5 Ways To Maintain A Healthy Relationship With Your Husband and Keep the Romance Alive

The wedding is over, the rice has been thrown and now the question is How do you maintain a healthy relationship with your husband?

It’s a very good question and a very important one. One that many newlyweds don’t ask and should.

Marriage is wonderful but it lasts a long time and that time isn’t always, or even often, easy. So thinking ahead about how to maintain a healthy relationship with your husband is very important.

So how DO you maintain that relationship?

#1 – Create a good foundation.

A good foundation is important for every structure and a marriage especially.

The habits that you develop as newlyweds will carry you forth throughout your marriage. In fact, if there are things that you are hoping will change once you are married, forget it. We only become more of who we are the older we get.

What are important pieces of a good foundation?

On the most basic level, trust is essential for every marriage. If you can not trust your partner to be honest with you, to be there when you need them, to know that they will always look out for your best interests, then you may as well be alone. Because if you can’t trust your partner, who can you trust?

Another key piece of a good marriage foundation is mutual respect. It is impossible for two people to work well together if they don’t respect the other person. If they don’t respect their morals, their values and their work ethic. So make sure, early on, that you respect your partner and that he respects you back.

A third piece is knowing that you both recognize that you are a now a pair, that by getting married you have formed a new family.

Both of you come from individual families but now you are creating a new one. And that new one needs to be the priority. Sure, either mother-in-law might like things to be a certain way, but it’s important that you both realize that your new family is the priority and that it is clear to others.

So set a good foundation for your marriage. It will be important that you do so going forward.

#2 – Be aware that kids are going to change everything.

Getting married is often followed by having children and I often wonder, if people really knew what having children was like, would they reconsider?

There is nothing harder on marriage then the arrival of a child. Suddenly the woman’s priorities are totally redirected, away from the man who has been her life for years and towards this little helpless creature who she is biologically hard-wired to protect.

Right after my daughter was born my mother made us two sheet pans of lasagna. We froze them for when she went back to Virginia. I remember my husband coming home from work one day and, upon learning that we were having lasagna AGAIN, he stalked out of the room. I seriously thought I would never be able to cook and take care of a baby so I burst into tears.

And of course, as children grow, their demands on the family become greater and by their teen years their parents are exhausted and often estranged from each other. They live in the same house but that’s it. The couple is gone.

It is essential that parents take time to spend time with each other during the chaos of raising children. Do fun things together, talk about subjects outside of the family, laugh a lot. If you don’t you will completely lose who you are as a couple and be only Mom and Dad.

So don’t forget your husband in the fray of raising your amazing children. You will be glad you did.

#3 – Treat each other with respect.

Nothing is worse in a marriage than when respect is gone. When respect is gone it is replaced by contempt and no relationship can survive when there is contempt.

If you spend time with any couple who has been married awhile you will know what I mean. One person’s habits have become too much for the other person and it is very clear.

My ex-husband used to often come home late from work. At first I begged him to be home in time for dinner. He tried but most often failed. I got increasing frustrated and starting losing respect for him. I eventually stopped asking him and eventually started telling him that he was rendering himself irrelevant. That we didn’t need him home for dinner anyway.

How great did that make him feel? He is my ex-husband, you notice.

#4 – Make sure your sex life is working.

Sex is an essential piece of any healthy relationship. It is important that every couple maintain a certain amount of intimacy to keep connected.

What is very important about married people sex is that it works for both people in the relationship. If he wants to have sex 5 days a week and she doesn’t want to have sex more than once, then a compromise must be made so that you can both be satisfied.

If she has sex with him more than she might like he will be satisfied but she will not be because she will be resentful about what she feels forced to do. If they only have sex once he might get resentful that that is all he gets.

So have a discussion with your spouse. Make sure that both of you are happy with the amount and quality of the sex you share.

It could be the glue that holds you together.

#5 – Talk about money.

This is the holy grail of taboo subjects in a marriage and one of the top reasons that marriages fall apart. Many people can not talk about their finances without it descending into chaos.

Money is a difficult topic, whether there is too much or too little, and couples can rarely talk about it without fighting. How much a salary is, how much it costs to run a family and keep a house, spending money on self care, putting money away for savings. All are difficult topics and allocation for each of those areas is up for discussion at any given time.

The happiest couples I know are ones who have the tough talk regularly. Is the way the money being spent working for everyone? If not, what can be done to change that?

The key is working together, as a couple, to make the finances work for the whole family.

Try it. The conversation might be difficult but it could save your marriage.

So there are the 5 essential ways to maintain a healthy relationship with your husband.

I can not repeat enough how important it is to spend time early in your relationship setting a good foundation as a couple.

Learn how to talk about difficult things, like money and sex. Put yourselves first over your extended families. Make spending time together a priority. And never stop laughing.

Marriage can be wonderful. Do your best to keep it that way.

