Keeping Kids Healthy over the Long Summer Months

With school out, it’s easy to slip into vacation mode. The kids will probably want to sleep in, chase after ice cream trucks, and lounge around the house all day. After all, it’s summer! Letting them indulge every now and then is perfectly fine, but don’t let their indulgence become unhealthy. Encourage them to build healthy habits all summer long. Here are some tips from Revive Wellness Group.

Stock Up on Healthy Foods

It’s no secret that healthy eating is essential to your child’s growth and development. Eating a balanced diet leads to sharpened minds, higher energy levels, and healthy weights. Not only that, but everything we do, from what we eat and drink to how much we sleep, has a profound impact on mental health. Though it can be a challenge, encouraging healthy habits stabilizes moods, decreases the risk of depression and anxiety, and boosts confidence.

Depending on their age, each child has their own nutritional needs. However, as a general rule, their diet should consist primarily of fruits and veggies, lean proteins, whole grains, and dairy. Check KidsHealth’s guide on what their plate should generally look like at every meal.

Summer is the time for ice cream by the pool and building s’mores over campfires. It’s also all too easy for your child to get bored at home and head straight for the snack cabinet. Telling them they can’t have chips or chocolate almost never seems to work and can even be counterproductive. Your best bet is to give them access to a wide variety of healthy alternatives. Keep plenty of fruits and veggies on hand. You can even try preparing some tasty hummus or tzatziki for them to dip it in.

For younger children who can get their own snacks but aren’t ready to use knives, pre-cut their healthy snacks and store them properly in an easily accessible spot. The less work they have to do, the more likely they are to eat it.

Get Your Kids Involved

One of the best ways to get kids to eat healthier is to have them help during meal prep. The more involved they are, the more likely they will be to eat what you make. This can be especially helpful for picky eaters. Have them help create the menu with you and bring them with you to the grocery store. For even more fun, consider swinging by the local farmer’s market and picking out the latest seasonal fruits and veggies together. Once you get home, make them your sous chef. They will likely be proud to help out and will be excited to eat what you made together.

While kids can make most homes chaotic, they can also contribute to yours becoming a healthy, peaceful, and happy one. Get them involved in “spring cleaning” your home over the summer. Aside from chores, they can help declutterby going through their belongings (like toys). You can even teach them a thing or two about sharing by donating toys and clothing they no longer need or use.

Have Fun Staying Active

Without school as a part of the routine, summer days can quickly become lazy days. Do not let your kid become a couch potato. Make sure you limit screen time; most experts recommend capping it off at two hours max a day. This applies to educational content, too.

Kids may also experience some stress and anxiety from being housebound for long periods, especially in the ongoing pandemic. Be mindful of this. Encourage them to get outside and have fun. Help them get involved in a fun and active hobby. Even better if you guys can do an activity together like ride bikes or take an evening walk with the whole family.

Though it can often feel like an uphill battle, sticking to healthy habits is well worth the reward. The lessons kids learn now will follow them into adulthood. Plus, when their physical and mental health is boosted, they will have a better summer. Make sure to get your kids the faith-based support they need. Book an appointment with Revive Wellness Group today.

Readjusting to Socialization Post-Pandemic

Since most of us have been locked in the house for the majority of the past year, face-to-face interactions have been limited to members of the household and the occasional pet. Pre-pandemic, social anxiety posed challenges to those introverted individuals who prefer staying in the house to going out. This side of COVID, even the most extroverted individual can find themselves feeling uncomfortable when it comes to socializing. Here’s a few tips to reference when we start intermingling again.

Embrace the Awkward

When you start to put yourself back out there and engage in conversations with strangers, it’s going to feel a little weird. Know a level of discomfort is expected. Take comfort in the fact that you’re responding normally to change, give yourself permission to laugh it off, and keep going!

Be Polite

When having daily interactions, it’s important to be kind. Saying please and thank you, sharing a smile, and speaking with gentleness can ease any tension or awkwardness that may be in the room. You can’t control how others may respond to you, but you can make it a point to share positivity!

Body Language

Communication over cell phones can’t reveal the non-verbal communication humans share. When in a social setting, be mindful of both the body language of others and of yourself. Inward turned-posture generally signifies an individual who is uncomfortable and/or closed-off. Being aware of others’ stances can help you avoid invading someone’s space. Opening up your stance may also make you more approachable.

Speak Up 

While body language is important to be aware of, it is not ideal to rely on alone. Non-verbal cues can sometimes be lost in translation. To assure that your feelings are understood, it is important to accompany your body language with words. In addition to the way you physically react, you have the right and responsibility to verbally express your thoughts, feelings, and boundaries, as well as when someone has crossed them. By speaking your thoughts out loud, your message is more clearly communicated and there is less room for misinterpretation.

