that are unaccounted for because they were whittled away on mindless tasks (e.g., binge-watching Netflix, following celebrity gossip, aimlessly clicking and pointing on the internet)?
Well, 2017 is (thankfully) over, but you can decide right now to set 2018 on a different course. Harness this new year and resolve to make it one about (re)connecting with those you hold most near and dear to your heart. Top contenders might include your spouse/partner, children, extended family, local and long-distance friends, the community, and–perhaps most importantly–yourself.
If you’ve followed my blog posts with any sort of regularity, you’ve surely heard me jabber on about the importance of connection. Social connectedness is one of the most critical determinants of overall mental and physical health and longevity. People who perceive themselves as closely connected to others tend to have lower rates of depression and anxiety, higher self-esteem, and a stronger sense of well-being. Conversely, loneliness has been linked to inverse effects and is actually more detrimental to health than smoking, obesity, or high blood pressure.
So with those facts in mind, let’s work under the assumption that you’ve adopted my resolution suggestion and are now thinking about ways that you can reconnect with the people around you, the community, and yourself. Take a gander at the below for some nifty ideas:
- Spouse/partner: figure out your partner’s love language and actively try to speak it; set a consistent date night schedule; carve out 20 minutes at the end of each day to sit down and talk to each other sans distractions
- Children: plan family game nights; take each child out for a treat for some one-on-one quality time; bake cookies or make homemade hot chocolate together as a family
- Extended family and/or long-distance friends: decide to call and check in regularly (e.g., once/month); make arrangements to fly or drive out to visit–use that time to check out all of the great local restaurants and sights in their area
- Local friends: try to meet up for dinner or happy hour more regularly (once per month is usually reasonable); send a text or make a call when they cross your mind; invite them over for dinner
- Community: volunteer at a local food bank; participate in a city-wide beautification project; spend time with the elderly at a nursing home (Note: no matter where you live, there are countless volunteer activities available. Get connected!)
- Yourself: do what you know makes you happy. That might involve treating yourself to a massage, carving out time to read a book or master a new craft, or taking a brisk walk around the block during the evening. No matter what you decide to do, use the time to reflect and connect with your inner self, if only for a few minutes each day.
Inherent in all of these suggestions–and in the resolution itself–is the necessity of being fully present in your interactions with others. One of the most important tasks in life is just showing up. Show up for others and for yourself and, in doing so, make sure to connect in a meaningful way. 2018 is yours for the taking–make the most of it.
Shy Porter provides couple, family, and individual therapy in our downtown Bethesda, MD office. Call 240-752-7650 ext. 5, or email [email protected] to schedule your first appointment or a complimentary telephone consultation with Shy today!