If there’s one complaint that we hear over and over about the challenges of marriage, it’s this…
“How do you find the time and energy to create and keep a great relationship?”
This is such a great question, especially since we all seem to be continually busy and stressed much of the time.
Most of us seem to be on the go non-stop from morning until night–and if we don’t interrupt the pattern, it can take its toll on our bodies, our spirits, our emotions and our relationships.
So what’s the answer?
The answer comes from a surprising source.
Not just athletes– but world class athletes who seem to always win over and over.
They’ve discovered that renewal drives performance.
Whether they realize it or not, the best of the best athletes figure out ways to take mini-rest and renewal breaks–even during matches or games–that will help them to be at their best when it really counts.
Perhaps you’ve seen the tennis pro switching his/her racquet from hand to hand after a point in an important tennis match on TV. Until it was pointed out to us that this switching allowed the arms of his or her dominant hand and arm to relax, we didn’t realize what was going on.
We thought it was just “nervous tension” and we didn’t realize that this actually is a recovery and renewal break that would allow the pro to play at his/her optimum level throughout the match.
At this point, you’re probably wondering what this has to do with finding the time and energy for your relationship.
It’s simple. If you don’t allow yourself to take renewal breaks throughout your day or week, no matter how busy you are, you cannot be who you truly are with those you love–let alone those you don’t.
That’s why the 3 R’s (rest, relaxation and renewal) are so important to you, especially as you try to build and maintain great relationships.
It’s true that we all need some amount of stress to expand and grow but continual stress with no rest, renewal and relaxation time is harmful.
When we are under continual stress, we say and do things unconsciously from habit and past experiences and do not consciously choose how we are going to be in our relationships and lives.
When you consciously make choices about your words and actions and are not muddled by stress, you are able to speak and act from a place inside you that is true.
When you’ve been resting, relaxing and renewing your body, mind and spirit, it’s like you become a “different person” –a better one.
You’re more loving instead of fearful.
More open instead of judgmental.
You’re also kinder and less critical.
This creates intimacy, connection and love with the important people in your life.
Here are a few tips to encourage you to take rest, recovery and renewal time, no matter what’s going on in your life…
1. Breathe deeply
When we get stressed, we forget to breathe. A mini-renewal break can simply be taking a deep breath in and exhaling all of it, emptying your lungs.
Write a note to yourself and put it in your car to remind you to take a deep breath as you sit in traffic or deal with the kids who are arguing in the back seat.
2. Take a 15 minute walk outside or a stretching break
We walk around our neighborhood and we’ve found that even fifteen minutes can make a difference in how we feel.
If you can’t walk outside, take a few minutes to get out of your chair and stretch.
3. Let it go
When something happens that is upsetting to you, don’t hold onto it and mull it over. Reliving the painful memory will only keep you from living your life to its fullest and will separate you from the people around you.
Let it go as soon as you have said what you needed to say. If agreements need to be created around the issue, then suggest that the two of you talk about how to “do it differently” the next time.
“Worry” also falls in this category. Don’t waste your energy and time “worrying” about someone or something. It only creates more stress and agitation inside you.
That thing about worrying about someone else–it usually doesn’t help the other person and can really hurt you if you do it constantly.
Okay, so that’s easier said than done but here’s a tip…
If you want to stop worrying and causing yourself a lot of emotional and physical pain, ask yourself this question that one of our teachers Byron Katie asks…
“Is this my business, your business or God’s business?”
We’ve found that when we ask ourselves this question when we begin to worry, it puts “worry” behind us and we can focus on what we can do about the situation.
Spend your “thought” time on what makes you happy and your heart sing–and not on what you can’t do anything about.
If you focus on loving yourself and others, instead of worrying about them or holding onto grudges, we think you’ll see a big difference in your relationships.
Renewal, rest and recovery may seem to be the last thing that you think you have time for but we’d urge you to re-think that belief.
These 3 r’s are not only absolutely necessary for the health and happiness of your physical body and mental outlook but are also essential to the health and continual growth of your relationships.