Be Yourself

You may be feeling pressured to present yourself as this new and improved version of yourself post-quarantine. The truth is, the best way to present yourself to others is as yourself. You are an awesome individual created in the Image of God! No one can be you better than you. Walk in confidence and reassurance that you are loved!

Helping Kids with Anxiety & Stress During the Pandemic

It’s not a secret COVID-19 pandemic has left the general population grieving major loss:loss of income security, loss of personal health, loss of loved ones, loss of human interaction, loss of normalcy…the list goes on. While adults usually have some type of process to deal with their emotions, some healthy and some unhealthy, children are watching and absorbing all that is going on around them with no idea how to decipher what they are actually feeling. This can lead to major stress, anxiety, and even depression in these young persons. While both adults and children can experience anxiety and depression, the symptoms can look different in children. According to child psychologist Jernigan-Noesi, anxiety in young children can result in reverting back to behaviors they may have previously outgrown, such as tantrums, bed-wetting, thumb-sucking, clinginess, etc. Giselle Rodriguez points out that for adolescents, signs they’re dealing with anxiety can be withdrawal, loss of appetite, over-eating, heightened sensitivity and agitation, etc. If you’re a parent of children experiencing some of these symptoms, know you are not alone, and know there is something you can do to help your children.

Create Open Communication with Children

Providing a safe space for children to express their feelings, emotions, and fears allows children to feel more secure and can lessen anxiety. Additionally, while adults generally know how to put our feelings into words, young children don’t have the vocabulary to do so. Ask them questions like, “What does this make you think of?” or “What does this make you want to do?” Help them identify their anger and fear and work through it in a healthy way. Teach them to replace negative thinking with positive thinking. Showing them they are not alone and are heard are BIG helpers. Also, this creates an opportunity for parents to teach their children about hope–while the future is uncertain there is hope for better times.

Create a Routine

Younger children need routines to help keep them grounded in a type of normalcy. To some extent this may not be possible due to working-from-home, virtual schooling, etc., but keeping morning routines, mealtime routines, and bedtime routines can help them orient to their surroundings. Older children need the stability of routines, too. With age appropriate involvement, figuring out a structured day can help them stay productive and feel more in control. An example would be: wake up, breakfast, school, lunch, chores, personal time, dinner, family activity, bedtime.

Family Time

Facilitate intentional family time for fun activities. This can help grow the relationships within the family, build trust, and raise morale. Maybe even let the children decide activities they would like to do. Physical activity releases endorphins which can help combat depression as well, so finding activities where you can get moving is always a plus!

Social Interaction

Social interaction is IMPORTANT! Humans have a basic need to be social, and it’s no different for the tiny humans. Meeting this need for small children and adolescents will look different and have its own challenges. For young children, allowing them to facetime with grandparents or other child-friends can be helpful. For older children, texting can be beneficial, but it does not replace face-to-face interaction. Organizing facetimes or socially distanced activities with other families better fulfill needs for socialization than text messaging and/or social media. 

Take Care of Yourself

This may seem out of place when we are talking about how to help children, but parents, your children are watching you. These little minds are learning how to cope with their big emotions by seeing how you are, or aren’t, dealing with yours. It’s important that you are creating a safe space for them, but in order to do that you need to know coping mechanisms for yourself. Dealing with stress productively by going on walks or taking a moment to say, “I need a minute to feel my feelings,” is imperative to teaching the younger ones how to cope. Sometimes it’s okay to be sad, mad, or afraid. Allowing yourself to feel these emotions and searching for answers together both helps your mental health and theirs. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

 

6 Tips to Deal with Anxiety by Changing Your Habits

Anxiety is something almost everyone deals with, to varying degrees. For some people, it’s an annoyance that pops up when they’re overly busy or have to do something stress-inducing, like interview for a job. For the most severe sufferers, it can become a vicious cycle, as anxiety over the prospect of having a panic attack becomes the very thing that triggers the attack. If you struggle with anxiety, here are six things you can change about your daily habits to reduce its effects.

DO Sleep At Least Eight Hours A Night

A lack of sleep is a major contributor to anxiety, as your body interprets the lack of rest as an indicator that you’re in physical danger. Getting a solid eight hours of sleep, or more if you can manage, will greatly reduce the feeling of free-floating anxiety that sleep deprivation can exacerbate.

