7 Ways to Get More Done In Your Day

7 Ways to Get More DoneThe end of one year and the beginning of another and it is likely that you are feeling ‘frazzled’. The 21st century lifestyle is a juggling act for most of us. Balancing our couple relationship, family, work, community groups and also have time for yourself is a tall order. However the  Christmas/New Year break lends itself to an opportunity for you to review how you spend your time and consider some simple ideas that can reduce your stress and increase your productivity. Sounds good doesn’t it! So here are:

7 Ways to Get More Done in Your Day

1. Look After Yourself First
All those things you know you should do for yourself but somehow neglect because other things get in the way: personal exercise, healthy eating, hanging out with positive people and feeding your mind with material that builds you up.
When you take the time to care for yourself, you will actually feel better about yourself, more energized and motivated which all equals increased productivity.

2. Clean out the Clutter
I have noticed that where an individual complains of feeling a lack of control, their environment generally reflects the same. Typically by years end, your office and/or home environment has accumulated paperwork, books, old equipment and other unnecessary items. Now is the time to do a de-clutter and prepare the space for the year ahead. I promise you that it will save time, energy and money – you will recover what has gone missing, be able to find things in the future and feel less stress.

3. Use The Right Tools
How long have you been putting up with an office chair with poor back support? (That one is a message for me!) Is your lighting adequate? Does all your office/household equipment work properly? How often have you heard someone ‘blow their stack’ because of that office printer that never works! It’s time to do a stocktake and invest in the right equipment for your physical and mental health sake!

4. Use a Diary or Digital Organiser
Recording appointments, things to do and goals is absolutely necessary to feel in control of your busy life. Use a diary or digital organiser that you can carry with you. This is the most effective way to get things done, plan your work and your life.

5. Learn to say “No”
Do you have trouble saying “no”? You are not alone. Howeveryou pay a heavy cost when you say “yes” to those additional requests that well-meaning friends/colleagues ask of you. So make it a personal goal to be more self-assertive and say “no”. If this feels uncomfortable, try responding with “Let me think about itand I’ll get back to you”. This gives you the opportunity to decide whether it is something you truly want to do as opposed to doing it to please someone.

6. Do What You Do The Best and Delegate the Rest
This is something I am working on for the New Year. What do you spend time doing that is not your forte or you really cannot afford to spend your precious time on? If you are in a financial position to do it, consider investing in a gardener, that house cleaner you have been talking about or that administration assistant. It’s worth investing a few extra dollars if you have more free time to do what you want to.

7. Avoid Unnecessary Meetings
Before agreeing to attend a meeting, check if you need to be there. Maybe a phone call or email will be just as effective.

By following these simple yet very effective ideas you will have more control over your work and your life, experience less stress and be more productive. All of these factors affect your general well-being and confidence.

If you are experiencing stress and would like further support to gain control of your life, experience growth, wellness and reach your potential you can contact Colleen on 0434337245 or go to her online diary at www.watersedgecounselling.com

 

6 Tips For Transitioning Into Marriage

6 Tips for transtioning Into Marriage

Introducing Guest Blogger, Anna Kosmanovski

Anna is a gifted and passionate writer and a delightful young woman. As a newly-wed, Anna is eminently qualified to write on the subject of transitioning into  married life. If you would like to read more of her work you will find it at http://www.annakosmanovski.com

 

Having just recently got married, my husband and I joke that we are “marriage babies”, happily waddling around together in our diapers. We have our own experience on how to do married life but considering we’ve just celebrated the three month mark, I feel understandably inadequate to write on that.

 

What I can give my thoughts on, however, is the transition process from being single to being engaged, and then from being engaged to being married.

 

1. Get pre-marriage counselling

We did a five week course with two other couples. This included a dazzling array of desserts and complete privacy as a couple for the group conversation time. We went over common issues like household chores – who does what – as well as gave us insight into important issues we hadn’t even thought of yet!
For us, this represented a conversation, or series of ongoing conversations, on how we were planning, and wanting, to do life together after the wedding.

Looking back, this counselling was so important to our relationship.

It helped us both recognise how we naturally respond to situations and what our personality types were. Personally, I realised that I tended to naturally bottle some things up and needed to work on my confrontational skills. I also realised my husband-to-be was unable to read my mind. Even just recognizing these things is helpful and gives you consideration as you go into marriage, as well as areas to “work on.”

 

2. Talk about expectations

We naturally talked about our hopes and dreams but it was very useful to also directly discuss what each other’s individual expectations were for our marriage and then our collective vision for this. Doing so brought about compromise … which they say marriage is all about. So doing this exercise – and working out what’s non-negotiable and what needs to be compromised – you can meet in the middle.

Talking about this can involve expectations big and small, with no topic big or small.