 

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

5 Things I WISH My Parents Had Told Me – Even Though I Know They Did Their Best

One thing I know more than anything else is how hard it is to be a parent. We are thrown into the job with no training and it’s a total crap-shoot as to how successful we will be.

I know that back in 1965 when they had me, my parents had nothing but good intentions. I also know that they were young and inexperienced and didn’t necessarily have the best role models in their own parents.

All that being said, there are definitely some things I wish that they had told me, things that I would not have had to figure out on my own.

Here is my latest – 5 Things I WISH My Parents Had Told Me – Even Though I Know They did Their Best.

#1 – Marriage is complicated.

So here is the thing. I knew from observation that my parents’ marriage was challenged. I knew that my mom put my dad firmly behind the kids and the dogs on her priority list, that she snapped at him easily and that he retreated into his office soon after we had dinner.

What I didn’t know was WHY all of this happened. I went into my own marriage with the knowledge of how my parents treated each other but I had no idea how, in the context of marriage, to prevent it from happening.

Before I knew it my husband was firmly behind the kids and the dogs on my priority list, I treated him terribly and he retreated into his office nightly. And, like my parents, we ended up divorced.

I wish my parents had sat me down before I got married and really talked about their experiences in their marriage. What they would have done differently, what they have learned in the ensuing years. I have already talked to my 20 years olds about what happened in my failed marriage, not placing blame but talking about circumstances and being human.

#2- Fidelity is important.

Fidelity was not a theme that played out in my parents’ marriage. It was the 70s and women had just entered the work force and at-work relationships were becoming more and more the norm. And it wasn’t just my dad who strayed….my mom fell back in love with a man she knew before she was married.

So the model for me when I was in my teens, in those super important years where we learn, from the example our parents set, about how love and relationships work, was two parents who weren’t committed to each other. And two parents who were lying to each other and to us about this very important thing.

I have to admit that, perhaps because of this example, fidelity has not been something that I have always practiced in relationships. I know that it has played a great part in why I have had so many failed ones. I just haven’t been able to commit to anyone in a way that makes for fulfilling, long lasting love.  I am learning but it would have been a huge gift to know how to do so a long time ago.

#3 – Mental illness runs in the family.

I spent a substantial part of my life depressed. I lived with a constant sense of hopeless and despair. I hated every part of my life and didn’t understand why anyone would want to live. I didn’t know that I was different from everyone else…I thought that everyone hated living as much as I did.

My mother used to come up to my room and yell at me because I didn’t ever want to leave it. She accused me of being rude and lazy and selfish.  She would berate me for being shy at social functions and for sleeping so much. It was not fun to be me.

When I was 42 I was diagnosed with Bipolar II disorder. When I called my mother to tell her she said Oh, your grandfather and your great grandfather both had Bipolar disorder. Seriously?

What a gift it would have been all those 42 years if I had had a name for how I was suffering. Perhaps I could have been treated and my life might not have been the hell that it was for so many years. But mental illness was not something that was talked about back then. I so wish it had been.

Do you want to talk about things your parents didn’t say? I will listen!

#4 – Don’t have sex with someone just because they want to.

I don’t ever remember having the love/sex conversation with my mom. I am guessing we had it but perhaps not. What I do know is that she never told me that I needed to enter into the world of boys and sex with caution.

When boys discovered me I was young, naïve and starved for love. My dad had recently moved far away with his new wife. I was lost and confused and lonely. And then boys appeared.

There is nothing like a teenage boy to make a teenage girl’s head spin. One was so charming and attentive and full of compliments. I took his attention in like a starving refugee. And when he wanted something from me in return for his attention I was happy to oblige. He really, really liked me, after all, so why not let him do what he wanted.

My relationship with this boy was over soon after and I was left adrift, lonelier than before. A teacher took me under her wing and explained to me that what I had was precious and that I had to treat it that way. That I had to have respect for myself and not let anyone take anything away from me unless I wanted to give it. I was confused at first but her I soon understood and going forward I was careful to not let any boy get the best of me.

#5 – It’s all about forgiveness.

My mother was the queen of holding a grudge.  She loved people madly but if they crossed her she was done with them. The list of people who “aren’t invited to my funeral” was quite a long one. My dad was on it. And my ex-husband. She would never get over the wrongs that either one of them had done to her and to those she loved.

This example did not serve us kids well. We learned to judge people for their actions and to not look at them with compassion and understanding of their humanness. As a result we lost friends and lovers in our belief that we were always right and that those who had hurt us should be cast out.

It is really only now, in the aftermath of being left by my husband and the ensuing messiness, that I have learned to understand that we are all doing the best that we can and that to forgive is the best way to be able to move on in a healthy way.