DON’T Isolate Yourself

When we’re struggling with feelings of nervousness, we usually avoid the company of others, withdrawing inward to try to deal with the issue ourselves. The problem with this ought to be apparent — you’re the one with the anxiety, so limiting your dialogue to your own anxiety-ridden thoughts is counterproductive. Instead of isolating yourself, reach out to the people who care about you and let them know what you’re going through. They can commiserate, provide advice, or at the very least remind you that you’renot alone. 

DO Go Outside

As is the case with the previous tip, anxiety often compels us to avoid the outside world for fear of encountering more anxiety-inducing situations or stimuli. But studies have shown that staying cooped up indoors only makes the problem worse. Your lack of exposure to sunlight and fresh air won’t help your anxiety, and will probably make it worse.

DON’T Stare at Your Phone

Your phone can be a retreat from reality, a distraction from the bubbling font of panic at the forefront of our minds, but in the long term, it only makes anxiety worse. The phone can become a security blanket of sorts, and when we depend on the constant stimulation of Twitter or Facebook, we don’t develop healthy strategies for coping with stress.

DO Learn to Meditate

The ancient practice of meditation has its place in many cultures, who have recognized its potential for improving mental health and getting in touch with nature. Believe it or not, meditating can greatly reduce your anxiety. If you have racing thoughts, an app like Insight Timer or Headspace can provide guided meditation, with sounds and instructions to focus on. Many sufferers of anxiety report that a meditation session can head off a panic attack

DON’T Binge on Junk Food

Not only does “comfort eating” have bad effects on your weight and blood pressure, butit can also actually increase your anxiety! The gut-brain connection means that unhealthy foods can lead the body to produce more stress hormones and fewer hormones with the opposite effect. Instead, try incorporating more fermented foods, like kefir, into your diet, as these have been shown to fight anxiety. 

Stress is a fact of life, but severe anxiety doesn’t have to be. Improve your life by taking putting these steps into place today.

Clinicians who provide Counseling for Anxiety:

 

Jordan Daugherty, lcpc, ctc

CLINICAL DIRECTOR

Owensboro

270.926.6957 x 105
jordan@revivecounseling.org

Jordan Daugherty is a Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor and Certified Temperament Counselor serving female clients in our Owensboro office.

 

Meet jordan Schedule an Appointment

 

Kansas Corley, LCC, CTC

CLINICAL TEAM LEADER

Owensboro | Hartford

270.926.6957 x 106
kansas@revivecounseling.org

Kansas Corley is a Licensed Pastoral Counselor and Certified Temperament Counselor serving clients in our Owensboro and Hartford offices.

 

Meet kansas Schedule an Appointment

 

Jeff Harris, lpcc, lcadc, CTC

CLINICAL THERAPIST

Owensboro

270.926.6957 x 104
jeff@revivecounseling.org

Jeff Harris is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, Licensed Clinical Alcohol & Drug Counselor, and Certified Temperament Counselor serving clients in our Owensboro office.

 

Meet jeff Schedule an Appointment

 

cyndi murphy, ctc

ASSOCIATE THERAPIST

Owensboro

270.926.6957 x 107
cyndi@revivecounseling.org

Cyndi Murphy is a Certified Temperament Counselor and Associate Therapist serving clients in our Owensboro office.

 

Meet Cyndi Schedule an Appointment

Your communication style is ruining your relationships

Here’s the problem with all of our relationships – with our spouses or significant others, with family, with friends, and with co-workers: None of us are born knowing how to communicate. In fact, we all kinda stink at it.

As most of us have heard, we all view the world through a different lens. The problem is, we hear everything through different filters too. That means, for example, when your better half says the house is a mess and needs to be cleaned up, he or she may not necessarily be griping at you. Maybe they’re just thinking out loud. But, if you’re always expecting the worse from them, then you’re always going to expect them to be nagging on you, when it’s possibly not the case at all.

Another scenario we may all be familiar with is a conversation between Tom and Ann:

Tom: “Where’s the checkbook?”

Ann: “I don’t know. Why are you always blaming me for everything?

Tom: “Why are you getting so upset? I just asked a simple question.”

Probably sounds a lot like a conversation you’ve had, right? The thing is, it’s not really a “simple” question or conversation. Think about your own relationship. You know that if you’re being asked “Where’s the checkbook?”, or “Why are you acting angry?”, there’s always more to it than the simple question.

The problem is that you’re each reinforcing the other’s communication style

There are a lot of things that could be going on in Tom and Ann’s conversation that we don’t know about. Ann was responding to a number of cues that Tom gave her. She may have felt like Tom’s tone was harsh or blaming. Maybe they’ve had a long-standing argument about where the dang checkbook is. Her response to Tom’s question is fueled by her own interpretation of what she thinks the question means.

