Couplespeak™ Blog

Zippy Goes Down

I am fondly referred to in my family as “Zippy” because I do everything really FAST. They call me the “Nazi Walker” because nobody can keep up with me. I’ve been known as the “speed gardener,” famous for a few inadvertant self stabs in the eye with thorns when rushing through hedge trimming. (See blogpost “Speed Gardening and the Revenge of the Sandcherry”). I talk fast, I eat fast, I write fast, I even do Yoga fast. I can’t help it – I’m from New York, and many people there are the same way. But today, Zippy went down, trying out a new pair of running shoes in the house at full speed going around corners.

You might ask: “Are you an idiot? What’s the rush?” But it’s the way I’m wired, and I figure I save loads of time zipping through laundry, dishes, bills, workouts, etc. I’m entering my “last chapter” of life, so there’s no time to waste – I have too much to do!

The side benefit of this injury today, (I probably fractured my ankle), was that I had to STOP everything, laze around, resting, icing, compressing and elevating my foot. No removing brush for my husband who would be chopping down mammoth trees, no uprooting unsightly bushes, killing Japanese beetles, cooking for the next few days, folding laundry, buying another router from Best Buy, running in my new sneakers, nada. Just vegging out, nursing my injury and spending nine hours (!) online setting up my new Amazon Store. So you, lucky reader, now have the benefit of lazy shopping for good reads from your couch on my Amazon Store page! If you’re in too much of a rush to look for it on this site, go to: http://wp.me/P1ayQF-Vc  (I’ve been wanting to set it up for months, but I’m usually zipping around doing everything else). Sometimes sitting still has it’s benefits…..

Take It Easy! Life Is Short!

Everyone, including myself, is running around getting ready for the rest of the holidays, and I mean “running around,” and now in more than a foot of fresh snow! We’re in the home stretch now for getting our homes sufficiently decorated, getting those gifts bought and in the mail, making sure all our cards are written and sent out, choosing our menus, and finalizing our holiday plans so we don’t feel left out of all “the fun” socially. Then there’s the usual busyness of housework, making meals, working jobs so we can pay the bills, raising our children, getting some sleep, and of course, finding some time for self care, like indulging in a measly workout here and there. Not to mention the little detail of having an occasional conversation with our partner, or loved ones!

As I participate in, and observe the race all around, I’ve decided that three things are important to keep in mind to preserve one’s sanity, and to actually derive some fun and meaning around the holidays:

  1. Check your perfectionism. Even Martha Stewart, the maven of style, class, and coziness, has legions of “elves” all around to create the illusion of perfection. So don’t buy into the invention. Instead, establish a “good enough” standard which allows for the realities of your time and energy constraints, allows you to enjoy yourself, and to stay focused on your goals for the season. At this juncture, less is more. Keep those expectations in check.
  2. Let others help. Don’t over-function your way into martyrdom. You’ll be a more pleasant companion if you let other people share in the labor of making holiday traditions happen. The people around you will feel more invested in activities they have helped to create. You’ll also be more rested if you don’t view the holidays as a “one man/woman show”.
  3. Practice the fine art of saying “no” if you are feeling maneuvered into doing more than your fair share of holiday activity. If you have a partner or sibling who seems to be bailing out on you, and expecting you to compensate for their inactivity, then draw a line in the sand, and let consequences happen. You’ll then avoid some resentment around feeling exploited.

Stay conscious and have happier holidays!
Susan Lager

Changing The Routine

If you are a reader of mine, you may have noticed that I’ve been lax in the blogging department for most of the summer.

I’ve given myself permission to get out of my chair, off the internet, and to have a different kind of fun! I love talking to you all, I love writing and sharing things, but I get sick of the internet in the summer! I happen to live on the southern coast of Maine, which is filled with fantastic places to go, and interesting things to do, so I feel compelled to change up my routine, get outside more, be more social and PLAY!

Changing your routine from time to time can be an invigorating experience. The sense of novelty ramps up good chemicals in your brain, especially if you’re doing some new or different things with a friend or partner.

The change can expose you to new activities or people you may really enjoy.

You’re likely to learn stuff as you expand and switch up your repertoire.

Then, the ironic result may be that when you resume your usual routine, you approach it with fresh eyes and ears, and are likely to be more appreciative of your life as it was!

Summer Brain

Every summer I encounter a similar thing: friends, family, colleagues and clients running around, off their usual structured schedules, forgetting appointments, late for dates, and all out of whack. I call it Summer Brain because maybe the heat and humidity, (and now the torrential rain), seeps into everyone’s head and acts like a blender, mixing everything up. People who are usually so precise and committed to dates, times, goals and schedules now all seem to have A.D.D. !

As a therapist, I’ve learned not to take it too personally, knowing it’s seasonal, and in the Northeast it’s probably related to the frenetic pace around capitalizing on the measly duration of warm weather. I make use of the found time when clients forget their appointments by filing, returning calls, organizing my desk, and wondering why I haven’t caught the Summer Brain bug? Unfortunately, when I charge clients for these missed appointments they often get annoyed, probably wondering what’s wrong with my brain.

But hey, it’s summer! We could all instead be shoveling two feet of snow off our roofs, then shivering in our freezing cars, negotiating black ice, and praying for summer!

Life is a trip…..

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About
Susan Lager

I am a licensed, board certified pyschotherapist and relationship coach in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Through my psychotherapy or coaching services, I can provide you with skills and tools to transform your life.

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