My mother died of pancreatic cancer at 72. I truly believe that at least some of her tumor was the result of hanging onto so much anger and resentment for so long. Not letting go of bad feelings is unhealthy not only for our minds but for our bodies.  If we can release them they will not fester and cause damage.

So there you go – my 5 Things I WISH My Parents Had Told Me.

Our parents really do the best that they can with what they are given. No one gives us a manual about how to parent as we leave the hospital with our newborn. All we know is what we already know. And we do the best we can with that knowledge.

What I do know is my parents loved me and took care of me and made me, at least in part, into the person that I am today. And for that I am thankful.

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

5 Ways I Helped Change a Client’s Life – Even Though She Was Skeptical That I Could Do So

I have a client who was gifted 3 life-coaching sessions by her sister. While she truly appreciated the gift, she was rather insulted that her sister thought that she needed a life coach.  She wasn’t really happy, she thought, but she was fine.

One month later, though, is she happy that she found me. She says that she was very skeptical coming into working with me because she had been seeing therapists for years, to no avail, and then, in 3 short weeks, her life was on a completely different track.

Here is my latest: 5 Ways I Helped Change a Client’s Life – Even Though She Was Skeptical That I Could Do So.

#1 – I provided insight.

During our first session my client told me about how miserable she was. She was unhappy in her job, her marriage was floundering, she wasn’t able to exercise because of an injury and she was drinking too much. She felt hopeless.

She also told me that she had just weaned herself off of her anti-depressant. That she had reduced her dose for 3 months and she was on her second week of no meds at all.

I put two and two together and asked when her overwhelming feelings of hopelessness had started. She said about 2 months earlier. “So just about when you started weaning off your meds?” I asked. She thought about it and agreed with me.

I suggested that she ask her doctor about going back on her meds, perhaps at a lower dosage, to see if it made any difference with her negative feelings. And guess what? She did and it did.

Without me there to listen and point things out objectively, with no agenda, like a relative might have, she might not have seen that her lack of meds was affecting her so. Nor, without the meds, would she have been able to start the other hard work that we began next.

#2 – I held her accountable. Big time.

During one of our sessions we started to talk about her drinking. She was on a cleanse and when she was done she was determined that she wouldn’t go back to her regular drinking habits. She recognized that she probably had a drinking problem but wanted to try to control it on her own.

We then talked about her calling her primary care doctor to get the name of an alcohol counselor. “Just get a name,” I told her.  It would be a first step towards stopping her drinking, something that I knew was important to her because she didn’t want it to affect her kids.

One week later I checked in. She responded that she was great and that she hadn’t contacted a counselor and could she put off our appointment for two weeks so she could get some things done?

I told her no. That I wanted to talk with her on Monday, even if just for a few minutes. And what did she do because she knew that she was going to talk with me? She not only made an appointment with a therapist but she went to it before we talked.

She was feeling so great when we talked. She had much hope after her therapy session. And she thanked me for pushing her into doing it.

#3 – I helped make her career clearer.

My client has a job that suits her needs. She likes what she does, works hard enough and has summers off. But she is approaching 30 and wants to make sure that she doesn’t let her career life pass her by without being all that she could be.

But what would that look like? Being all that she could be?

I had her make a list of everything that made her heart sing and then I had her read it back to me during our phone call. After she read that list we started talking about possible career options. Because she had just read a list of what made her heart sing her mind was clear and wide open. And we used some of those things on her list to identify a career move.

And guess what? We landed on one. A good one. Her homework was to take the first step towards making it happen.

As we were wrapping up she said “Can I tell you something? It’s almost embarrassing. I make these little kids bracelets and I would love to make them and sell them on Etsy.”

“What a great idea,” I replied and gave her some ideas for getting started down that path as well.

If she hadn’t felt comfortable enough to trust me with that little pearl of wisdom it might never have popped out of her mouth and come to fruition. And she was so happy it did.

#4 – I taught her how to talk with her husband.

My client has a very good relationship with her husband overall but communication had broken down, like it does in many long-term relationships.

They had some things to talk about and she had no idea how to broach them.

I taught her that the most important part of communication is to talk not about how the other person is acting but how their actions make you feel. Another person can not get angry with you because of how you feel but they can get defensive about what they perceive is an attack on their character.

I also taught her that timing was everything. That if she wanted to talk about their drinking I suggested that 9:00pm, after a few cocktails, was not the best time. 9:00am after coffee might be better.

Armed with these new tools she set out to have a constructive conversation with her hubby and have one they did.

#5 – I taught her how to believe in herself.

We are all our own worst enemies. We catalog all of our worst traits and transgressions and trot them out whenever we feel it necessary. As a result we tend to really not like or believe in ourselves.

I had my client keep a running list of daily successes. Big and small.

Getting out of bed. Not yelling at the kids before breakfast. A great meeting at work. Not having three slices of pizza for lunch but only two. Getting off the couch and going for a walk after dinner.

Successes, big and small.