If Ann thinks Tom is always overly controlling or blaming, and then hears what she interprets to be a controlling tone, or sees a particular look on his face, she’ll assume he’s doing what he “always” does and treat her poorly.

But Ann’s not the only one to blame here. Maybe Tom also has some negative beliefs about Ann. He likely thinks she’s unorganized or too sensitive, or easily provoked. So, because he’s probably unaware of his tone, he’ll be surprised by Ann’s angry response. This is filtered through his beliefs about her, and he’ll respond accordingly.

Both are trapped in this negative cycle of reinforcing each other’s beliefs by the way they interact with each other. It doesn’t matter how many times Tom has asked Ann about the checkbook, every time she’s probably going to respond poorly. She’ll get upset. And then he’ll get upset.

What happens next? You can probably guess. They’ll either both shut down and refuse to even look at the other person, or one of them will get mad and stomp out.

Why do these simple questions have to be so hard?

And so starts another cycle of the same never-ending argument. If you’re anything like Tom and Ann, these arguments are probably on auto-pilot by now, and all it takes is one person to say the wrong thing, and we’re off to the races. You can probably, at this point, list everything that’s going to be said during the argument and how it’s ultimately going to end. And yet we still keep doing it.

Stopping the negative cycle

To put a stop to this negative cycle, you’ve got to first understand a really important point about the situation you’re in:

It really only takes one person to change a relationship.

Wait, what?

That’s right – the other person could do absolutely nothing and you can still create positive, healthy change in the way you communicate in your relationship. Of course, it’s always nice when both people want to move the relationship forward, but even so, you have the ability and responsibility to make this change happen in your relationship.

Think back to Tom and Ann. What if Tom had reconsidered the way he asked that question? What if Ann had taken a moment to think about what Tom was really asking? Even a split-second of thought and consideration may have made that conversation turn out really differently.

Either Tom or Ann’s change in perception of the other person could’ve taken the conversation in a completely different direction. 

How to put it into practice

Changing the negative cycle in your relationship isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Really, it’s a simple mindset change. Next time you and the person you care about begin to have a conversation that usually leads to an argument, simply consider what what you’re hearing versus what they’re really saying. 

Give the other person the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps they are being a jerk, but just maybe they’re looking to move the conversation forward, rather than allowing it to continue getting stuck.

Dr. Zakk Gammon is a Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor at the Practice Administrator of Revive Christian Counseling.

Zakk works with couples who are tired of feeling stuck, and are ready to make a real, lasting change in their relationship.

Zakk can be reached at (270) 926-6957 or by email at zakk@revivecounseling.org.

CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT.

Loving Your Spouse in a Way That Makes Sense: Improving Communication in Your Relationship

Remember when you were dating, how easy it was to go out to dinner or just spend the evening hanging out together? Fast forward a couples years into marriage and things are very different. The things that your spouse used to find cute are now driving them crazy. And the things you used to do for them don’t seem to be enough anymore.

Perhaps it’s because you’re loving them in the way that you want to feel love, but maybe it’s not the way they want to receive that love. Maybe it doesn’t make any sense to them. 

Think of it like this: you’re speaking to your partner in Spanish, but they’re speaking to you in German. In reality, both of you should be speaking Italian and you get in this endless loop of trying to understand the other person, and then getting frustrated when they don’t get it. 

Watch this video and see what small changes you can make to have a big impact.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwrBUrmax94&feature=youtu.be

Dr. Zakk Gammon works with couples who are looking to make changes in their relationship by learning better communication skills to create a rock-solid foundation. Schedule your appointment with him here.

3 Ways to Keep Anxiety from Ruining Your Holidays

The other day I saw a meme on Facebook that said, “It’s time for me to put up my regular anxiety and put on my fancy Christmas anxiety”. I kind of laughed, but only because it’s so true.

Are you stressed up to your eyeballs right now? This time of year, we see so many folks come in who are completely stressed and aren’t sure what to do about it. They’re trying to get to all the places, to do all the things, to make all the people happy. And yet, they’re miserable. Parents are rushing around trying to get all the junk their kids asked for this Christmas. You’re trying to frantically clean the house so when your in-laws show up they’re not judging the crap all over the floor. Or, you’re considering moving to a far-off island so you don’t have to listen to your mother while you’re stuck at her house for nine hours straight on Christmas Day.

Sound familiar?

The problem is, you’re only wearing yourself out. However, you don’t have to spend this Christmas season completely exhausted. And there is an opportunity to find freedom. Use these tips to make anxiety stop ruining your holidays:

1. Take the pressure off yourself

If you set high expectations for yourself and everyone around you, you’re going to be let down nearly every time. Planning for the holidays is important, but so is being aware that some things won’t go exactly to plan.

