TuesdayTopic.04.22.14

More than a Spring Fling {Tuesday Topics}

Spring festivities are in full swing as Easter has already come and gone. This time of year outdoor activities bring families and friends together as everyone wants to take time to enjoy fun in the sun! But, how do you stay connected to your family, especially kids as they transition into their teen years? Here are a few ideas that will help ease awkwardness and cultivate natural connections between you, your teen, and the rest of your family.

 Host a picnic.TuesdayTopic.04.22.14

Take some time out of your busy schedule and plan an informal picnic over the weekend with your family. Go to your local park or enjoy your backyard! Create a picnic vibe by bringing along a blanket, basket and a few board games. Invite your teen to ask his or her closest friends to join. By creating a carefree environment, you’re inviting your family to relax, enjoy one another’s company, while acknowledging your teen’s desire to have a social life.

 Get Active.

A family that plays together stays together! Take the initiative to plan a “play date” for your family. Go to your neighborhood swimming pool and play “Marco Polo”, dust off your bikes and ride to your local ice cream store, split into teams and play a game of outdoor basketball. The type of activity doesn’t so much matter as the fact that your family takes time to have fun together. Don’t be afraid to let out your inner kid, it’s important to show your teen that it’s ok to have fun!

 Plan an outdoor movie night.

If you’re technologically savvy rent a projector and hang a large white sheet up against your house (tree, deck etc.) for an instant “movie under the stars” night. You can plug your projector up to any laptop, video game console, or DVD player and instantly stream a movie. Add speakers (if necessary), lawn chairs, blankets or pillows and you’re set! You can check out projector rentals here.

So, what are your thoughts? Any spring family activity ideas? How will you stay connected to your teen this spring?

 

 

 

life_advice_gap_030110

Feeling Disconnected? Here are 8 Ways to Bridge the Gap

Are you wondering how to reconnect with the one you love?

life_advice_gap_030110Sometimes it feels like our relationships are on hold. We sleep in the same bed, eat meals together, pay bills, parent, etc. but it feels like something is missing. We keep saying to ourselves that when things slow down we will have time together.

I don’t know about you but, I have yet to find a time when ‘life’ slows down.

Have we lost our ability to truly connect with one another? Do you find yourself seeking out extracurricular activities (i.e. sports for the kids, taking on more projects at work, etc.) so you can continue to avoid what’s really going on? Are we intentionally ignoring our partner to avoid conflict, which is deeply rooted in our own insecurities?

We may not realize what we are doing or not doing to be intentional but what is happening is we are pulling away from our partners. It is a negative cycle, which can be difficult to break free from.

The couple slowly notices the changes. They may notice they begin to argue more which in turn creates more distance and avoiding each other to prevent conflict. Arguing is often a symptom of deeper emotions resulting from the hurt and sadness about the disconnection.

Unfortunately, we know couples can wait an average of six to seven years before seeking help. Whoa! That’s a long time to build up resentment.

Can you truly come back together after years of avoiding each other? Many of the clients I have met over the years hope that things will get better without outside help. Can it? Have you found it easy to approach your partner about going to counseling? Usually one partner is on board while the other continues to ignore what’s really going on.

So, how do you reconnect after weeks, months, and years, of disconnection?

Here are some tips on how to reconnect with your partner whether you take the step to seek professional help or not.  Take it slow and test the waters before diving in which may result in more emotional injuries. Allow yourself to be vulnerable, putting the resentments to the side, while you first begin the reconnection process. Try and initiate something the two of you can do together.

  1. Start by giving a compliment to your partner every day
  2. Have meals together without distractions (i.e. kids, electronics, etc.)
  3. Reminisce about happier times in your relationship
  4. Discuss the idea about going on a date together-begin dialogue about what that would
    look like.
  5. Create an opportunity to touch your partner (on the back, knee, and arm. This just may lead to a hug or even a kiss).
  6. Commit to taking a walk together every day
  7. Find humor in something and share it with your partner
  8. Get your flirt on. You’re already feeling vulnerable so put yourself out there and flirt with your partner.

Do you have other simple ways to bridge the gap between you and your partner when things get rocky?  Tell me about it in the comments below.

Do you want to put the passion back in your relationship? Ready for more romance and connection?
Sign up now to be part of our free 30-Day Relationship Reboot featuring Kelly Alcorn, LCSW. Click here and get ready for your sexiest summer yet!

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Tuesday Topic 04.14.14

“Because I’m Happy” {Tuesday Topics}

Tuesday Topic 04.14.14It is undeniable that music has the power to evoke a wide range of emotions. When I can’t seem to get my day started off on the right foot or I feel a bit down, the first thing I do is check my environment.

