In this half hour episode I explore the issues involved with being either a clueless spouse / partner, or one who has healthy, loving partnership skills. This episode taps into emotional intelligence, how highly you would rate yourself when examining your attitudes, knowledge and practices in your primary relationship, and identifying areas where you may need to improve to avoid misery, and to create more satisfaction for you and your partner / spouse. Tune in and take the 20 question test to get a better read on how the experts might score you, also to get a better sense of where you might be headed for avoidable trouble!
To join the conversation live with questions or comments call toll-free 877-497-9046. If you can’t make the live show you can hear the recording anytime afterward at: www.BlogTalkRadio.com/SusanLager
However you tune in, you won’t want to miss this episode! You’ll learn about relationship skills and practices essential to happiness and trust!
Most of us are familiar with the “January Effect” – people armed with New Year’s resolutions to live cleaner: workout regularly, be more organized, eat more healthfully and lose weight, drink less, be more productive and waste less time, etc., etc.
Years ago when I belonged to Gold’s Gym we “regulars” would see swarms of well-intentioned people in January jamming up the machines, crowding the classes, full of optimism, only to almost entirely clear out by late February or March. The self-righteous eye rolls or chuckles among the “regulars” would be palpable. After observing it yearly I ultimately decided that this phenomenon might not be so much about laziness, lack of commitment or disorganization, but maybe more about a lack of permission – a lack of giving oneself permission to honor the need for down time, rest, hanging out, or sometimes people’s lack of permission to look at themselves with honesty about what’s really important to them. Had the resolutions to work out rigorously four times a week taken into account what was realistic in the context of people’s sleep habits, infrastructure to take that personal time, need for solitude or need for rest? Often not – coming to the gym frequently sounded good on paper, but had these people given themselves permission to look realistically at all these other factors that could undermine them? I think not.
I met with several couples in my practice after the holidays who talked with surprise and delight about having had a wonderful time with each other and with their kids during the holidays – for some, the first time in years! It wasn’t because they packed more activities in or were “good.” They didn’t go to every festival or capitalize on every possible day to ski or ice skate. They didn’t go to every party. They didn’t jump start their New Year’s resolutions. Instead they gave themselves permission to do less, to relax more, sleep more, hang out more, go offline, and not compete with their friends or neighbors to be the most social, or have the best holiday decorations, or the most elaborate rituals. They had given themselves permission to be honest with themselves about how much was enough, and how much might be too much. They tuned into themselves and their children rather than the hype around them, and it made all the difference in the world.
So, if as you read this you feel some apprehension about becoming a sloth if you practice tuning into your needs for rest and relaxation, take a deep breath and just try it for awhile. You may very well discover that when you legitimize downtime you won’t ultimately be less productive or social or happy. You may just discover a quieter, “slower” aspect of yourself, creating more peace of mind. You may even get to the gym with sufficient regularity after January!
I was recently contacted by a fitness coach named Travis White who asked me to post this article on my site. I’m forwarding it to you because I think he gets to a lot of the important issues and behaviors around holiday health habits. See what you think.
We often joke about overindulging during the holidays – setting back the scale 10 pounds and wearing pants with an elastic waist. Psychology Today
describes self-sabotage as behavior that “results from a misguided attempt to rescue ourselves from our own negative feelings.” However, with understanding and good planning, the holidays can be an opportunity for self-care, health and happiness.
We hope these insights will help you set yourself up for success instead of sabotage this holiday season.
Do you bog yourself down with pointless, extraneous activities, creating delays instead of reaching a goal? For people who do this, there is self-harm in the actions which exist in the space between deciding to do something and actually doing it. Another version of procrastinating is to choose a “wait and see” attitude. Some professionals recommend asking yourself
what it is you are waiting for, and why? Are you allowing others’ actions to determine whether you reach your goal, and why?
Everyone can fall into the trap of choosing a coping mechanism that actually puts obstacles in their way. Examples are things like self-medicating with drugs or alcohol, overspending when you are tight on money, or “comfort eating,” especially if you are overweight.
Do you find yourself suddenly clumsier than usual? Are you oversleeping when normally you rise with the sun? Does your normally impeccable filter allow something inappropriate to slip out of your mouth and into the wrong ears? Such behaviors can be evidence of self-sabotage. As Huffington Post
explains, “Because we like to think that we are completely in control of ourselves and are consciously making decisions, often it’s hard to recognize that these behaviors are driven by our unconscious mind.”
If you see yourself in any of those descriptions, here are some tips to set yourself up for success and avoiding self-sabotage:
- Take a moment. Take time for mindful meditation. Slow down, savor the moment, breathe deeply, and be fully aware of your state of being.
- Journal. Writing about what you are experiencing can produce tremendous insights. It also offers you an opportunity to look back through your notes to discover patterns. Do you struggle at the same time every year? Is there a trigger you can identify?
