Relate Well! Blog

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

How to Tell if Work has Taken Over Your Life

You may be thinking that your life needs more balance, more time spent doing things you enjoy and less time working. Perhaps you’ve even mentioned this to your spouse, girlfriend, best buddy, doctor or co-workers. 

If you have, it is likely that at least one of these people raised an eyebrow and explained the facts of life to you. That is, that nearly everyone is overworked these days and you should get used to it. Besides, there’s that one friend who says, unsympathetically, “I work a lot more hours than you do, so you have no reason to complain”. 

Some jobs have natural cycles of busyness and down time (tax professionals between January and April, summer tourism, retail stores at Christmas, etc.) Peaks and valleys may just be normal, but when it never seems to let up you begin to feel that nagging doubt. That feeling that you shouldn’t always be so stressed, so tired, so short on time, coupled with the knowledge that you...

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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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Take Control of Your Life Story

Trying to manage life right now seems so hard. But if you can remember back to “before Covid” you may realize that trying to manage all of life at once has always been too much to handle. So, I want to share something that works for me.

For the last couple of years, I have found it helpful to imagine the current year as one chapter in my “book of life.” This helps me to focus on what I can do to make the best of my circumstances and opportunities today and avoid distractions from the past or the future. 

As we navigate through life it is so easy to get caught up in things that happened long ago. We may ruminate on “past chapters” and feel sadness, regret or grief and dwell on “if only” scenarios that can keep us stuck. 

It is just as tempting to worry about what lies ahead. Obsessing about chapters that have not been written yet can keep you focused on “what if” scenarios and trying to predict what might occur in...

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Getting Along with Critical People

We all have to deal with critical people at times. You know the type - the person who can spot a flaw from across the room, gives unsolicited advice, frequently complains and passes judgment, is negative and seems impossible to please.

We can all be critical. Every day, we literally critique everything that goes on around us consciously and unconsciously. Unfortunately, some people tend to verbalize the thoughts many of us have learned to keep to ourselves. When things don't go our way or we're in a bad mood it is easy to become critical. It's true, miserable people prefer miserable company. Critical people actually feel better around others who share the same negative attitudes. Before we spend time learning how to cope with other people's critical traits let's make sure we have our own well under control.

It can be quite challenging to get along with a critic, especially when we live, work or attend church with them. Here are 10 tips to help you get along better with critical...

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Draining the Last Drop of Joy

Nearly every day I talk with men and women who are suffering from worry, discouragement and despair. Their emotional pain can be triggered by many different sources, but one thing they often share in common is the absence of genuine joy in their lives.

This mindset is increasingly fueled by the flood of negative news and opinion stories and programs offered by media outlets. If you believe everything you hear, you may feel like giving up! But your circumstances and the news don’t have to diminish the gratitude and joy that comes from appreciating the good things in life.

Whether you are struggling with fears about the Covid-19 pandemic, political frustrations, financial problems, relationship conflict, career uncertainty or physical illness you don’t have to live in a state of gloom.

Life will always include circumstances we don’t like, so in order to help my clients manage emotional pain I encourage them to consciously make the effort to drain the joy from their...

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The Role of a Father

As we approach Father’s Day, I would like to take a moment to recognize the powerful role fathers play in the lives of their children. I believe the role of a father is too often undervalued in our society. The truth of the matter is that fathers have a significant impact in the their children's social, emotional, academic, spiritual and relational development. 

As I reflect on my life growing up, I can’t help but feel truly blessed to have had such an amazing father in my life. He was a constant provider for our family and an extremely hard worker. Though my mother was more present in our day to day lives, I have fond memories of the role my father played. He taught me the power of a strong work ethic, how to be true to myself, the power of consistency and action, and how to ride a bike. My dad took me on vacations, called me while he was on trips for work, and either showed up to my sports games to cheer me on or asked me how they went afterwards. I never knew how...

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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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On the Road Again to a Healthy Body & Mind

If this “unprecedented” time has you feeling depressed, sluggish and unmotivated, my friend Paula Starker, RN, has some great suggestions to lift your spirits and regain your health.

“You’re deconditioned.” my friend’s doctor told her after she collapsed off the treadmill, unable to finish her cardiac stress test—despite the fact that her heart was okay. “You’re out of shape!” he explained. Exhausted, embarrassed and riddled with guilt, my friend wondered why she had ever given up working out at the gym in the first place. The truth is, the biggest problem with most exercise programs is that, like my friend, most people sooner or later quit. You figure it’s just not worth the effort to get in shape, even though you know it’s good for you. Guilt settles in. Hopelessness overwhelms you and you sink back into the rut of inactivity.

The Mind-Body Connection

It is a well-known fact that regular exercise produces...

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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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