Dr. Julie's Blog

Subscribe to my blog to read about my thoughts on relationships, love, marriage, connection and more.

New Year's Resolutions: Make them easier with these tips

 

For those of us who make New Year's Resolutions, we are connecting with a sense of hope that things can be different. It's part acknowledgement that things could be better and hope that we can engineer that improvement in our lives. Really, the hopefulness we feel is a love affair with the potential of what could be.

But, if you're more connected with the hopelessness of setting New Year's Resolutions because you haven't realized the potential of past resolutions or have seen too many others fail to realize theirs, it's okay. Being in touch with the problem of your current situation is often troubling and disempowering because you might not know how you got here or how to effectively change it.

Keep in mind though that the idea, "Things could (should) be better" is the first step in making a change. You have to identify a problem before you can fix it.

If you'd like to be in touch with the hopefulness of a better version of you in 2022 (or if you're already hopeful), here are...

Continue Reading...

💕 3 Communication Tips for an Easier Holiday Season

I recently posed the question, “What’s a positive change you want to make in your relationship?” All the responses I got were focused on communication, everybody wanted to communicate better. As it turns out faulty communication is a top relationship problem.

I couldn’t think of a better topic to address during the holidays. What can be more stressful than arguing during a time when everyone is expected to be bright and cheery?

Here are 3 tips for making your romantic relationship a little less stressful and a little more romantic this holiday season.

  1. Listen more and talk less. Listening is something we think we do easily, but we are rarely actually listening. Instead, we are usually thinking of what we are going to say next. To help you listen better challenge yourself to ask a follow-up question about what your partner just said before you add anything to conversation. Another tip for being a better listener is to focus on how your partner is feeling,...
Continue Reading...

Handling Holiday Stress 💥 If You Are A People Pleaser

Holidays are a magical time of year AND an incredibly stressful time of year. Many of us look forward to our family traditions, holiday parties, decorating, and gift giving. But, in order to do all these things, we feel like we have to squeeze them into our normally hectic, busy schedules AND get it all done with ease and grace. Except, ease and grace are often forgotten in the hustle, leaving us to wonder “Where is all the magic I’m supposed to be feeling?”

This is especially true if you are a people-pleaser and over-giver. You know what I’m talking about. You try so hard to get everything perfect so other people feel at ease and have a good time and you’re left with a few moments of fun and a big mess to clean up.

It doesn’t have to be this way. You can have more ease and grace in your holidays so they feel magical today and in the years to come. It just takes a little planning.

Acknowledge your tendency for high expectations. If you are a...

Continue Reading...

Could being curious help your relationship?

Child’s play is something anyone can do, and yet usually, only children do it. We equate child’s play with something simple and easy. Wouldn’t it be awesome if hard things in life were more like “child’s play?” 

What if child’s play could make something like your relationship easier? Wouldn’t THAT be awesome? Initially, your relationship probably felt like child’s play, but over time maybe that stopped being the case. Let’s spice it up again with something children do well that adults usually don’t. 

Let’s get curious.

Curiosity is something we are all born with and use a lot as children, but as we become adults, it fades away. It is that wonderful state of being open to learning something new, approaching a situation without assumptions or preconceived ideas of how it will go. It is child’s play at its core. There is little fear, no ideas or expectations about how something works or what will...

Continue Reading...

Two Easy Suggestions for Making Valentine’s Day Special

Many people dismiss Valentine’s Day as a Hallmark holiday. But, let’s think about this for a minute. It’s a lot more than just a money-making scheme for a big corporation. Valentine's day has been around since before the Middle Ages. If it has been celebrated in some way for the last several hundred years, don’t you think there might be something to it? 

A little history

Pope Gelasius declared February 14th to be St. Valentine’s Day in 498 (yes, over 1500 years ago). The oldest surviving Valentine’s Day poem was written in 1415. In the 18th century, it became popular to exchange small tokens of affection and handwritten notes. Pre-made cards became popular about 1900. Today Valentine’s Day is the second largest card-sending holiday of the year, following Christmas. This is probably why it is thought of as a Hallmark holiday, but as you can see, it pre-dates Hallmark, by a lot.

Valentine’s Day has remained important because it gets...

Continue Reading...

Lying and Truth Telling for Effective Communication Guide

What lying is and how to tell the truth

Connie could tell something was wrong. Her boyfriend of 5 years seemed more distant but denied anything was going on. When she asked what was wrong, he said everything was fine. Then one day she found a stack of papers he had left out on the counter. The papers were a new rental agreement he had just signed for an apartment in another city. He had not mentioned he was planning to move out and he wasn’t moving to their dream city, Chicago. Why would he rent an apartment, especially without telling her? 

When Connie confronted him, he said he rented the apartment to be closer to work. But as Connie told me more details of their recent interactions and his behaviors it became clear to both of us that he was leaving the relationship. At one point during my conversation with Connie she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “I just wish he’d tell me the truth.”

The truth. What is the truth of the situation? It...

Continue Reading...

The Process of Improving Self-Worth and Confidence + *Free* Building Self-Worth Worksheet

Have you noticed that when you feel disconnected from a primary partnership it naturally generates questions of your value? It’s common to wonder if you matter or what’s wrong with you.

As children, we don’t naturally know who we are or what we are capable of. We learn who we are through conversations with adults who tell us about ourselves. These adults, our parents, teachers, relatives, and strangers, make statements such as “Look at how smart you are!” or “Why can’t you be more like your brother?” or “How hard is it to clean your room?”

If you think honestly about how you regard yourself, it is probably an outgrowth of how the adults in your life regarded you as a child. Feelings like “others don’t appreciate me” or “it’s hard to find love so I might as well put up with what I have” come from a sense of not being valued.

At the same time, it’s easy to imagine how feeling better...

Continue Reading...

Four Life Lessons From My Dog

Meet my German Shepherd, Echo. He’s loyal and bonded to me. He is also protective and shows good judgment about other people. His favorite activity is to catch or fetch balls I throw for him. He does it like it’s his job — with intensity and passion. Echo sets a good example for us all. Here are just a few good things he demonstrates daily.

1. He likes to work and does his job with passion. Even the little jobs, such as catching balls, “hunting” flies, and encouraging me to take a break. Are you doing your jobs with passion? Do you appreciate the meaning of those small everyday, annoying tasks? These small tasks are often the result of abundance in our lives. For example, if you own a car, there is maintenance involved. The annoyance of having to change the oil in the car wouldn’t be there if you didn’t have the resources to own the car in the first place. Appreciate the small, annoying things in your life and do them with passion (or...

Continue Reading...

How Shifting Your Focus Can Change Your Life

I worked at the Portland VA Medical Center for 5 years. There were a lot of good things about that job, but as with any large bureaucracy, there were a lot of things about it that were inefficient, ineffective, and blocked progress. There were policies and ways of interpreting policies that favored some people over others and the institution over patients and staff. There were initiatives designed to make the system better, but which appeared to be designed to be a gold star in some manager’s cap, not a meaning change to the system. But I digress…

Sometime during my 4th year, I knew it was time to leave. It had become clear that I was behind the curve salary-wise and running out of options for finding the kind of work that would really challenge me. I wanted to do more work with women and working exclusively with women in the VA wasn’t an option as there were too few female patients to make that a viable focus. I also wanted to be my own boss, which meant having a...

Continue Reading...
Close

Get free relationship resources

Subscribe to my mailing list and receive FREE resources, the latest offers, relationship advice, and more!