For instance, would one spouse expect the other spouse to do most of the cleaning? Do you both expect to share the cooking and cleaning? What kind of expectations do you have in parenting? Even talking about how you would both like to do the holiday season with children – if you are planning on having them – is a valuable expectation to discuss.

For us, even talking about how we envisioned Christmas to look in our household was a point of differing expectations with one issue. I am so glad we found this out before we were married – and worked out a compromise – otherwise one of us may have been surprised!

Relating to having children down the track, does one spouse expect the other spouse to be a stay-at-home parent, get back to work after six months or do whatever felt right to them? These are good questions to ponder for your future together, even if the future seems very distant!

 

3. Make a plan for finances

As well as the pre-marriage counseling, we also did a three week budgeting course. We were not yet engaged at this stage but both knew that it would be a good thing individually and as a couple.

We spent late nights working on Excel spreadsheets and figuring out the structure of our finances, as well as discussing our thoughts on giving and saving. The reward for that comes into play after you are married. It saves you from having arguments when both parties naturally want to structure finances the way they’ve always done it when that may not simply work now life has changed from one to two.

So much tension in a relationship can revolve around money: how to use it, how you save it, etc. Some couples like to pay themselves a “pocket money” into their personal account and have a main joint transaction and savings account. Others like to have just the joint account. Some spouses need tight organisation in this area to feel at ease while others are just happy to go with the flow. Whatever your thoughts are on money and marriage, make sure you are both at peace with this.

 

4. Do your homework – learn from other people

We all need people to look up to and learn from; people to inspire us. In getting married, it’s no different. We need to learn from those who have strong relationships. These couples could be in their mid twenties or late sixties.

We gratefully accepted dinner dates, afternoon teas and the opportunity to meet with other couples we respected. We found these couples happy to speak into our lives and give advice and experiences and answer questions. We observed how these couples communicated, noticed how they valued their spouse in public and heard wisdom and tips on marriage. Simply speaking, we were lucky enough to see how other people, “did life together” and learnt from them.

In this way, we saw practically what we aspired to, which helped build our own unique relationship, as well as vision for it. This was a privilege to see healthy marriages and be inspired for our own relationship.

 

5.  Put up boundaries to protect your relationship

This is a really important one and will look different for every couple. It’s an exercise in both protection and safeguarding your relationship. What was good, helpful and supportive from family and friends when you were single may have the opposite effect when you are married.
For us, we put our faith in God first, then each other, then family. By identifying our priorities, we cut through some ambiguities which could have potentially lead to boundaries being crossed.

So much heartache comes from unhealthy relationships and lack of respect about boundary issues. The television show, Everyone Loves Raymond, paints a hilarious picture of this. When we were dating, my husband joked that he watched that show with the intention of learning “not to do” in our marriage.

We all need to be in community with our family and friends, but in a healthy way. Particularly in your first year of marriage, you need lots of space to well, just be with each other and be able to make mistakes and learn together how life is best for you both. Plus, it takes time to simply get used to being married and even living together for those who did not live together before being married.

Use the transition period to find out your boundary issues. Your spouses, too. Counselling will help with this. Consider if there are any minor – or major – relationship adjustments which need to happen.

If you can help it, this is not the time to move in with your inlaws or even live in a share house with other people. You are forming your own household, physically speaking, and need the freedom to do this just you too. Emotionally speaking, some – or perhaps more – relationships with friends and family need to change. The relationship is still there, it just needs to be tinkered slightly.

 

6. Learn – and celebrate – your differences

The thing is, opposites attract. You can’t tell when you’re dating and engaged because it’s so exciting but there’s a good chance your partner is opposite to you in a lot of ways!

You might be surprised to learn that your spouse is naturally introverted. Or perhaps you’re an introvert who has been pretending to be an extrovert during the dating/engagement period. You get married, life settles down to normalcy and your secret is revealed: you don’t want to have dinner parties every weekend! Or, maybe it’s the opposite!
Whatever your natural tendencies, it’s helpful to be aware of this and share it with your spouse or spouse to be!

This will give you both more understanding about each other, not to mention yourselves. Are you energized by people or energized by the solace of reading a book by yourself? By finding out how you are naturally wired, you can save time and tension in your marriage. Again, the compromise word comes into play! I’ll add another one too: respect. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to lean towards. Extrovert spouses can learn from more introvert partners and introverts are challenged by their more outgoing partners. Celebrate your differences and respect how the other person is naturally made, although don’t put them in a box either. People change and grow all the time: expect that will happen too!

 

7. It’s not about the wedding, it’s about what comes after

Some people thinks weddings are spelt “stress” not “wedding”, and with good reason too. Anyone who has been closely involved – parent, bridesmaid, groom, bride, sister, etc. – in a wedding knows exactly how stressful weddings CAN be. Table setting planning, costs involved, not being able to invite everyone you would like, civil wars within extended families: the list goes on!
Sadly, some couples have even separated during the engagement process because of the sheer stress of wedding planning, interference from others and other wedding related issues alone.

