Saturday, February 19, 2011

Something To Look Forward To

Making plans that you can look forward to is very important to good mental health. My mom has been a travel consultant for many years, and understands this basic human need far more than most people do. It's always fun to hear her explain the importance of celebrating special occasions with a trip,or setting travel goals or traditions. Having a meaningful and satisfying life takes goals, hard work,and structure, but you can't just work all the time, or life can become a grind.Whether your plans involve friends, family, or an activity by yourself, it can be the focal point that gets you through the mundane things.

What are you looking forward to? If there is nothing fun on the horizon, perhaps this is the week to make some plans that you will be able to anticipate.

For families that I work with that are under stress, change, or coping with loss,sometimes beginning to plan a little day outing, or install a new ritual, like Thai food takeout night, or ice cream sundae night, is a sign to everyone that we can lighten up and play together once again,despite what is happening. Having a relaxing weekend ritual, like a Sunday bike ride with a loved one, or doing a crossword puzzle together, could be a little treat to look forward to, and a great way to connect and play together.

Couples also need things to look forward to so that they can keep the relationship fresh. I always like for couples to have a date night coming up, and a weekend away blocked off(without children).Even if it is a month or two away, it still helps add some positive expectation of each other, and makes you enjoy waiting for it!

We have to be careful raising families, that with all the different activities that pull family members different directions, that we have some fun things that connect us on school breaks and weekends. Two of our children are graduating this June;one from high school and one from college. We are planning a family trip this summer that everyone gets to give ideas and input about, and I am sure the months of anticipation are just as exciting and bonding as the trip will be.

Dust off your own bucket list, and make some plans a few months ahead. You will be happier and healthier for doing so. Time is moving swiftly. Now is a good time to make sure you are getting the most out of the time you have.You deserve a little something fun on the horizon.

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