In the morning and when I first arrive to work, I love to listen to Pandora while I prep and begin my day. More often than not, in my off moments, my Pandora station has introduced a moody, depressing song that stirs within me feelings of sadness.

To rebound from these moments, I turn to my theme song, Pharrell’s “Happy”. For me, this song sends joy, motivation, and playfulness through the airways and by its end, I am genuinely happy! You can check out the song here.

So, what about you? Do you have a song that motivates you when you’re down or helps start off your day with a bang? Do you have a theme song?

Tuesday Topics-Apr 1

Warding Off Disaster {Tuesday Topics}

Tuesday Topics-Apr 1I have to admit, I struggle with worrying. I know every day stress and concerns are normal, but sometimes the slightest hint of bad news causes me to leap into panic mode and my energy gets zapped. Sure my personality does have a thing or two to do with my worry meter (I’m a type A), but I’ve found that some of my every day habits also affect how I respond to problems.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

First off, I try my darnedest to never go to sleep after watching the nightly news. Why? Because the news, though informative, can be filled with doom and gloom. Chances are that if I go to bed with a dark cloud hanging over my head, I will not be ready to ward off temptations to fret the next day if challenges arrive.

Secondly, I make sure that I get at least 8 hours of sleep! Yes, you read that right. I know that my body does not function well when I don’t get these hours in. Everyone’s body of course has different needs, but the fact remains, good quality sleep helps anyone ward off anxiousness.

Thirdly, I make time for exercise. It’s no secret that hitting the gym helps to relieve stress. Not only are the physical benefits sublime, the mental health benefits are exceptional. I find that when I’ve taken the time to run a few miles, my head is clear and I’m ready to face challenges without jumping to disastrous conclusions.

Finally, I’ve also learned to not be ashamed to ask for help from others if I feel that I can’t conquer my problems alone.

So, how do you handle bad news? How do you ward off disaster?
Share your comments below or via Twitter and Facebook.

Looking for a quick fix? Sleep might be the answer

Whether you’re a parent struggling to keep up with your child’s demanding schedule or a busy couple who’s sleep patterns are out of sync, the statistics show that you are probably all sleep deprived.  As a culture we are chronically exhausted and overwhelmed but most of us don’t think naps are an option.

But as Karen Brody points out in her article, Memo to Moms: It’s Eat, Pray, Sleep, finding a way to give your body and mind the rest it needs is crucial to living a happier and healthier life.  I can’t agree more with much of what she says…

“Sleep is all we need. After my nap I remembered that: (A) I loved myself; (B) I wasn’t a Loser Mom; (C) my kids were terrific (even though Jacob always leaves his socks in the living room); and (D) my husband was a honey (not the evil guy who goes on two week international work trips).

I also remembered how much I loved going to a yoga nidra class when my kids were little. Yoga Nidra is an ancient form of yogic sleep where you lay on the floor and the teacher guides you into a meditative state. It’s that simple.”

 

If you want to know more about this magical yoga, read the rest of Karen’s article, check out Richard Miller’s book, Yoga Nidra: The Meditative Heart of Yoga, or better yet

Join me this Sunday, March 30, for an introductory workshop!

Together with Annette Kielkop of The Source Yoga in McLean, I’ll be co-hosting a special workshop in Gainesville on this very topic.  Come and learn you can get better sleep and feel more refreshed on a daily basis.

There’s still time to register and come find out for yourself the power of sleep to transform your daily life!YogaNidra-SelfLoveWorkshop1

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Pin It to Win It ~ How Do You Unwind?

Pin for your chance to win our favorite things to unwind with prize pack!

One winner, selected by our team of experts, will receive a copy of Esther Boykin’s The Date Deck and a selection of goodies that include our favorite things to unwind with.  {Keep an eye out for these prize pack hints on our Restore, Relax, Rediscover board!}

 

How to enter:

1.  Follow Group Therapy Associates on Pinterest

 

2. Create a Pinterest board and name it “Restore, Relax, Rediscover”

 

3.  Pin your favorite things you like to unwind with

 

4. Tag each pin with #unwind

 

5. Copy and paste your board’s URL in the comments on the post.

 

Our team will pick their favorite boards on March 30.  We can’t wait to start pinning our favorite things to unwind with and see some of yours!

Enter by March 29th   |    Contest Limited to U.S. Residents Only

This contest is closed.  Congratulations to our winner, Joanne!

Please email  ruth[at]grouptherapyassociates.com your contact information so we can send your prize pack to you.

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