How’s your day? Maybe not so good? Has your year been an absolute shocker? Are you going through a rough patch? Made some major life mistakes? Grieving through separation or death? Feeling on the outer circle, unattractive, a failure or lonely? New to the Sunshine Coast and don’t know anyone? As depression and anxiety continues to rise, I’ve got an idea to support anyone experiencing bad days that extend into weeks.
You may have read the beautiful poem about seasons from Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 that includes, “There’s a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak…”
Is this your worst time? Take even the smallest step to turn toward someone else’s time. Turn your shocking time into your best time by gifting a service to someone. There sure is a time to grieve and be sad, but one wonderful strategy to move from that time is finding the greatest fulfillment in what I believe is inherent in our human design – serving others. Even you have unique talents awaiting to be gifted to others. A neighbour, a stranger or an organisation will be forever grateful for the day you chose to turn your own atrocious, depressing day into your best. This is the day when you put your hand up and extended it to care.
Last week was the 30th year celebration of National Volunteer Week that gratefully honours volunteers. This year’s theme is “Making the World of Difference” and you can too!
Search #NVW2019 online for inspiring memes and stories. Surprise someone in your street with a home-made yummy something, pay for someone’s coffee anonymously, deliver food hampers, work at the soup kitchen, create, craft or build anything required. If you can’t think of anything, check out www.volunteeringqld.org.au. Here are their reasons why you will benefit as it offers the chance to:
Don’t allow adversity to consume you. Consume it by making a world of difference and one step closer to your time to dance.
Joanne Wilson is the weekly columnist for the Sunshine Coast Daily Weekend magazine, weekly Friday morning radio co-host on Salt106.5, professional relationship counsellor and certified neuropsychotherapy practitioner of TheConfidante Counselling. She is based on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland - Australia. You can contact her at: www.theconfidantecounselling.com or email HERE.
Food, glorious food! It’s the Noosa Food and Wine Festival next week and I’ll be there with bells on! The festival will play host to over 200 chefs, producers, winemakers and journalists with a passion for gourmet food and wine. We will be able to taste unique ingredients, watch demonstrations by leading chefs and take part in beach BBQ’s and the festival’s annual beach party. Bring it on, let’s UTF – Unite Through Food.
It got me thinking! Food is one of the wonderful necessities of life. We eat throughout our marriage and relationships and well, every part of our lives. Does Australian culture use this shared experience to strengthen our relationships, say like the Italians?
You may well have done the exciting and romantic dates in the early days at your favourite restaurants or on the beach as you gazed hopefully and lovingly into each other’s eyes. What about the every-day upkeep of our relationships?
Some of the best conversations you’ll have will be over a meal. It’s universally acknowledged as a great time to discuss a variety of topics, even difficult ones. Don’t underestimate the psychological and emotional benefits, namely social connection, intellectual stimulation, relaxation and romance.
Here’s my top tips for curating culinary cohesion for couples:
Give up multi-tasking. Hands up who eats in front of the TV or accompanied by a screen? Thought so. The trap of living under an unnecessary sense of urgency to be entertained, work and of course be ever present on social media can put you in chronic toxic stress and make you sick, including terrible indigestion! Turn off the screens and allow meals to be the perfect time to talk about your highs and lows. It will also slow you down and eat less.
Invest the time in home cooking. Savour the satisfaction of creating a dish and likewise having your partner prepare something for you is something you can put loving care and effort into. (Hello husband, I hope you’re reading.) Sure, it’s still a meal, but when it’s made with love, it’s super special and tastes oh so much better! It’s like a tiny, tasty gift at the end of a long day.
Can’t cook? Try learning. This is the perfect joint activity. There are awesome options to do this together here on the Sunshine Coast. Putting in the effort to improve yourself for the sake of your relationship shows a great deal of love and dedication.
Create the mood: Arty and bright or warm and dark tonight? Use those funky little string lights, draw something, use aromatic candles and swoon to the music. Want to feel sophisticated? Throw on some classical. Tweak the atmosphere in your house and bang - date night is on.
Relax and enjoy yourselves! Just because you switched off technology doesn’t mean you need to be super formal. Sit back, relax and chill. Why not kick back on the floor whilst eating for a change? If there are little munchkins in the house, they’ll love a snackable spread on a blanket. Plenty of other cultures do it.
Make it habitual: It’s all wonderful to now decide to “eat together more often.” Why not hand write a specific goal, ie “Eat together as a family at the table three times per week on a Tuesday…”. Paste this up on the fridge for ALL to see and practice, practice, practice. Keep each other accountable and after 30 days, it’ll be the start of the norm of UTF for you!
