Dr. Julie's Blog

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New Year's Resolutions for Couples: Make this Your Best Year Yet!

It’s the start of a new year, and what better time to make resolutions to improve our relationships? Whether you’re single, committed, or somewhere in between, there are plenty of ways to take your love life up a notch.

Whether it is increasing quality time together or learning better communication skills, there are many ways to ensure this year is the best for your relationship. 

Take Time To Have Fun Together 

Relationships are all about having fun together. Make sure you take time out of your hectic schedules to do something fun and silly, like a hike or play board games together. It could be something as simple as going on a picnic in the park or ordering takeout from your favorite restaurant. The bottom line is that having fun together can help you stay connected and foster an even stronger bond. 

Communicate Effectively 

Communication is key in any relationship, so make sure you talk openly and honestly throughout this year. This means listening...

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12 Romantic Holiday Date Ideas

It's the most wonderful time of the year! If you're in a relationship, there's no better time to show your significant other how much you care than during the holidays. But deciding what to do on a date can be tough—especially if you want to make it extra special. Never fear, we've got you covered. Here are twelve romantic Christmas date ideas to get you in the holiday spirit.

Go ice skating

Being out in the cold and gliding across the ice feels festive. And bonus points if you can make it to an outdoor rink with twinkly lights. If you need to learn how to skate, this date is the perfect opportunity to learn together (and laugh at each other's mishaps).

Make gingerbread houses (and then eat them) 

This one is more fun than your average dinner date. You and your partner can channel your inner child and build a gingerbread house from scratch—or use a kit if you're feeling as adventurous. Once you're done constructing your masterpiece, take a break to enjoy some...

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7 Overlooked Ways to Strengthen Your Relationship Over the Holidays

A holiday can be a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It can also be a great opportunity to spend quality time with your partner and reconnect on a deeper level. Let’s celebrate your relationships. 

From pumpkin picking to attending holiday parties, there are endless opportunities for couples to enjoy each other's company and strengthen their bond. 

Here are just a few ways holiday time can be the perfect time to strengthen your relationship:

It helps you to appreciate each other more.

Taking your partner for granted can be easy when you're stuck in the daily grind. But spending time together during the holidays can help you to remember all the things you love about them. Take time to talk, laugh and enjoy each other's company, which can help you to appreciate each other more.

It gives you a chance to relax and recharge.

The holiday season can be hectic, but it can also be a great opportunity to relax and recharge. Spending time together...

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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...

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💕 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,...
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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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