2. Most people aren’t paying much attention to you

A lot of times during the holidays, we feel like we have to “play the part”, looking like the perfect host, child, grandchild, in-law, etc. However, most people aren’t staring you down waiting for you to mess up. They’re probably worried about the same things themselves. Give yourself the grace to not be perfect. And that’s okay.

3. Choose to say no

You don’t have to say yes to everything. And there’s a lot of freedom in saying no. If your family gets upset with you over your no, chances are it’s time to put up boundaries with them.

Although some report that the holidays lift their spirits, many people say that the holiday season makes them feel a lot more anxious. Don’t add yourself to those statistics.

Dr. Zakk Gammon is a Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor and the Director of Revive Christian Counseling.

He works with people who a struggling with anxiety and are ready to find practical ways to get break free.

To schedule an appointment, call Zakk at 270.926.6957, email him at zakk@revivecounseling.org, or skip the conversation and click here to schedule an appointment.

It’s time to get your life back.

 

The simple way to rebuild trust in your relationship

One of the most frequent questions we receive at Revive Christian Counseling is from clients who are looking to rebuild what’s left of a damaged relationship. Whether you’re married and have cheated on your spouse, or you’ve done something really hurtful to a friend, the question we’re asked most often is “How do I get them to trust me again?”

The answer is really simple, but it’s probably not the answer that you want.

Rebuilding trust in your broken relationship

The simple truth of the matter there’s nothing you can say or do to instantly make the other person feel better. As you’ve certainly already discovered, there’s no “magic wand” you can wave to suddenly make everything okay. It’s not as simple as just moving on and forgetting the situation happened.

RELATED: Christian Counseling for Affairs

The only way to rebuild trust in your relationship is by being trustworthy

That means you’re going to have to do some things you probably don’t want to do. You’re going to have to be completely honest and open about what you’re doing, what you’re thinking and what you’re feeling. If you’ve cheated or come clean about a sex or pornography addiction to your spouse, you’re also going to have to do some work to reassure them it’s not going to happen again.

RELATED: Rebuilding Trust in Your Broken Relationship

The best way to begin rebuilding this trust is to use some type of accountability software. At Revive Christian Counseling, we recommend Accountable2You(We get no monetary earnings by you using this software; it is simply the one we think works the best.) Accountable2You and other similar accountability apps allow you to setup trusted contacts who’ll receive alerts if you visit inappropriate websites, or send or receive inappropriate text messages or emails.

Many choose to ask their pastor or a trusted friend or mentor to receive those alerts. Some choose to list their spouse as another contact. While there’s nothing wrong with your spouse receiving those alerts, it isn’t a good idea to expect them to be the only person to hold you accountable. They’re already going through a lot of emotions and challenges as they navigate their feelings around what’s happened, and so it’s a bit unfair to add that to their plate as well. Additionally, it forces them to have to be even more vigilant about your actions and who you’re talking to or what sites you’re visiting.

Accept responsibility

When working to rebuild trust in your relationship, it’s important to remember that you have to take responsibility for your actions. No, that doesn’t mean you have to live with immense guilt or shame, but it does mean you have to let the other person know that you’re accepting the blame for what’s happened, and that you’re going to do what it takes to get the relationship back on track.

Back up your words with actions

Now that you’ve accepted responsibility and you’ve come clean about what’s happened, it’s not enough to just say you’re sorry. You’re going to have to do some work to prove that you’re willing to do what needs to be done to rebuild the trust. To do so, remember to be humble, gracious and kind in regard to what they’re going through. Remember to over communicate your thoughts and actions so there’s never any doubt about what’s going on in your mind or what you’re doing. If the betrayal has to do with an inappropriate relationship or with pornography, consider seeking counseling for affairs or counseling for pornography addiction.

Be patient

If you’ve hurt someone else, they’re going to need time to process and understand what they’re feeling. Even if you’ve committed to never hurting them again, they’re still going to feel the hurt and pain caused by your actions. It’s important to remember that while these actions are in your past, it’s very much in the other person’s present as they work to navigate their emotions. Allow them to experience the anger, disbelief, sadness and hurt as they figure out how to begin healing.

Struggling to rebuild trust in your relationship? Give us a call, message us on Facebook, or schedule your appointment right here to begin getting back on track. It’s time to get your life back.

20 Small Things to Make a Huge Difference in Your Marriage

Let’s be honest. Marriage can be hard. Anyone who says marriage is easy has either never been married, or they’ve only been married for about five minutes. Over time, we tend to develop habits in our relationship. Some are good, and some aren’t so great. Whether you’re in a season where the bad’s outweighing the good, or you’re just looking for ways to continually improve your relationship, these 20 small tips can make a huge impact.