- Volunteer. The holiday season offers plenty of opportunities to do something for others, and it’ll boost your mood.
- Exercise. Many of us fall short on maintaining a workout routine throughout the year, and this is especially true during the holidays. This year can be different!
- Move. Don’t sit for extended periods of time. Make a mental note to get up every half hour to hour, even if only for five minutes. Commercial breaks during football games or your favorite holiday movies are a great opportunity to do a few squats or stroll around the house.
- Plan. US News and World Report notes that starting every day with a plan can help you stay on track. Have an agenda in place for what you will eat and when you will exercise; even if you deviate, you will probably do better than without a set goal.
- Be flexible. If you go into the holidays with an all-or-nothing mindset, the first bump you hit can derail you. Instead, remain flexible and be creative in meeting your goals. Maybe the whole family can take a brisk walk through the neighborhood before the trip to Grandma’s, or open the new year by throwing a ball around the yard. Take opportunities for time together and fun!
- Convenience is key. Don’t make being healthy an added stress. Instead, consider the convenience and low-cost of setting up a home gym. A few well-chosen pieces of equipment can put you on the path to fitness.
Success, not sabotage
Do some soul searching to discover how you might be inhibiting your own self-care. If you realize you are setting yourself up for sabotage, take steps toward success by making healthier choices.
In this 20 minute episode I’ll share some connection tools from my many years of working with couples. In this brief podcast you’ll get ideas for how you can, with minimal time and energy, amidst what is often a whirlwind of busyness, build in a fun sense of “we-ness” with your spouse or partner.
Join in live at 8:30 PM EST with your questions, comments, or your own ideas at 877-497-9046. If you can’t make the live podcast you can hear the recording anytime afterward at: www.BlogTalkRado.com/SusanLager.
I hope that one way or another you can join me!
I just received this post from my esteemed colleague, Carthage Buckley, a wise and passionate
coach from Ireland I had the pleasure of doing a BlogTalk Radio episode with earlier this year.
I thought this post was so relevant and perfectly worded that I decided to share it with all of you.
For anyone wanting more of Carthage’s down-to-earth, practical advise go to:
relating to maximizing one’s personal best. Read this and check him out!
Listen to yourself and you’ll always be happy
Coaching requires the coach to spend a great deal of time listening the client. When appropriate, the coach will interject with a question. There are a number of reasons why the coach may choose to ask a particular question but quite often the question is saying one thing to the client – listen to yourself. It is important that the client does not just listen to the words they speak, but also to the way in which they say it and the feelings they experience when they say it. This is listening at a much deeper level than most people are used to. When you listen to yourself, you live your values and pursue your dreams. This is one of the most effective strategies for reducing stress and increasing personal happiness.
One day, a heart-warming message was posted on my Facebook page. My Australian friend, Marshall, had posted to tell me that he was enjoying his holiday in North America – the post was made from Vancouver. He wrote to thank me for encouraging him to take the plunge and follow his lifelong dream of visiting North America. It was clear from his message that Marshall was having the time of his life. I had previously spent a year in Australia, working with Marshall. During that time, he had told me many times of his desire to travel. I had offered lots of advice throughout the year but it could all be summed up with one phrase – listen to yourself.
While it is always nice to receive appreciation; I am afraid Marshall’s appreciation is largely unwarranted. For it was not me who inspired him, it was his own dreams. Marshall and I had often talked with our friends about travelling and about our experiences. Marshall was always keen to encourage us to fulfil our dreams. As the year moved on, I noticed a slight change in him. He began to talk more about the places he wanted to see and the things he wanted to do. It became clear to me that he had begun to listen to the advice that he was offering to others.
Marshall’s message reminded me of how I came to be in Australia in the first place. I had been working in Ireland when a colleague asked me for advice. He told me that his girlfriend had bought him a holiday to Egypt for his birthday. It was the one place that he had always wanted to go to. His concern was that he would have to give up his job – it was a summer job. We talked for a short while and he realised that he had to take the opportunity to go to Egypt. He thanked me for the advice and immediately handed in his notice. As he thanked me, my inner voice was screaming
listen to yourself. I had always wanted to go to New Zealand and Australia. I decided there and then that I needed to follow my own advice. 4 months later I had saved €4,000, acquired the necessary visas and was boarding a plane at Dublin airport. I was about to enjoy the best 2 years of my life.
When you listen to yourself it is easier to discover your purpose and live your values.
We all like to offer advice to our friends but sometimes, when we are offering that advice from the depths of our heart, we are not just speaking to our friends, we are also speaking to ourselves. So, take the time to listen to yourself; it may be the wisest advice you ever receive.
