We get soo bogged down with the outside noise of our busy life. When you ask someone how they are doing, you so often hear “I’m really busy” as the reply. It’s TRUE! Work, friends, volunteer work, extended family commitments, housework, yard work parenting AND stepparenitng. We are ALL STRESSED OUT. Some of the world is getting back to old routines and adapting to the changing landscape of the pandemic and now we are EVEN MORE STRESSED OUT!
When our emotional bodies are stressed out our nervous systems are stressed out. We are a swirling pool of chemicals called stress hormones that actually cause wear and tear on our body. And then it flows to our head, our heart and our soul. And when we are in fight, flight and fear, which are natural reactions to stress- we feel like we are in danger.
But how can we fix this predicament? We show love and choose love by focussing on the small stuff that can bring HUGE rewards. Start with the simple stuff. And research (Check out ANYTHING by John and Julie Gottman from the Gottman Institute) shows that the small means so much more than the big, boisterous show and shine. It’s the maintenance that keeps us going over the long haul. It’s our relationships that buffer the stress, make it more manageable or tolerable. When we are stressed we must choose the small things often. What is the small stuff made of you ask? Here are some simple daily guidelines to help inspire you and move you:
Keeping communication open: The stepfamily life is a HAVEN for touchy subjects and hard conversations. Try to approach the situation open hearted, open minded, receptive. In other words if you are feeling triggered, take a deep breath (or how ever many will help you feel more centred), walk away and try again. Even repeating the three phrases above while you breath will help. Trust me- when you feel more centred it will show and you will show up more.
Honouring each other every day: Asking “how can I make your day better?” My hubby and I use this phrase with each other ALMOST every morning. Just the simple act of asking opens you and your partner to possibility and your presence. You are valued and honoured. Sweet and simple but don’t underestimate the potency of that question
Making time for our partners: Seriously, if there is a lesson I learned from Covid, it is this: quality time vs quantity time and quality always wins. When we are stressed, checking out or tuning out is an attractive way to cope. But there is danger in checking out. It is SUPER important to stop tuning out and rather, check in or tune in to your spouse. So show up and BE present- not just physically, but mentally and emotionally too. Tech is now a contributing factor in many modern divorces. If you make time for them you show them you value them and your relationship.
Tiny tweaks really can go a LONG way. Choosing love- or loving gestures, thoughts, and feelings are powerful tweaks that mean so much to your partner and the success of your relationship. Be forever intentional. Do it daily. Building on those simple principles will move you toward your spouse and them toward you. I will close with one of my favorite John Gottman quotes: “When you hurt, the whole world stops and I listen” Good right?!