I then had my client read her list of successes every night before bed. So she could sleep on them and remember them. That way those successes would be foremost in her mind, as opposed to her failures, and then she could trot them out when needed.

Believing in herself has allowed my client to move forward in her life, working on her relationship with her husband, growing her career and dealing with her drinking with more self-confidence.

And self-confidence is the key to success.

So there you go, my 5 Ways I Helped Change a Client’s Life.

We all have issues in our lives and we all find them difficult to deal with. We have the support of friends and family but more often than not they just want to support us, to tell us what we want to hear.

But not a life coach. A life coach will tell you what she sees, objectively and professionally, and hold you accountable for plans that you make. She is the guardian angel who sits on your shoulder and reminds you that you are wonderful. She is the wonderland elf who gives you tools to succeed. She is the fairy godmother who helps make all of your dreams come true.

Sounds pretty wonderful doesn’t it?


Let me help you make BIG CHANGES in your life.

Contact me NOW and I can help!


 

 

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

5 Things You Can Change to Be Happy – Even If Change Scares the $*%& Out of You

Change. Many of us dread it. We are plodding along just fine so why do we need to change anything? Change just causes stress which only leads to more unhappiness. Right?

Ask yourself if you are really happy. If you got hit by a bus tomorrow would you go to the other side with no regrets? Have you lived a life that made your heart sing?

If your answer to my question is yes, well done!

If your answer to my question is no, read on.

Here is my latest: 5 Things You Can Change to Be Happy – Even If Change Scares the $*%& Out of You.

# 1 – Your thoughts.

You know those pesky thoughts that incessantly course through your head? You know the ones. The ones that tell you aren’t enough. Not pretty enough, not smart enough, not successful enough.

Yes, those thoughts. The thoughts that are holding you back.

Did you know that letting those thoughts run rampant through your head does only one thing – allow those things to become your reality. Running negative tapes manifests negative outcomes. Running positive tapes manifests positive outcomes.

It’s time to change those thoughts. It won’t be easy but with a little determination you can bring about big change.

One of my clients had spent a lifetime telling herself that she just wasn’t worthy of love. A variety of factors had led her to believe this to be true and because her brain consistently reinforced her belief she had a hard time finding someone to love her. And not finding love reinforced her belief that the words in her head were true.

I challenged her to challenge those thoughts. To talk back to the negative thoughts and provide evidence that they just weren’t true. When she thought that no one ever loved her I encouraged her to make a list of those who had. Her various boyfriends throughout the years, her parents, her friends, her kids, the barista guy who had flirted with her for years. Those people liked and loved her. Happily.

She kept this list easily accessible and when that dreaded thought reared it’s ugly head she referred to the list. Gradually that thought in her head, being starved of reasons why it was true, became much quieter.

And then, armed with her new feeling of self worth, she flirted back with that barista and it looks like she just might live happily ever after.

#2 – Your mind.

Ok, so you have a disagreement with someone over something big or small. Politics. Who left the toilet seat up.The color of the sky. Which is better, crunchy or smooth peanut butter. Everyday stuff.

That disagreement gets heated and there is just no settling the difference of opinion. You both stalk off in a huff.

Sound familiar?

How important is it to you to be right all of the time? Are you capable of looking at both sides of an argument and maybe being swayed to change your mind?

Being able to change your mind is a powerful thing. It is not the weakness that some might see it but really a great strength.

I have a client who always had to be right. In any and every conflict she dug in and insisted that it was her way or the highway. As a result her relationships were struggling. Her spouse spent most of his time working on his golf game, her teenagers only talked to her when they needed money and she knew that her co-workers avoided her.

It was only when I started pointing out to her how many times in one hour she said “but I was right” did she start connecting the dots. Her desire to be right was alienating her from all that was good in her life.

My client made a conscious effort to change her behavior: she decided to start picking her battles. Things that weren’t as important to her she would let go. Who left the toilet seat up? Who cares. The color of the sky? Who knows. Smooth or crunchy? Oooh, that’s a tough one.

As a result of being able to change her mind my client became a lot more pleasant to be around and her loved ones returned. She learned, the hard way, that not being right all the time felt a whole lot better than being right and alone.

#3 – Your habits.

Yes, we love our habits. And we all have many of them. Habits are very comfortable and allow us to go through our days on auto-pilot.

Habits can be anything. Eating the same breakfast everyday, always driving the same route home, stopping for a doughnut before picking your kids up from school. Habits. Like a comfy pair of slippers you can wear all day.

I am not suggesting that you break your habits completely but a little shifting can make a big difference.

Try eggs instead of cereal for breakfast one morning – you could find they give you more energy for your day. Drive a different way home from work and you might find the Thai restaurant of your dreams on that alternate route. And, while doughnuts are yummy, there is a whole world of sweet junk food out there to indulge in on your way to school. Ever tried a Yodel? It will change your life.

