No surprise here, studies show that social connection directly impacts our sense of life satisfaction. We are social beings and we need to connect with others. In Mazlow's Hierarchy of Needs, only survival and safety superseded our need for relationships.
With social media, keeping in contact is easier than ever. In Alan Greenblatt's article on the decline of phone use, he highlights why people are using phones less: privacy issues (especially with landlines), they find phone calls intrusive, and the feeling that immediate response is then required of them—not the case with texting or email. Despite so much contact occurring through our key pads, I still think it is important to pick up the phone, as it is more intimate and engaging to hear a friend's voice.
I get that this isn't easy.
When you have children you are juggling a lot. You are constantly working on relationships with your child, your spouse, your family, and your friends. I think it makes it all the more important to debrief, catch up, and support each other in this crazy world of parenting. Reaching out with a phone call goes a long way.
There are obvious challenges. When I was single and many of my friends had children, I got used to the constant interruptions during phone conversations. As I shared, responses would be intermittently broken by shouts to remove things from noses, pauses to feed and soothe, and questions from a partner as to the location of something. Now that I too am one of the walking wed . . . and bred, connecting through the phone or Skype can be difficult when there is little time or energy; however, it is attainable with lowered expectations and increased tolerance for the benefit of making the connection. Often as a parent, talking on the phone is like a game of tennis with extra balls being thrown in regularly and randomly—a brand new game, but it's still fun to get on the court every once in a while.
And speaking of time, accept that when you haven't spoken in six months, it will be intense trying to get as caught up as possible in a brief conversation. First, we generally rely on other forms of media for the basic catch up . . .
Watched you do the ice bucket challenge.
Liked the updated photos.
Read you changed jobs.
For the actual phone time, my friends and I compare it to speed dating—topics fired at one another, quick responses, and questions volleyed back and forth. We've never spoken faster. We breathe through our diaphragms and move swiftly through the updates. We all understand leisurely conversations are not always available in this age and stage in life. So, although focus and time is a bit compromised, a quick catch up is still worth it.
And, of course, leisurely is nice. So try to plan it! You need/ deserve time to be heard, so put it in the diary! After the kids bedtime, meet on the phone with a tea or glass of wine in hand and give that a try, too.
The Takeaway: Life is more fulfilling when you stay connected. Make the calls, just lower your expectations of a regular great heart to heart. Instead, schedule times for uninterrupted connection, and enjoy the time you have.The phone conversations and the time allowed for them has likely changed, but appreciating them as connections and for the boost they bring should still encourage us to call.
Want to read more posts about strengthening relationships? See The Awkwardness and Rewards of Expanding Your Social Circle and Four Great Ways to Date Your Mate. To address a mild fear of phones, read Making Phone Calls When You Don't Want To.
Please visit my Facebook Page, where I regularly share relationship articles and resources.
Heading to the Blissdom Canada conference this year? Wondering how it will go? If you will make connections? What to wear? You might be experiencing the dreaded conference anxiety—an understandable reaction to not only a new experience, but to the idea of putting yourself out there!
“What you are afraid of is never as bad as what you imagine. The fear you let build up in your mind is worse than the situation that actually exists.” —Spencer Johnson, Who Moved My Cheese?
I met with a client for whom the unknown was terrifying. She had to attend a work conference and envisioned herself going to half of the first session, succumbing to anxiety, and spending the rest of the conference in bed, ordering pizza to her room. She was afraid and imagined the worst.
The trick for her, and possibly for you, is this: take one step at a time. Sure she couldn't imagine making it to a second session, but that was okay. She simply needed to start with the first five minutes. Then she could decide about the next five, and so on. In the end, she not only survived, but thrived attending the first session and all of the following events.
“I’m intimidated by the fear of being average.” —Taylor Swift
Perhaps being average isn't your biggest fear, but low followings, minimal ad revenue, or unique enough content might be.
Try not to compare yourself to others. Someone is always ahead of the game with a book deal or a gazillion followers, and that is okay. People have worked hard to get where they have and you can learn from them! Prepare questions and re-frame the comparison into an opportunity for you to learn and grow. Also remember, reject a scarcity mentality, only you have your distinct voice to offer and there is room for you In the big world wide web.
“Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection...as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, 'Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody.'" —Henri J.M. Nouwen
The fear of rejection can hold us back. We fear no connections or not having our attempts reciprocated. We worry that maybe we really don't have anything to offer. This is a fallacy and it all comes from within.
First of all, silence these negative inner voices. What is the probability that no one will talk to you? Very slim. Also, treat yourself like you would a friend in a similar situation, by reminding yourself of all you have to offer and how valuable you are. You got this!
Secondly, my experience is that Blissdom goes out of its way to help people feel connected. They have systems in place so that people don't feel left out with the ever circulating community leaders. There are also opportunities to get involved even before the conference starts, through location meet ups, twitter chats, discussions on the facebook page, etc. You will meet others who want to connect and might even share your apprehension. Knowing this should pose a call to action for you—be mindful of this and get out there and get to know them!
So, as you get ready to attend the conference, know that the unknown will quickly be known, the comparisons don't matter, and rejection is unlikely.
“Fear is a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life.” —Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.
So let's not lose a second at the conference on boredom, but instead embrace the bliss!
Check out Networking and Women: Why It's So Much More Challenging for more on how to utilize the conference.
Having conference jitters or have some advice to share? I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or visit me at my facebook page.
For more articles, tips, and tricks to help you get organized and make the most of your blog and business visit our BlissDom Canada 2014: How Do You Find Your Bliss? page.
Membership Has Its Perks!
“... never send to know for whom the [school] bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
September always seems a bit daunting. It is frantic with get-ready activity, and full of expectation. It will always be the time of year when I feel the need to get my life together — bigger for me than New Year's resolutions. Even when I had finished school and before I had kids going to school, September meant something was starting. When I anticipate fall, I want to purge and move into organization-mode. My daughter is heading back this year and I am now going through her closet and printing out meal plans.
As the school year begins, it also makes one reflect on change. Each year your little — or not so little — ones are growing up.
Here are 16 ways to reflect, plan, and reduce stress and make this September—the other New Year—the healthiest of new beginnings.
1. Do a self care chart/schedule. Plan nice things to do for yourself daily. Stay tuned for my upcoming video with some how-to suggestions!
2. Fall is dry, so make sure you are adding enough oils to your diet, drinking enough water, and making transitions with your skin routine. Dan Thompson, beauty expert, suggests making these changes in the fall for winter preparation.
3. Take your cue from the sun and go to bed earlier. Dr. Kimberley Foster states that, “In the summer, bedtime tends to get pushed later and later, with lax schedules and longer daylight hours... Try gradually shifting bedtime earlier, by 15 minutes at a time, starting a week or so before school begins.” Her tips were for the kids, but not a bad strategy to get the whole family adapted.
4. Try to journal with morning pages. You can implement this activity today to help with clarity, organization, and creativity.
5. Note what is changing this year that you will mourn—kids starting full days of school, kids growing up, etc. Honour these changes and allow yourself to feel the loss and change.
6. Recognize what you are looking forward to—celebrate the changes, cute boots, fall leaves, apple picking, a more stable schedule, etc.
7. Talk about your relationship and cast vision for the future. Talk together about how it can improve and how you can grow this year as a couple.
8. Discuss back to school, or after holiday worries as a family. Here is a great list on how to address back-to-school anxiety.
10. Compose a morning routine schedule together with your family to avoid the morning school rush stress. Parenting expert Andrea Nair has a great example.
11. Purge. Purging has psychological benefits, as clutter is stressful. Princeton University did a study that showed that a messy environment affects productivity.
13. Get a realistic exercise plan. I often talk to my clients about creating a routine that is not rigid and overblown, which is hard to maintain and therefore guilt-inducing. Since time is difficult to find, here is a condensed workout from Dara Duff Bergeron.
15. Plan some family fun. Fun doesn't have to end just because summer has.
16. Don't over-schedule fall. Make a plan to not take too much on for yourself or your kids.
September doesn't have to be daunting. Use it as a time to remind yourself of self-care, cast vision for your family, reflect on new milestones, and improve upon and implement some old and new ideas.