Just another heads up for your calendar! There’s the inaugural The Curated Plate culinary festival between 8-11 August so head online to grab your tickets.
See you on Noosa beach next weekend! I’ll be the one with the empty plate.
Joanne Wilson is the weekly columnist for the Sunshine Coast Daily Weekend magazine, weekly radio guest on Salt106.5, professional relationship counsellor and certified neuropsychotherapy practitioner of TheConfidante Counselling. She is based on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland - Australia. You can contact her at: www.theconfidantecounselling.com or email HERE.
You’re sick of fighting. It’s a never-ending merry-go-round of ‘He-said’, ‘She said’, ‘You did this’ and ‘No, I didn’t.’ Sound familiar? If it does, it might be time to work on your ability to forgive.
Do you ever wonder why some people who yet having experienced incredible adversity, come out the other end joyful and kind? It seems one key difference in these individuals is forgiveness. Whether they chose to forgive themselves or their perpetrators had a great deal to do with what followed in their lives. Those that choose anger and hold their grudges seem bitter and tortured their whole lives.
The decision not to forgive can be toxic – both to yourself and to your relationship. I recently wrote about coping with your partner’s family and friends and this is often an area where you’re challenged to forgive freely.
I am fascinated by the numerous studies that have shown that we when don’t forgive and revisit our memories of the supposed wrongdoing, a fear response is produced in our amygdala (the part of our brain responsible for our emotions). This response causes a release of stress hormones which increases our heart rate and blood pressure. If we keep holding on to our betrayals and anger, this response remains active, putting us at risk of developing stress-related illness both mentally and physically. Unforgiveness keeps us awake at night and keeps the perceived wrong-doer living rent-free in our head for far too long.
Forgiving is not easy. Just like any other difficult or new task, you need to learn how to do it with repetition and consistency. For the sake of your own emotional well- being, as well as that of your partner - it’s worth it.
If you struggle to forgive, these five tips may help:
1. Slow it down
Ensure you are not in a heightened emotional state. Allow 20 minutes to slow your heart rate down then ask yourself these questions to provide a clearer perspective: ‘How is he/she feeling right now?’, ‘Are they justified in their actions?’, and ‘What is my part in this?’ Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is no easy task - especially when it comes to your spouse.
2. Switch Off the Nasty Voice
We all have an inner voice, and sometimes it doesn’t play nicely. When we fight, its critical nature comes to the fore, spewing forth things like ‘He’s trying to manipulate you.’ or ‘She’s twisting your words again.’ or ‘Just ignore him. You’ll feel better that way.’ All of this is counter-productive to forgiveness. In the heat of emotion, replacing these with kind and respectful self-talk is paramount to moving forward and playing fairly.
3. It’s a choice
Rather than holding on to all the little things your partner has done, (and I know you know what I mean – that vast catalogue of their wrongdoings stored in your brain!) you must learn to choose to leave it behind you. You will have conflict, that is human nature. Don’t hold onto the upsets. Work through the current issue through listening and validating and grow together from it.
4. Ditch the Baggage
Like it or not, your childhood and parent/carer relationship role models play a big part in the relationship you have with your partner. Perhaps you had a parent who used silence to let you know they were angry. Consequently, each time your partner is quiet, you find yourself wondering ‘What have I done?’. Your partner may just be tired and having a quiet moment. Work out where your fear stems from, put it into context and evaluate your behaviour from this logical, rational standpoint.
5. Who will win?
When you’re in the thick of an argument, it’s very hard to ‘see the forest for the trees’. You lose track of the goal of being on the side same (a tenet of any good partnership) because you’re so concerned with winning. But for you to win, your partner needs to lose. Is this the outcome you truly want?
Set the example on the goal of cooperation and commitment to flexing your forgiveness muscle and watch your relationship pump with synergy!
Joanne Wilson is the weekly columnist for the Sunshine Coast Daily Weekend magazine, weekly radio guest, professional relationship counsellor and certified neuropsychotherapy practitioner of TheConfidante Counselling. She is based on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland - Australia. You can contact her at: www.theconfidantecounselling.com or email HERE.
Joanne will be your Confidante, enabling you to speak freely in complete confidence and serenity. An integrated approach tailored to your specific needs will be utilised.
Relationship Specialist for Individuals and Couples servicing areas including Caloundra, Noosa, Noosaville, Buderim, Mountain Creek, Gympie.