Two new families, two sets of values, a whole lot of differing expectations coming together and all of a sudden you have a wedding which is bigger than Ben Hur and nowhere near as noble.

In the busyness of this time, it’s a good idea for you and your spouse to take a step back and ask yourselves – are you even happy with how things are going ahead?

We needed to do this. Somewhere down the track, I realised that we had fallen into the trap of planning a wedding to please other people, the expense being ourselves (and our bank accounts.)

Tip: if you find yourselves constantly “joking” about how much easier it would be if you just eloped, you need to revisit your wedding planning with a very good tip which my husband’s aunty gave me.

It’s quite catchy, really: your day, your way!

If you need assistance to to navigate your present transition experience or need support as you experience your own transition contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 or go to www.watersedgecounselling.com to book an appointment.

 

 

How To Build a Happier Relationship

How To Build A Happier RelationshipWhen was the last time you told your partner that you appreciate them?

It is a pertinent question for anyone in a couple relationship because one of the most frequent complaints I hear from couples coming for counselling is, ‘He doesn’t appreciate all I do for him’ or ‘She doesn’t appreciate all I do for us’.

If you do so and on a regular basis, your relationship is likely to be in good health. If you cannot remember let me ask you another question: when did you start forgetting to tell your partner how grateful you all for all the 101 things and more that they do on a daily basis? You see, it is easy to notice the big things, the things that call attention to, but it is in the small every day acts that a relationship is nurtured and grown, or congruently, is slowly eroded and destroyed. Which direction is your relationship heading?

We all have a need to feel valued and appreciated in our relationships. When you receive a compliment, a ‘heart felt’ thanks or a warm embrace it makes you feel good about yourself. When your partner notices the things you do and expresses gratitude you feel happier and more content. In fact, research conducted by Benjamin Karney, co-director of the Relationship Institute at the University of California, has shown that couples who focus on the positive aspects of their relationship are the ones who are happiest in their relationship(1).

The 3 Things Exercise (2)

Sitting with a couple recently, I invited them to tell each other three things that they had noticed their partner do in the past week that they appreciated. That they were ‘out of practice’ was obvious by the lengthy silence until he mused that his partner had cooked dinner but that was her role in the household and therefore did not need to be acknowledged. At once, she let out an irritated sigh and her resentment was apparent. You see, he missed the point that it is in these very mundane and daily tasks that we each need to know we are appreciated and not taken for granted. In that moment he had the opportunity to create a closer connection however his failure to understand her need to be appreciated in the small insignificant things, reinforced the distance between them.

Research also tells us that being grateful can improve our own health and wellbeing. When you make a habit of noticing and expressing gratitude for the things your partner does, your relationship will improve. Gratitude and appreciation will always invite a closer connection.

Why not start practicing telling your partner what it is you are grateful for right now? To get you started, write down 3 things that you appreciate about them and then find a time when you are both able to sit down, have a cuppa together and talk. Perhaps you could make it your intention as a couple, to do this exercise every day or on a regular basis. I would love to hear how you progress on the comments below.

 

  1. J.K.McNulty & B.RKarney  2001 Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, vol 27, no 8
  2. J.Aitken & A.Leigh Making Couples Happy 2013

 

If you are experiencing difficulties in your couple relationship and need direction and support to repair your relationship and reach toward your full relational potential then here’s what you need to do contact me on 0434 337 245  for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how I can best help you or press book now to book on my online diary.

3 Reasons You Might be Smothering Your Partner

couple Relationships and Gender Roles“Leave me alone. You’re smothering me!”

Have you ever wondered just how your desire to be close to your partner could possibly be interpreted as smothering? Most relationships operate with one person desiring closeness and the other, distance. In the early stages of a relationship, a couple (or at least one person) will accommodate for this, willingly tolerating the difference due to the ‘heady’ dose of the pleasure chemical dopamine that is being produced in mega amounts in the brain. However, as ‘being together’, becomes less of a novelty and more your daily experience, less dopamine is produced in the brain and the things you once were able to tolerate, you find you are no longer able to do so. In practice, this means that a couple begin to function less in a symbiotic (being as one) fashion and more as two people who identify as a couple but are also able to function as individuals with their own identities. It can be quite tricky for a couple to navigate this particular transition in a relationship. If you desire closeness, then you will feel that your partner is pushing you away, distancing themselves, becoming more private and less open. You may even feel rejected. How do you manage that feeling?

