Relate Well! Blog

Addressing the all-important and often perplexing topics and issues related to enhancing your personal growth and professional development

Seeing the Good in the Bad

It never ceases to amaze me how important our attitudes are when it comes to rising above life’s circumstances. Every week I meet with people from all walks of life that are dealing with heartache and pain and all they can see in front of them is the bad.

When my children were young we would go fishing every summer. I recall one particular fishing trip that I will never forget. Thirty minutes after arriving at the lake, my son, Scott, wanted to leave. He complained that it was too windy and the fish were never going to bite. I tried to encourage him by telling him to try and enjoy the beautiful scenery, the cool breeze and watching the guy next to us catch one fish after another. His response was, “Dad, I hate it when you always see the good in the bad.” Although he was frustrated, I took Scott’s comment as a compliment.

Most of us have been impacted by the Covid-19 virus in some way – from minor nuisance to life-changing tragedy. Even if the illness...

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A Different Kind of Mother's Day

Mother’s Day might be very different this year. It is usually the busiest day of the year at restaurants, but this year most of us will have to find another way to celebrate the moms in our lives. 

This year, you may not be out shopping for cards and gifts, so what can you do to make Mom feel special and appreciated? 

Moms who are at home, still raising their families, will appreciate the gift of thoughtfulness. This could be a little “time off” when the family brings her breakfast in bed or gives her time to take an uninterrupted nap. It could be hand-drawn cards that express what each child loves and appreciates about their mom. How about a paper crown, elaborately decorated with available craft supplies to make her feel like a queen? You can have fun brainstorming ideas, and Mom is going to love that you took the time to think about her! 

If your mom is living alone, either independently or in a senior community, you may not be able to physically...

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Tips for Parents Navigating Covid-19 with Kids

For weeks now, life has looked different for families across the country. More time is being spent at home, routines are changing, and children have made the transition to learning from home with distance learning. 

I have been working with parents and students who have shared their thoughts, frustrations, and fears with all of the changes taking place. They want to know how to manage this new way of living. 

The new structure at home can feel overwhelming and challenging as you try to create new routines and take on new roles. As you navigate this time, here are 5 tips to help you and your kids feel successful and make the most out of this unusual time. 

  1. When it comes to distance learning, set up a designated space and time for schoolwork.

Kids thrive when provided structure and routine. If you are having a difficult time getting your child to sit down and get to work, know that you are not alone! Making this transition to learning from home can be...

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Dealing with Covid-19 While Stuck at Home

I recently had the opportunity to do a Facebook Live event with Dr. Randy Carlson for the Intentional Living radio program. We were discussing some of the issues families, in particular, are dealing with as they are staying at home due to the Covid-19 protocols. Here are some of the tips and insights that might help you and your family as you navigate your own situation.

One of the disturbing factors of the virus and the measures being mandated to prevent its spread is the uncertainty that accompanies loss of control in our own lives. One of the strategies we can employ is to reasonably control what we can. I have talked to many people who are anxiously watching news reports for developments and finding it only adds to their stress. My suggestion is to drastically reduce the amount of news they consume. In reality, from hour to hour, there will not be any drastic changes, so a brief, daily check-in is probably enough to keep you informed but not overwhelmed.

It can also be...

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Facing Real Fears

The world has recently become a scarier place than it was before Covid-19. The incidence of anxiety is increasing in the US, thanks in part to the speed with which we can hear or read a barrage of bad news all day, every day.

Some people are worried constantly about the state of the nation and are convinced that they can never regain their personal or economic losses. Some are panicking over every minor ache or pain because it could be the frightening new disease. If you’re looking for a reason to be anxious, just click into social media or turn on the news.

With our human tendency to worry, our imaginations can easily concoct fears that are irrational, exaggerated and unlikely to ever actually happen. Of course, it’s important to be informed about national events so we can make wise choices, and it is always wise to live a healthy lifestyle and check out persistent symptoms with your health care provider (not just Google). But living in constant fear of everything that...