In this 15 minute episode I’ll share my insights and experiences with the issue of cheap forgiveness – what it is, and how and when it may be adaptive as the best possible “solution” to emotional injury, vs. what the costs may be to the person bestowing it and to the relationship. I’ll give a mini “life lesson” on the larger issue of forgiveness and what the options may be when an offender isn’t repentant or available to a process of true repair around an emotional injury.
To join the episode live call 877-497-9046 to come on the air with your questions, comments or story. If you can’t make the live podcast you can listen to the recording afterward anytime at: www.BlogTalkRadio.com/SusanLager
However you tune in, don’t miss this important episode!
I was recently interviewed by Boston Voyager magazine to be featured in their “Inspiring Stories” section about local business people doing interesting work. Well, they just published the article!
In it I tell my story, talk about my private practice, areas of expertise and uniqueness, and share some challenges I’ve had to overcome in the process. I’m very proud to be a featured subject in such an interesting magazine which gives information about all the goings on in the greater Boston area. Read the attached article and see what you think!
Meet Susan Lager of The Couples Center in Portsmouth
It’s been a long haul getting here – months and months of training, lots of cases, loads of reading, and plenty of constructive feedback from the experts at The Doherty Relationship Institute, but now I am officially certified as a Discernment Counselor! (And, as far as I know, I’m also the only clinician in New Hampshire trained to do this delicate, important work).
For those of you who aren’t familiar with this type of treatment Discernment Counseling is a form of brief treatment specially designed for couples on the brink of divorce. These couples come into the work with “mixed agendas” – one spouse more hopeful about staying married, ready to do the work of repair, and the other spouse “leaning out,” not very hopeful, often feeling a high degree of ambivalence about moving forward together, and frequently feeling out of energy for “trying” anymore.
Discernment Counseling is a brief intervention for these couples, (one to five sessions only), with the goal of helping these spouses make a clear, confident decision about a direction for the relationship – either stay in the marriage as it is, move toward a divorce, or do the work of reconciliation and repair for a period of up to six months to get a sense of possibilities for the marriage. Couples who participate in this process avoid the financial and time waste of engaging in a half-hearted couples therapy, which often happens when one spouse hasn’t yet decided if they “want to try.”
So, if you feel that this form of treatment may be suitable for you, go to the Discernment Counseling page of my website, http://susanlager.com/discernment-counseling/, check it out, and call me at 603-431-7131 if you’d like to schedule a session.
Most people (in America), groan a lot about getting older – the aches and pains, loss of beauty, loss of expectable good health, loss of friends and family, loss of job options, loss, loss, loss…. For sure, it’s a humbling experience, hopefully with much gained wisdom and peaceful acceptance of life and it’s curveballs.
But, there’s one consolation prize for many people – grandchildren! For a long time I’ve heard about what a joy they are, and what a sweet experience grand parenting can be. Having had our son at age 38 I figured my husband and I would be in our late 70’s or 80′ by the time our kid decided to take the plunge and have a kid of his own. We figured we might not even be in our full wits by then, so if we became grandparents we wouldn’t even know it! But, instead our son and daughter-in-law just had their first child while we’re still lucid and ambulating, so what a treat!
Meet Anna, now five weeks old, ruler of the universe, tiny love of everyone’s life, opener of all possibilities and unforeseen bonus of aging! And yes, they were all right – grand parenting is pretty sweet…
My husband and I recently went to beautiful Portugal for a long awaited vacation. We rented a car, and drove all around the country, excluding the far northern Douro region, so we’d have sufficient time to really see places. I can’t say enough about what this does, not only for one’s joy and learning levels, but also for a marriage.
Getting away from your everyday routines and responsibilities allows you to reset an appreciation level, not only for other people and places, but also for each other. A self-guided road trip is especially useful in ramping up teamwork and trust. In our case, I was the Navigator, and my husband Thom was the Fearless Driver, negotiating hairpin turns on sky-high mountain roads, and well marked highways with signs somehow not illuminated at night! I guided us through ancient towns with tiny cobblestoned streets barely big enough to fit a car, (let alone two!), while Thom plowed forward in our tiny Citroen.
We sampled wines, cheeses, and exotic fish dishes we’d never experienced before. We had to be a well oiled machine, hauling our overloaded suitcases up dark staircases in remote Air B&B’s. We walked through orchards and vineyards, went to dinner in medieval towns late at night, and toured ancient castles and cities on foot for hours and hours, (something I’d usually love, but an act of generosity by Thom, who’s not so crazy about walking all day and night). Together, we had to communicate with the Portuguese, many of whom don’t speak other languages clearly. We had to negotiate where to go, and what to forego, given our time constraints.
We returned home with a much greater appreciation for the sensual European way of life, but also thankful for American conveniences, and vastly more thankful for each other!
If you haven’t gotten away in awhile together, either to an exotic place like Portugal for a vacation, or to somewhere in your home state for a weekend, I’d recommend that you begin doing it again whenever you can. Your marriage will thank you for it!