Use these tips to improve your marriage, and watch how the relationship changes.

1. Greet the other person with love at the end of the day.

Work sucked. The people sucked. The whole day sucked. You know, every day is supposed to be a gift, but today was probably socks. But when you walk in the door at home, you have the opportunity to hit the reset button, to shift your focus and to recenter on the relationships that matter most. There will be days when you have literally nothing left to give, but those should be few and far between. If you’re constantly expending all your energy on work relationships and you have nothing when you get home, your doing your most important relationships a disservice.

Show your spouse love by greeting them with a kiss, a hug or just a simple smile when you get home. Talk about the things that bothered you during the day, but also take time to enjoy being with the other person.

2. Offer a kind word.

Nothing makes someone feel better after a long day than saying something nice about them. Remind them of why you love them, or something you like about them. Tell them they look nice. Let them know how you thought about them during the day.

3. Give thanks.

It doesn’t have to be huge. Maybe he loaded the dishwasher when he got home. Maybe she started working on homework with the kids. It’s the small things that go a long way. Let the other person know that you noticed, and that you appreciate what they’re doing. A simple “thank you” really makes a big difference.

4. Speak the truth.

Don’t just tell the other person what they want to hear. But also, don’t just tell them everything’s fine when it’s not. Build trust in your relationship by being willing to discuss the hard stuff. It may not be easy, but it will make the relationship stronger.

5. Look for the positives.

Spread positivity in your relationship. Did your spouse have a crappy day? How can you make their day better? What’s something simple you can say to make them laugh or to bring a little sunshine to an otherwise cloudy day?

6. Shrug off the small things.

Yes, it’s true. Your spouse was raised by savages. Those savages never taught them how to squeeze toothpaste from a tube the proper way. Nobody ever explained to them how to put a new roll of toilet paper on the roll. It’s probably physically impossible for them to put their dirty socks in the hamper, or park the car in a straight line in the garage. But it’s important to remember, in the grand scheme of things, those things don’t really matter. Use separate tubes of toothpaste. Put the roll of TP out yourself. Pick up the socks. Put reflective tape on the garage floor so they know how to pull the car in. Seriously – It. Will. Be. Okay.

When we choose to not sweat the small stuff, we’re telling our spouse we are overlooking those small things they do because we love them. And while they may suck at doing those little things around the house, they still love you with their whole heart.

Plus, there are areas you probably suck, too.

7. Snuggle together.

When’s the last time you curled up on the couch or spooned at bedtime? If you’re having a hard time remembering, maybe it’s time to try again. Your spouse will appreciate the attention

8. Serve together.

What’s something you and your spouse both enjoy doing? How to your talents compliment each other? In what ways can you use those gifts in your church or faith community? Despite what the children’s pastor at your church may tell you, not everybody is called to kids’ ministry. And that’s okay. But what other opportunities are there? Can you join the hospitality team? Serve in a soup kitchen? Mentor a hurting family? How can you use the gifts God has given you to find joy and purpose with your spouse?

9. Pray for each other.

Seriously. Stop what you’re doing and pray for your spouse. Even if you’re mad at them, or frustrated with them, or just completely and totally done dealing with them at the moment – pray for them to have a better day. Pray they have a day they enjoy that is satisfying and fulfilling. Pray they feel your love and God’s love. Pray they feel joy.

10. Listen carefully.

Are they telling you about a situation from work? Maybe they got into a disagreement with a friend. Maybe they had the best dang day in the history of ever. Whatever it is, really listen. Look them in the eye. Don’t listen for the sake of responding. Listen to understand them deeper. Ask follow-up questions.

11. Apologize and ask for grace.

Sometimes they suck. Sometimes we suck. Sometimes it all sucks. Maybe you said or did something that was hurtful or spiteful. Ask for their forgiveness and how you can make the situation better.

12. Kiss.

Don’t just say “love you” when you walk out the door mindlessly. Kiss them goodbye. Kiss them hello. Kiss them just because.

13. Laugh at their stupid jokes.

Yes, their jokes are dumb. They think they’re funny. You know they’re not. They probably feel the same way about you. Find the joy anyway. Laugh at the silliness. See Number 5.

14. Give a gracious answer.

Don’t be harsh. Not everything is serious. And even if it’s a serious topic, remember to show grace. For people who are constantly looking for grace from other people, we’re certainly pretty bad at extending it to others.

15. Spend time with just each other.

After you put the kids to bed, spend some time with just each other. Enjoy each other’s company. Talk about your hopes, dreams and plans. Talk about the future and what you want it to look like. Talk about favorite memories of the past. Building intimacy can start with this simple step.

