Relate Well! Blog

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

Thriving in the "New Normal"

Most of us alive today have never been through anything like the Coronavirus Pandemic. We know that there have been other devastating illnesses in the past, but now it’s not just a page in a history book – now it’s personal! We are adjusting to unfamiliar, and often unwelcome, schedules and methods of doing what we used to take for granted in our everyday lives. “Normal” used to sound boring. Now it is our greatest desire.

Assuming that what we used to consider “normal” may be farther down the road, we come to a point in our lives when we realize we need to make the best of things as they are. This is particularly important if you are one of the many who are spending much more time at home, and especially if you live alone.

So, what can you do to infuse some “life” into existence during this time of increased isolation? Here are a few thoughts to get you started:

Put Your Imagination to Work

Albert Einstein said, ...

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How to Stay Focused During Covid-19

Have you found yourself saying, “I just can’t think straight lately!” One of the primary complaints associated with the Covid-19 pandemic is the inability to stay focused. Whether it’s work, school, or just having a conversation with a spouse or friend, it can constantly feel like a battle to pay attention, concentrate, and stay focused. 

Since February of this year there has been a 300% increase in people searching “how to get your brain to focus”. For most people, even if they try, it isn’t getting any easier and in many cases it’s getting more difficult. Here’s why:

The part of your brain that controls rational thinking, concentration, impulse control, and the ability to focus occur in the prefrontal cortex, which is located right behind your forehead. Both acute and chronic stress weakens the functioning of the prefrontal cortex and strengthens the primitive brain known as the limbic system, or what some refer to as the...

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You Are Right!

There was a cute meme circulating on social media at the beginning of the Covid-19 shutdowns, while most of us were spending a lot more time at home. It said, “I always thought the reason I didn’t clean the house was because I didn’t have time. Now, I know that’s not the reason.”

Believe it or not, there is a lot to ponder in that simple meme! Long before social media existed, Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”

Your brain believes whatever your mind tells it to. You see, our brains are hard wired to find evidence among all the stored memories and experiences we’ve had in the past to evaluate and support anything that we think today. So, if you think, “I can’t do it,” your brain will find evidence of any time that you have struggled, failed or given up. So, if you tell yourself that you don’t have time, resources, or ability to succeed you will most likely...

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Are You Dog Tired?

A legend about Alfred the Great, King of the Saxons from 871-899 AD, purports that he used to send his sons out hunting with many dogs who would come back panting and worn from the hard work. Hence, the phrase we still use today: “Dog-tired.” It’s that particular kind of tired that happens when you have exerted and used up your energy.

You may be saying, “Yes, that’s my life every single day!” You work all day on the job and come home and work some more as you raise children, prepare meals, keep up with household chores and attend to volunteer commitments. Or, during these days when many are working from home, you’re swamped with all of it happening at the same time…all day…24/7!

Some days you go through the motions of your daily routine, wondering why you bother going to the same old job doing the same old things. Or you can’t remember why it’s important to prepare meals and wash dishes and laundry day after day....

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Do You Know the Enemies of Your Marriage?

If you woke up in the middle of the night and found someone trying to break into your home, would you ignore it and go back to sleep? Of course not! However, every day, couples allow enemies into their home that rival the destructive nature of an intruder.

Tackling the normal challenges of marriage is difficult enough without having to also contend with the enemies we allow to undermine our relationships every day. As we live day to day during this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, many problems seem to be magnified, so addressing them is even more important than ever. If you want to have a vital and satisfying marriage it is critically important that you and your spouse take the time to identify and name the specific activities, behaviors, attitudes and people that can compromise your intimacy and trust. 

In my practice I find couples who are very frustrated and unhappy in their relationships, yet they passively sit back and allow habits, activities, attitudes and even people to...

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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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10 Resolutions for Building a Strong Family

Building and maintaining a strong and loving family in today's culture takes a determined will and a conscious and sustained effort on the part of every family member. With so many things competing for our time and attention it is easy to lose sight of the value and significance of the close, loving relationships our families can provide. 

It's often been said that when a person comes to the end of their life they realize that the only things that really matter are the loving relationships that were established and cultivated throughout the years - especially those with family. 

If you want to build a firm foundation of love and support for your family that will stand the test of time and weather the storms of difficult life circumstances, we encourage you to embrace these ten resolutions for building a strong family. 

As a family, we commit to...

  1. Live our lives according to what we value and believe - 
    even when it isn't popular!
  2. Respond to each other with...
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How to Respond to a Complainer

Ask some folks how they’re doing, and they’ll tell you they’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. This can be a completely reasonable answer because we all have times when we feel the same way. However, some have a pattern of going on and on about their problems every time you see them.

We’ve all met people who complain constantly about physical problems or other things going wrong in their lives. They seem to believe they’re magnets for misfortune and nothing is ever positive. How should you handle it when someone has a habit of complaining to you?

First, practice compassion. As annoyed or impatient as you may feel, try to remember that the grumbling is an expression of pain. Even if the complaint seems unimportant to you, or even if it’s the complainer’s own fault, the pain is real to them. To set an appropriate boundary, kindly tell the person how much time you can spend with them and then do your best to compassionately...

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How Do You Say “I Love You”?

Walk into any variety store and it will be obvious that Valentine’s Day has become a commercial extravaganza. Red cards, boxes and candies are everywhere! Love is in the air, along with high expectations and, to be candid, a real possibility of disappointment if the message of love isn’t sent effectively.

Everyone has their own thoughts and feelings about Valentine’s Day. Some people are starry-eyed romantics, others are practical to the core and there are some people who would rather forget about it. But wherever you fall in that spectrum, you will probably want to express your love for someone at some time, even if it isn’t February 14th.

Psychologist and author Dr. Gary Chapman has published some of the most helpful information on the market today about what says “I love you” most effectively. His original book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts was a game-changer for many faltering relationships. He had discovered...

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Dealing with Disagreement

Do you ever wish we could all agree on everything? Wouldn’t that stop all the arguing and fighting? Maybe, but it would also stop a lot of progress and prevent important changes from being made. While disagreement can be uncomfortable, it can also be beneficial if it’s handled the right way. Here are some keys to making it work for everyone involved.

Clarify the Issue – I’ve seen couples, work teams, business partners and family members get embroiled in arguments that escalate into hostility, only to find out they’re not even fighting for the same reason. Begin your discussion by making sure you all have the opportunity to say what your concerns are and what you think the “win” will be once the conversation is over.

Respect – No conversation works well if one or more individuals speaks or behaves in a disrespectful manner. It’s critical to acknowledge that everyone has a legitimate right to their own opinion and that...

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