1. I become scared

Feeling ‘pushed away’ by your partner may feel scary. If you are being accused of ‘smothering’ your partner, it is probable that your anxiety has been aroused by the feeling of distance. This is a normal reaction that happens because we are biologically wired with an ‘inbuilt’ alarm system that lets us know when our personal safety and/or security, is under threat. Having your partner close alleviates the anxiety you experience because their presence soothes and calms a place within you. For your partner, your need for closeness is matched and balanced by their need for distance. Having you too close will activate their internal alarm, warning them that their safety and security is under threat. Your lesson then is to understand and accept that your partner’s distancing behaviour is less likely to be a rejection of you, but more likely a biological need that allows your partner to feel relaxed and safe.

2. I become distrustful

Before jumping to the conclusion that your partner is not being honest about their behaviour with you, check out what your distrust is about for you personally. If you are feeling scared, anxiety can become highly persuasive, suggesting any number of scenarios that invite you to collude with. The best ‘medication’ for this type of anxiety is to ensure that you remain calm and grounded: exercise, meditation, creative pursuits are all examples are pursuits that have that affect. I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to pay attention to self-care strategies like these, as they will serve to give you clarity of mind and an inner peace. Learning to self-care and calm self has the additional advantage of increasing your own sense of security and self-effigy, so that you feel less needy and reliant upon your partner. There are times when distrust is warranted: your partner is behaving differently, secretively or deliberately avoiding you. Your partner may have a history that suggests the possibility of repeat behaviour. If this is the case, take steps sooner rather than later, in order to give your relationship the best chance of repairing.

3. I become nervous

Sometimes ‘suffocating’ behaviour is about the anxiety that my partner will not cope or will be unable to carry out certain tasks without my supervision. If you identify with that, I encourage you to reflect upon what you think will happen if your partner does not have your supervision. Will they do the task as well as you? Will they be able to do the task at all? If you are nervous about your partner’s ability to do certain tasks, deal with your own anxiety without making them responsible for it. Giving your partner respect by listening to their desire for space and allowing them to operate independent of you is necessary for their independence and self-confidence. You will also develop a healthier couple relationship.

 

Can you add your own answer to these 3 Reasons You Might be Smothering Your Partner? I would appreciate hearing your response in the comment section of this blog. Irrespective of the reason you are smothering your partner, I strongly urge you to talk to them about what you feel. This can be a challenging conversation to have if your couple communication style has not been developed sufficiently. Seeking professional help in the guise of a Professional Counsellor may be necessary for support at transitional times, giving support, understanding and learning how to communicate in ways more effective. Often couples ‘put off’ counselling in the belief that they can work out the issues alone or that going to a Counsellor is an admission of failure. The truth is that the chance of your relationship failing or at best only reaching a fraction of its’ best potential increases the longer you put Couple Counselling off. Think about it!

If you want to know how to improve your couple relationship and help it to reach its’ full potential, contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 for a free 10 minute consultation or go to www.watersedgecounselling.com and BOOK ONLINE NOW for an appointment.

Geelong Counselling: How To Support Your Child’s Recovery From Addiction and Stay Sane At The Same Time

YoSee_the_sun_by_captivatedimagesu feel helpless, desperate and exhausted from lack of sleep and your constant ‘vigilante’ activity. You constantly question ‘what did I do to deserve this’ and, weighed down with the feeling that ‘I must have done something wrong’ you spend restless nights reliving all your greatest parenting catastrophes, wondering if ‘that was when things fell apart’.

You are a prisoner to your child’s unpredictable mood swings and anti-social behaviour. Your trust given is a trust broken and dangerously verging on irreparable. Repeated failed attempts to ‘fix the problem’ and a declining bank balance which is challenged only by your declining physical and/or mental health, have a ‘ripple effect’ on the wider family unit. Family relationships suffer as they are forced to take a back seat to the child whose substance issue demands complete attention. Family conflict erupts as the substance dependant member catapults the family from one crisis to the next.

If you identify with this experience, then this message is for you:

You did not cause your son or daughter’s alcohol or other drug problems.

You cannot ‘fix’ their problem.

 So here is how to  support your child's recovery from addiction and stay sane at the same time:

 1.  Try to provide support to your child rather than judging or criticising them. Criticism and judgemental words are powerful, having the effect of wounding your child further and creating distance. Your child will feel isolated, misunderstood and defensive.

2.  Avoid contributing to the situation, or colluding with your child’s behaviour by making excuses for them, paying their bills or apologising for them. Support your child not their drug use.

3.  Trying to avoid verbal and/or physical confrontation with your child will only worsen, not help, the situation. If you have fears for your own or your family’s safety, you should contact the police. You can discuss the possibility of taking out an intervention order.

For further information on alcohol and other drugs and Family Drug Support, go to the following links:

Information on alcohol and different drugs: DrugInfo.adf.org.au
Family Drug Support: fds.org.au
Family Drug Help: familydrughelp.org.au

 

If you are experiencing difficulties in your parenting or  need  support and encouragement, then here’s what you need to do, contact me on 0434 337 245  for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how I can best help you or you can make an appointment to see Colleen by booking online now.