Try it. Change things up a little. See what you discover in the process.

#4 – Your relationship.

I can’t tell you how many clients of mine stay in a relationship WAY past it’s expiration date. Past the point where it is full of love and joy and healthy companionship. Instead they live in relationships that make their every day a sad place, a place that causes them to be depleted instead of fulfilled.

We stay in relationships for many reasons. Because of the kids, because of finances, because of the mistaken belief that we will never find someone else to love us. All of these reasons are valid and worth consideration. But just for a minute, consider this…

Imagine waking up in the morning next to someone who makes your heart beat faster. Imagine holding hands with that person walking to the subway, talking about your upcoming day. Imagine a lunchtime phone call from that person who just wants to hear your voice. Imagine the feel of your heart skipping as that person walks in the door at night. Imagine that person wrapping themselves around you as you drift off to sleep.

How do all of those imaginings make you feel? If they make you feel good, deep down to your core, pay attention to that. If that’s not how you feel about the relationship you are in right now it’s time for a change.

Because, really, wouldn’t being really and truly loved in 2017 be a wonderful thing?

#5 – Your friendships.

Yes, our friendships are incredibly important. A good friend can make all of the difference getting through good times and bad. I know that I have a friend for every mood and am incredibly thankful for each of them.

On the flip side there are those friendships that are not fulfilling. Those friendships that are one sided, or two faced or life sucking. It is these friendships that need to be considered.

I have a client who had a life-long friend. They grew up together and then settled in the same town to raise their kids. A few years back my client’s friend started having trouble in her marriage. My client was there for her friend, letting her rant about her husband’s behavior and accompanying her for dinners out so she wouldn’t have to go home. That’s what a good friend does, after all.

My client began to notice that her friend started criticizing my client’s marriage. She would point out issues with my client’s husband and their relationship. She would get angry when my client wouldn’t recognize or acknowledge those issues. My client started getting paranoid about her relationship, wondering if something was happening that she just wasn’t seeing. She was a mess.

After working with me she started to see that her friend was projecting her helpless unhappiness onto my client. My client had to choose to walk away from the friendship. It was painful but it had to happen. For my client’s happiness and the health of her marriage.

Interestingly, when my client pulled away from her old friend that friend, missing an outlet for her anger, was able to take a clearer look at her marriage. This clearer look allowed her an opportunity to actually do something about it. And she did.

So there you go, my 5 Things You Can Change to Be Happy.

2017 is upon us. Another new year and another opportunity to live the life of your dreams. And the best way to do that is to start approaching your life differently than you have been approaching it thus far.

Albert Einstein said that you shouldn’t try to “solve problems with the same consciousness that created them.” If you are unhappy in certain areas of your life it’s time to make some change. Change that will allow you to approach that issue in a new way. A way that might actually be effective.

Imagine living the life of your dreams. A life full of everything that you have ever wanted. You can make this happen by simply having the courage to make some changes.

You can do it! You are worth it!

Looking for more ways to bring about change? Contact me and I can help.

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

5 Things To Do Now that the Election is Over – Even If Your Candidate Didn’t Win

This election has been unlike any in recent memory. The candidates are universally not liked, their interactions have been less than civil and their positions on the issues are as far apart as they could be.

To make matters worse, the election has had a huge effect on every American. Friends are turning against each other, marriages are being strained, work places are full of tension. Anger and distrust is pervasive.

But now the election is over and, no matter who won, life goes on. Things might be different politically but we still have to get up in the morning, get the kids off to school, go to work, eat dinner with the in-laws, have date night and take out the garbage.

How to make the transition? Read my latest: 5 Things To Do Now that the Election is Over – Even If Your Candidate Didn’t Win.

#1 – Check in with yourself.

I don’t know about you but for the past few months I have been obsessed with this election. Every day brought stories more shocking than the day before. It was like seeing a bad car accident…I just couldn’t take my eyes off of it.

And I swear it made me sick, both physically and mentally.

So take a moment now and see how you are feeling. Do you feel like you are living just a little bit on edge? Have you been having feelings of sadness more often than usual? Are you spending more time on the computer following the news than talking with your kids about their day? Do you spend your morning commute yelling at all of the incompetent drivers around you?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then the election has definitely taken it’s toll on you. Awareness of this will enable to you take the steps necessary to move forward after this messy election and be yourself again.

#2 – Step away from your computer.

This is key. No matter who won the election the next few months, and years probably, are going to be messy. Neither candidate is going to heal what ails our country.

And neither can you, at least not by obsessing over every little step and misstep that happens going forward.

So stop screen sucking on CNN or FOX news. If you must be in front of a screen instead watch a new show on TV. Netflix just released The Crown, a period drama about Queen Elizabeth II. Or watch what I do: The Walking Dead. Nothing like a post-apocalyptic fantasy to take your mind off of the current day’s woes.

