What you tend to and nurture in life will grow and flourish. And remember, better relationships lead to better emotional wellness.
“Love, of course, isn’t limited to just romantic relationships,” said Steve Blake, vice president of Clinical Operations at Managed Health Network, a behavioral health subsidiary of Health Net, Inc. “Our loved ones include family members as well as friends, and these relationships can be every bit as important as romantic partnerships. Valentine’s Day can serve as a good reminder to continually nurture all of the relationships that we value.”
Building Strong Relationships
“Research has shown that strong relationships boost happiness, improve health overall, and lower stress,” Blake said. With these benefits in mind, Health Net is sharing tips designed to help build and preserve strong, long-lasting relationships:
- Reach out. Just as you regularly schedule haircut and other periodic appointments, you similarly need to set aside time for loved ones, and then be sure to keep those engagements.
- Find time. Finding time to spend with family and friends can be challenging, but well worth the effort. See if you can free up some hours by upping your efficiency at home; possibilities include paying bills through online banking services or preparing and freezing several nights’ worth of dinners.
- Make the mundane fun. Spending time with a loved one doesn’t need to be a grand event. Activities as mundane as running errands or going to the gym together can serve as quality time.
- Brighten their day. Every day, ask yourself what you can do for five minutes to help brighten a loved one’s day. Examples may include bringing home your spouse’s favorite dessert or sending a get-well card to a friend who recently had surgery.
- Check in often. Even brief contact helps to nurture a relationship, so if you’re really pressed for time, text, email, or make quick phone calls to loved ones just to let them know that you’re thinking of them.
- Be a good listener. When talking with family members or friends, avoid interrupting or trying to top their story. Maintain eye contact and give your loved one your full attention.
- Achieve work-life balance. If the vast majority of your waking hours are spent working, chances are good that your personal relationships may suffer. Try to set boundaries between work and personal time and then uphold those boundaries.
- Avoid time-wasters. While it often seems like there simply aren’t enough hours in the day, truth be told, many of us spend significant amounts of time on activities that don’t add any real value to our lives, such as surfing the Internet or watching TV. Weed out the time-wasters, and you may find you have ample time to spend with loved ones.
- Express yourself. When was the last time that you told your partner how very much you love him or her, or let a friend know how fortunate you feel that he or she is an important part of your life? Don’t assume that family members and friends know how you feel about them; take the time to actually tell them.