16. Smile at each other.

A warm smile goes a long way. Stop scowling at the other person because it’s 6:00am and you hate people this early.

17. Forgive fully.

As stated previously, we all suck. We all fall short in marriage. Sometimes we say and do things that shouldn’t have been said or done. Those things can’t be changed, but your reactions can. They screwed up, and it hurt. But you don’t have to continue living in that hurt.

RELATED: Four Ways to Help You Forgive Someone

18. Act ridiculous with each other.

When’s the last time you just let your guard down around the other person? Sing an awful rendition of your favorite song. Dance around the living room. Look at funny videos on YouTube and giggle like 16-year-old girls together. Let your hair down.

19. Build each other up.

Tell the other person all the reasons why you love them, and why you fell in love with them. Write it down on a list. Send them an email. Leave it on sticky notes throughout the house. Give the other person a compliment that lets them know you really notice those things.

20. Decide you’re going to love each other.

Not every day is a walk in the park. Life isn’t always paradise. When you’re married to someone else, disagreements will undoubtedly come up. And that’s okay. But it’s also important to remember when you’re in the middle of a conflict, that you are going to continue loving that person even though they’re not really winning at this marriage thing right now.

Marriage isn’t a stagnant relationship. It’s always growing, always changing, and always evolving. Begin looking for small ways to make huge impacts in your relationship.

P.S. – If you haven’t already, download your copy of our FREE resource, 10 Communication Tips to Improve Your Relationship in Just One Week! Download your copy here.

Need some help getting your relationship on track? Call us, message us on Facebook, or schedule your appointment right here. It’s time to get your life back.

How to set appropriate boundaries with people to finally get some peace

Relationships with other people can be hard. Whether it’s in your marriage, with a friend, a family member, co-worker or somebody from church, there are times throughout these relationships when things don’t go the way you want. Conversations get difficult. People are hurt. Sometimes they get angry.

There comes a point, many times, in these situations when you realize your conversations and disagreements aren’t going anywhere and continuing to go round and round is only making things worse. This results in the relationship getting even more damaged, and the more you think about it, the worse it feels.

Eventually, you wind up in a place where you’re just fed up with the relationship, but you’re not sure how to move forward. Is the relationship salvageable? Can things change? These issues in relationships are unfortunately normal, but you don’t have to continue in this negative cycle.

It’s true that a lot of people struggle creating healthy boundaries in their relationships. However, if we can learn how to create boundaries in a way that’s both effective and easy to follow, we can learn to actually enjoy those relationships again. When we learn to put those boundaries in place, it’s absolutely possible to finally find some peace.

Keep reading to learn how to start finding your peace again.

The negativity in the relationship is dragging you down to a place of anger and resentment

The downside of a relationship getting this way is that it just kind of consumes you. You start feeling bitter about the situation. You can become jaded, angry and beginning to wonder why the other person could do this to you.

Or, maybe you go the opposite route, and start feeling really unworthy. Maybe you reach a point that you start feeling bad about yourself and incredibly guilty. It starts to feel like you deserve the place you’re in, and that it’ll never get better.

You might start thinking things like, “How could they do this to me? After everything I’ve done for them.” At some point, maybe you’d just like to walk straight up to the other person and say, “Who do you think you are!?”

You can get back to that place of peace, contentment and joy in your relationship

Although you’re struggling with these negative feelings about the other person and the relationship feels like it’s falling apart, you have the potential to get back to a place where you enjoy being around them again. When we choose to implement these boundaries, we’re giving ourselves the freedom to find happiness again.

Not only do you get the chance to enjoy the relationship again, but perhaps, you’ll be able to make it better than before. Whether it’s a friendship, or a relationship with a family member, or even a co-worker, you can get back to the place where you look forward to talking to them and spending time together.

Perhaps more importantly, you don’t have to continue living with the feelings of anger, guilt, or not being good enough. Instead, imagine a time when you could begin feeling in control of your emotions again. You get the opportunity to take charge of your own life, feeling proud of yourself and get to remember what your worth really is. You finally get to feel respected.

The key to getting to this place is to create those boundaries now so the relationship can move forward

When you’re the middle of emotional drama in these relationships, it can feel pretty hopeless. Not only are you wondering if you can really move forward or if you should just consider it a loss, but you may be mourning what was once there, too.Making these changes isn’t really that difficult if you know how to get started. In fact, it’s a pretty simple four-step process. When you start following them, you’ll begin to see things falling into place.