Even better would be to get away from all of it and do something else. Anything else. Shop, hike, swim, read, joust, laugh, cry, travel, scream. Anything that will help you release the tension of the past few months and generate some dopamine to aid in the healing.

You know what works for you. Now is the time to do it!

#3 – Reconnect with friends and family.

One of the saddest bi-products of this election is how it has come between friends, between families, between co-workers.

Social media has made this world a smaller place and we know that people will post things that they wouldn’t necessarily say in person. As a result, we have hurt and alienated each other. I know of many cases where family members don’t speak, friends are no longer friends on Facebook and politics have been forbidden in the workplace to prevent anarchy.

Now is the time to rise above and start to mend those rifts. The election is over and one candidate has won. The supporters of the victor must try to remain humble and the supporters of the loser must accept the outcome and move on. And we must reach out to each other and remember that we love each other and work together to rebuild our families and friend groups.

If these important pieces of the fabrics of our life, the pieces involving love and connection, are permanently damaged then America will never be able to bring about the change that it so desperately needs.

And remember, we are stronger together.

#4 – Make a difference.

Do you know the saying “Be the change that you want to see in the world?” There is no better time then right now to prove that adage true.

No matter who you supported chances are that you aren’t happy with the status quo. And you were hoping that the person you wanted to be President would make changes happen quickly. But, really, change doesn’t start at the top but at the bottom. Think about Rosa Parks and her refusing to give up her seat on the bus. She sparked a movement that ultimately culminated in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, making discrimination because of race illegal.

So be the change. Choose an issue that is important to you and get involved. I know you wonder how “little you”can make a difference but believe me you can.

I regularly give speeches to people with mental illness, telling them the story of my journey. The nurses say that every time I speak one person who wasn’t willing to accept that they are mentally ill does. And with acceptance comes healing. And with healing comes a life worth living…and that life will touch the lives of many others and make a real difference.

One person at a time.

#5 – Take a vacation from all of it.

We have all run a marathon. We are exhausted and weak from the effort. What our body needs is a break. Some nutrients. Some time to heal.

So take the next few months and just live your life. Go to work, be with your kids, walk your dogs, read a book. Let your body recuperate from what it has gone through.

Americans are very bad at convalescing. When we are sick as soon as the major symptoms are gone we get up and go on with our lives. As a result we often get sick again. Over and over.

So take some time and do whatever you need to do to feed your body and soul. I know for me I am going to spend these last few weeks of fall weather at the park with my dog, soaking in the fresh air while I can. Oh, and watching the Walking Dead.

So there you go, my 5 Things To Do Now that the Election is Over.

Our country is right now in a time of crisis. I think that all of us, no matter what our political affiliation, recognize this. And it’s time to make a change. For that to happen every American must do his or her part.

You know when you are on an airplane and the flight attendants give the safety speech. They always say to put your oxygen mask on first before helping others. Following my tips is your oxygen mask. Take care of yourself, heal from the anger and vitriol of the past few months. Make amends. When you are ready, go forth in the world and make a difference, if even in a very small way.

Together, we can change the world.

Looking for more ideas about getting past the election? Contact me and I will help!

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

5 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me on My Wedding Day – Even If I Might Not Have Wanted to Hear Them

Marriage doesn’t come with a manual. I wish it did. Because after the vows have been said, the doves have been released and the dress has been put in dry storage, comes marriage.

And as much as we would like to believe it’s all happily ever after, it often isn’t.

But it CAN be. All you need is some awareness and a willingness to act.

Here is my latest – 5 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me on My Wedding Day – Even If I Might Not Have Wanted to Hear Them.

#1 – Communicate, Communicate, Communicate.

One of the most disturbing aspects about many marriages is that after a while communication just stops.

Sure, there is lots of logistical stuff to discuss – when we are coming home for dinner, where the kids’ soccer games are, what time we are meeting the in-laws on Sunday.

But real communication, expressing of feelings, frustrations, hopes, dreams and longings, ceases.

Marriage is a 24/7 commitment. During those days, and years, lots of issues can arise, issues that can be hurtful and cause resentment. Instead of being addressed immediately, feelings are often left unsaid.  It can just seem too scary to go there, to share how we feel and not know what the response will be. So we don’t.

And then, before we know it, it’s easier to just not say anything, to do the dishes or spend longer at the office, doing anything to avoid difficult conversations. We do this assuming that the issues will be dealt with eventually. Like after Christmas, after Memorial Day or when the kids go off to college.

If you only take one thing away from this article it’s this: keep communicating. Your marriage, and your life, will be better if you do.

#2 – Have lots of sex.

I know newlyweds will laugh now at the prospect of no longer having sex with their partner. “That won’t be us,” they say.

But it very well could be.

