Relationship stress anyone?


So between the juggle of young kids, two businesses, inflation/recession stress and barely a moment to have a proper relaxed conversation, my relationship with my partner has taken a bit of a beating over the last 24 months… 


As Ram Dass famously said, “If you think you’re enlightened go spend a week with your family”. 


I’d like to add: “If you think you’re enlightened try home-schooling for a year, working, and being relaxed and nice to your family whilst living through a pandemic”. 


As a result, I’ve been thinking about the importance of putting “relationship fertiliser” into the garden of our connection… 


Here are a few practices I’ve been re-visiting:


Carving out intentional time.

With two young kids and two businesses, I find it’s easy to get stuck on the treadmill of daily demands. My attention is often focused on the kids so prioritising time for us as a couple can fall by the wayside. With a little more time and space coming up (yey… back at school!), I’m going to make a conscious effort to prioritise couple time for my partner and I. This might look like scheduling nature walks (even if it means paying for extra support to make it happen).


Boosting affection: 

Extended hugs boost oxytocin and that’s good for connection and good for stress relief. It’s easy for relationships to become transactional in everyday life, so taking the time to intentionally bring more hugs into our day is a regular practice.


The dying meditation:

There is a Buddhist meditation whereby you bring awareness to the fact that you (and your partner) will one day die. Yes, this may sound morbid, but it’s quite a powerful way to enhance appreciation for those in your life and not take our time together for granted.


Communication as a mindful practice:

In those moments when I get triggered and feel frustrated, angry or upset in relationships (whether with my partner or kids), I try my best to consciously stop, take a few deep breaths, and calm my own nervous system down before I speak. It’s a commitment to anchoring in awareness, taking 100% responsibility for ensuring my tone is calm, and offering as much compassion and kindness as possible (admittedly I certainly don’t always succeed, but it’s a strong aspiration!). 


Whether you’re in a relationship or not, how has your sense of connection and the quality of your relationships faired over the past 2 years? 

What could you do to give them some relationship “fertiliser”? 

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"If we wish to be healthy, happy and clear-minded, we need to upgrade our “inner technology”of attention to meet the demands of our increasingly complex world. That's where mindfulness comes in.."




Elise Bialylew is the author of the bestselling book, The Happiness Plan, and founder of Mindful in May, the world’s largest online global mindfulness fundraising campaign.

A doctor trained in psychiatry, turned social entrepreneur and mindfulness expert, she’s passionate about supporting individuals and organisations to develop inner tools for greater wellbeing and flourishing, and offers workshops and training at The Mind Life Project.

Her work has been featured in the Huffington Post, New York Times and on Australian Television. She was recently recognised by the Australian Financial Review as a 2019 AFR Women of Influence.

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