Take a look at these four steps and begin watching your relationship change for the better.One of the reasons you’re struggling in the relationship is likely because you and the other person haven’t even realized the lack of boundaries and how the situation is unhealthy. It’s hard to take a step back and look at it from an objective perspective. In the middle of a messy relationship, everything is subjective.

Knowing that, it makes complete sense why you’re feeling so exhausted from this situation. Luckily, it doesn’t have to stay this way. When you start implementing boundaries, what you’re really saying to the other person is that you care about them enough to make an effort to create positive change.

Step 1: Recognize the relationship is unhealthy

When you’re stuck in the middle of a messy friendship, working relationship, situation with a family member or in a crappy situation with your better half, it’s difficult to realize how far south the relationship has gone. Taking a step back to create an inventory of the relationship allows you the chance to see it from all sides.

Ask yourself:

  • Am I beginning to dread talking to this person?
  • Do I find myself getting frustrated every time we talk about something?
  • Am I constantly having to bite my tongue to avoid a conflict?
  • Do I sit and stew over the situation without actually finding a way to make a change?

If you answered yes, perhaps it’s time to start thinking about what expectations have been crossed. Is the other person telling you what to do or making comments that aren’t their place to make? Do they feel comfortable saying certain things to you that don’t seem like it’s their business? Are they trying to push you too hard to do something you don’t think is right?

RELATED: Three Ways Setting Boundaries will Help Your Sanity

Step 2: Lay out the expectations

How should this relationship really look? What are you hoping to get out of it? Realistically, what would make you most happy if the relationship moves forward? Have a conversation with the other person and decide: what are your non-negotiables?

  • Is the way they talk to you unacceptable? How do you want them to speak to you moving forward?
  • Do they speak disrespectfully to you? How would you prefer they speak to you in the future?
  • Do they butt in to situations that aren’t their business? How would you like for them to address areas of concern in the future?
  • Do they only focus on themselves and create a one-sided relationship? What can they do to show genuine interest in the things happening in your life?

At Revive Christian Counseling, we help clients to determine what non-negotiables they have by making a list based on their specific situations. It helps to write them down before getting together to have the discussion with the other person. What other questions could you add to this list? Creating these expectations and actually agreeing to them, can help you re-establish the relationship and likely create the one that you should have in the first place.

Step 3: After establishing these new ground rules, check in with the other person to see how things are going

How are you and the other person handling these new boundaries? The thing to remember is that these boundaries can change over time as necessary. Does the relationship feel stuffy now? Does it feel like you’re constantly tip-toeing around to avoid making each other mad, or hurting each other’s feelings?

It’s okay to go back and make changes to the original boundaries, so long as both of you are in agreement with the new rules. If you can’t agree, go back to the drawing board and discuss your non-negotiables again.

Step 4: Understand the consequences when the boundaries aren’t honored

One of the most frequent responses we receive from clients when talking about boundaries is that they’re afraid the other person won’t honor them. The truth is, not everybody will. Sometimes in dysfunctional relationships, the other person will try everything they can to avoid agreeing to the boundaries so they can keep pushing your buttons. Many times, we see this dynamic play out in dysfunctional family relationships, when the people will say things like, “We’re family. We have to stick together,” or,“Why are you treating me like this after everything I’ve done for you. That’s not how you treat family.

RELATED: DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY ROLES: DO YOU FIT ONE OF THEM?

That’s why it’s important to have a plan in place in the event these boundaries aren’t respected. What’ll happen in the relationship if the other person can’t get on board? Some solutions might include:

  • Lovingly, but firmly reminding the person the boundaries set in place.
  • Spending some time considering your role in the situation, and if you’re doing anything that gives the other person the impression they don’t have to follow those boundaries.
  • Taking some time apart from the other person, if and when possible.
  • Coming to the realization that this person may never respect your boundaries, and planning accordingly.
  • Completely disassociating with the other person so that you don’t continue getting dragged down into a negative spiral.

These conversations aren’t easy when you’ve set clear expectations, but sometimes they’re necessary if the other person continues to push you to that negative place.

Setting boundaries can feel difficult when it’s happening, but the peace and joy you feel afterward is well worth the journey.

Achieving healthy boundaries in relationships can be completely freeing. You are worthy of no longer living with anger, resentment, guilt, and low self-worth. You can absolutely reach that point. However, sometimes it’s difficult to do it on your own. And Revive Christian Counseling can help.

We work with people who are tired of feeling stuck in these situations and are ready to move on to finding freedom. We’ll help you to let go of the bitterness, to feel proud of yourself and to finally feel respected.

Are you ready to set boundaries and finally find your peace? Let’s work together to get you on track and find true emotional health. Call us, message us on Facebook, or schedule an appointment here on our website. It’s time to get your life back.