We know that anger and resentment can build in a marriage because of unexpressed feelings. For a woman, there is no better libido killer than anger and resentment. And there is no better way to create anger and resentment in a man than the absence of sex.

Intimacy is key to maintaining closeness in a marriage. Touching, kissing, feeling loved and having orgasms are all a big part of this. Marriage without sex is simply a business arrangement.

So push past the anger and resentment and make love with your partner. Or, better yet, kill the anger and resentment with communication and happily make love every night.

You will be happy you did, both in the moment and long term.

#3 – Remember to respect each other.

There is a concept called the “contempt of the familiar.” This concept occurs when people get to know each other very well. Too well perhaps. We know how the other person looks when flossing their teeth, how they leave their pants hanging on the door, how they slurp their coffee or that they fart in bed.

Perhaps at one time you thought these things cute but now, as time has gone by, they drive you nuts. They might even repel you.

Mutual respect is a key to any successful marriage.  Your partner’s mannerisms or ways of doing things might not jibe with your own and this can lead to developing a dislike of who they are. And if you don’t like someone it’s hard to respect them.

Have I mentioned yet the importance of communication?

Tell your partner that something they are doing is making it difficult for you to be with them. Don’t just write them off as a lost cause, thinking “if they loved me they would do this differently.” We are all human beings trying to do the best that we can and if you are honest with yourself you know that they aren’t doing any of those things to spite you. They just do them. And can change if asked. Nicely.

Give your partner a chance to keep your respect and allow them to keep respecting you in return.

And sex is way better when you respect your partner. In case you didn’t know.

#4 – Don’t let your extended family get in the way of your new one.

No matter how old we are when we get married, we have many years of experience and tradition with our extended families. Holidays spent just so, toilet paper rolls that roll out on top instead of under, sarcasm that is part of every family get together.

The extended family is wonderful and part of who we are but the priority now is the new family. The one we are creating with our partner.

Of course it’s important to respect our family traditions but if doing so is at the expense of the new relationship it needs to be addressed. If the birthday tradition on one side is the whole family gathered and lots of gifts exchanged and the birthday tradition on the other side involves quietly celebrating with friends then a conversation needs to be had.

Have I mentioned yet the importance of communication?

Both sides of the family need to be told, respectfully, that while all family traditions are important what is important now is how the new family wants to make their own traditions. Compromises might need to be made but it is important that both partners feel like their new life as a couple is their own.

#5 – Know that a baby is going to change everything.

I know! Having a baby is so exciting. From “starting to try,” to nine months of watching it grow, to baby showers and then childbirth (!!) it’s all so wonderful and new and partners are bound closer than ever.

And then the baby is born and all bets are off.

Like when we get married, no one hands us a manual when we become parents. This means that from day one we are flying by the seat of our pants. Women most often immediately change their focus from their husband to their child. Men are left wondering what happened to their life. Yes, the child is delightful, but dinners together, time with friends, free time for athletics, are all suddenly gone. Not to mention the sex.

It’s important to be aware that the baby is going to change everything and prepare and allow for it. Know that everyone is going to be exhausted, that things are going to be messy, that the next 18 years are going to be an evolution, and a revolution, like you have never been through before.

Commit to making it through those years together. Communicate like you did when you were first married, perhaps even more so, have as much sex as you can squeeze into your week and continue to love and respect each other even as life gets challenging.

It won’t be easy but it will be worth it.

So there you go. My 5 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me on My Wedding Day.

I was married for 20 years and have been divorced for 5. I have spent a lot of time reflecting about what went wrong in my marriage. What I do know is that we, as a couple, got lost in our family. We gave up who WE were to please everyone else: our kids, our in-laws, our friends. We stopped looking at each other with love, talking about our feelings, hugging each other, respecting each other.

We were business partners. Our family was a successful business but our marriage fell apart.

I am madly in love with a new man now, one I very much hope to marry. And believe me, I won’t make the same mistakes twice.

Marriage is truly a wondrous thing and can be a big part of living the life of your dreams.

So do what I suggest. And don’t ever stop.

Looking for more ideas about how to keep your marriage strong? Contact me and I can help.

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

5 Ways to Thrive in the Face of Change – Even If You Just Want to Run Screaming

Change. You either love it or you hate it.

Many people hate it. The prospect of a new job, moving to a new house, leaving a relationship or buying a new car can make those who resist change want to run for the hills.

I love change.

I have spent much of my life changing things up. I have lived in San Francisco, Maine, Tokyo, Athens, Boulder, Vermont, Sydney and NYC. Since I graduated from college I have lived in 17 different homes and have worked in the hotel business, the food industry, retail management, real estate sales and now I am a life coach. I have been divorced and lived through my kids going off to college.

I am the person I am today because of opportunities for change that were presented to me throughout my life, ones I chose to pursue. And I love the person who I am today.