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Do You Worry or Have Healthy Concern?

We are currently living in an unprecedented and unusually stressful time, with the Covid-19 virus affecting nearly all of us in one way or another. It is highly likely that within the last few hours you have given in to the urge to worry about some aspect of how it may impact your life or the life of someone you love, both short term and long term.

So, let’s take a look at what worry really is in order to help us manage our feelings and behaviors more effectively.

Even under normal circumstances worry comes naturally to most of us, so it is important to consider the importance of learning how to minimize the destructive nature of worry while still effectively navigating the unavoidable, and sometimes very scary, challenges and uncertainties of life. 

As a psychologist, I have worked with hundreds of people who struggle with acute and chronic worry, and it can be very emotionally, psychologically, and physically debilitating. 

Generally speaking, worry is more often...

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This Could Be Your Lucky Day!

When Irish immigrants came to America, some became wealthy as gold miners, so the phrase “luck of the Irish” became a phrase that some people used rather literally, meaning that it was very lucky that some struck gold and became rich. However, it was also a time when Irish immigrants experienced a lot of prejudice in America, so some people used the phrase to suggest that they weren’t smart enough to get rich by their own brainpower, so they must have been “lucky”.

Another view of Irish luck is that it’s bad luck. After all, the Irish have endured a lot of hardship from invasion, persecution and natural disasters affecting their agriculture. But the optimistic view is, “If you’re lucky enough to be Irish, you’re lucky enough!”

A lot of people have pondered the concept of luck, and here are some notable quotes to add to what we know about it:

“I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have...

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4 Keys to a Strong Marriage

I am always encouraged when a couple seeks counseling to work on a problem in their marriage. It seems so easy today to throw in the towel as soon as one or both people feel unhappy, misunderstood or disrespected. But in most cases there are a few simple (not necessarily easy) things that can produce life-changing results. 

In my work with couples, I have discovered four key elements that must be consistently present in order to have a strong and fulfilling marriage.

Put each other first.

As simple as this sounds, it may be the hardest thing you will ever do. Our inner instinct is naturally “Me first.” “What do I want?” “What makes ME feel good – or bad?” “How is my spouse failing to meet MY needs?” Putting someone else above ME is an act of the will and takes practice. But all couples can experience intimacy and satisfaction when both partners are willing to cultivate an attitude of humility and giving. It may seem awkward...

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Solitude - A Hidden Fortress

Paula R. Starker, RN

You don’t need to go far from your front door to notice that people avoid it. The driver in the car next to you talks on his smart phone or sings along with music from his satellite radio. The shopper next to you talks on the phone (and you listen!). People work out at the gym or the park or take bike rides arrayed with a variety of earbuds and headphones entertained by their favorite music play list or podcast. We are swept away into the steady stream of communication, information and ideas that flow into our minds 24/7. Natural opportunities for solitude, which were once an integral part of life in generations past, are avoided and drowned out.

Did you know that your need for solitude is as basic to your well-being as your body’s need for food and sleep? Aldous Huxley’s Doors of Perception (Harper and Row, 1970) suggested that our sense organs, nervous systems, and brains are basically eliminative in nature. They keep us from being confused...

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Little Things Count

We’ve all heard the phrase “it’s the little things in life that count.” There’s a lot of truth in that, since most of life is made up of a series of little things. 

Everyday life consists of innumerable moments, in which we work, play, interact with other people, and just exist. The things we do in those moments are the things that put a positive or negative spin on each day we live. If you pass a stranger on the street, do you choose to smile or to look away? If an old friend comes to mind, do you take a moment to write a note or pick up the phone to call, or do you let the thought slip away? If you find yourself with an hour of quiet time, do you spend it constructively, or just passively watch another television program? 

Little things make a difference in the big picture of life. You don’t have to solve all of your problems at once or fill every minute of your day with important activities, but moment by moment, you can make little...

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