They say that people who choose change are happier for it. The process can be messy but once you get through it life just might be what you have always wanted it to be.

I am here today to help you get through that change, so that you can live the life of your dreams.

Here it is, my latest. 5 Ways to Thrive in the Face of Change – Even If You Just Want to Run Screaming.

#1 – Don’t forget to breathe.

When presented with the possibility of change many people freeze up. The prospect is so terrifying that their body actually reacts as it would if faced with the specter of death. And then they run, run for their lives, from that change.

This is when it’s important to remember to breathe. Without breath neither your brain nor your heart can function and making rational choices is impossible.

Think about when you drive by a tractor-trailer on the highway. It’s a scary prospect and you start thinking of all the things that can go wrong. And you hold your breath in anticipation of those things. Next time, try taking a deep breath right before you pass that truck. The breath will calm your body and clear your mind and you will pass it with ease.

It’s the same with change. Try it now. Inhale for 3 seconds, out for 5. Repeat as needed. Your heartbeat will slow and your mind will clear. Very helpful.

#2 – Remember change is GOOD.

Many people are so unaccustomed to change that the prospect seems unbearable. This new thing is going to come in and shake up their lives and they don’t think they can survive it.

But this just isn’t true. We can survive anything. And research shows that most people who make a big change are happier on the other side. Happier. Sounds pretty good, right?

Think about a time earlier in your life when you faced major change. Now think about how you went about it and what the end result was. Was your life ultimately a better place because of that change? Even if things were really messy along the way? Think carefully.

The process can be difficult, and we will address that, but picture yourself on the other side of that change. Life will be different, yes. But that is not necessarily a bad thing.

#3 – Gather information.

One of the most important pieces of thriving in the face of change is the gathering of information. It is impossible to make a smart move without the right information.

It’s time to make a list – a list of all of the positive things and all of the challenging things about your potential change.

If you are moving will it mean a bigger house? Better weather? A longer drive to school or work? An acre lawn to mow?

If it’s a new job will it be better hours or pay? Will the dress code be challenging? Will your boss be someone much younger than you?

Once you have your list of your perceived pluses and minuses address each minus individually.

A smaller house might seem a minus but really a smaller house means less house to clean which would give you more time to do something fun instead.

A younger boss might seem a minus but really a younger boss could teach you some new skills for the ever-evolving workplace. And the fact that you are older could mean built in respect because of the years of working experience you bring to the table.

For every one thing that seems like negative there is a corresponding positive. You just need to identify what those things are. Once you do you will feel ready to face real, substantial change.

#4 – No negative self talk.

We are our own worst enemies. In the face of change our brains tell us that we just can’t do it. That we aren’t smart enough or strong enough or that the change will destroy us.

Again, this just isn’t true.

I have a client who has been given an amazing job opportunity. It has been literally placed at her feet and is hers for the taking. And she is struggling to accept it.

She thinks two things:

  1. That people will judge her for changing jobs AGAIN after just two years in her current position.
  2. That she will fail.

I asked her what she would think if she heard of someone switching jobs after 2 years. She said she would think “Wow. That person is really moving up in the world. She is being recognized for her successes. Good for her.”

I asked her to list for me all the reasons that she would fail. Try as she might she couldn’t name one reason. Her brain had been telling her that she would but she couldn’t prove to me that what her brain was saying was true.

Again, our brains can make us our own worst enemies. Recognize that and talk back to that brain. Don’t let it and it’s pesky untruths hold you back.

#5 – Get excited about the possibilities.

Take a good look at that list that you made. Of all of the possibilities that your future holds.

Change is a scary thing but really it is also so exciting. You get a chance to do things differently, to re-invent yourself, to maybe experience things that you haven’t before.

The first steps will most likely be difficult, and scary, but once you get started the sky is the limit. It’s like starting out on a hiking trail and looking up. You wonder how the hell will you get up to the top. And then, when you do, after a fair amount of huffing and puffing, it’s just amazing. The sky is blue and you can see forever. And looking down you can see how far you have come and feel pretty damn proud of yourself.

So there you go. 5 Ways to Thrive in the Face of Change.

I am not saying that the prospect of change isn’t scary and overwhelming. It is scary and will be overwhelming. What I am saying is to embrace it, to look at it as a positive thing even if your first reaction is “not so much.”

In my last blog I wrote about getting divorced. A friend of mine said he was jealous. How lucky was I that I was getting a chance for a reboot at 46 years old. And that’s what I got. The reboot itself was rather painful but I was given a new beginning and my life is now amazing. Truly.

I wish this kind of happiness on everyone I know and love. Take a risk. It will be worth it!

Are you struggling with change in your life? Contact me. I can help!

Have you survived and thrived in the face of change? I would love to hear your story!

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

5 Reasons that Divorce Can Make You Happier – Even If It’s Hard to Believe

I remember I would wake up in the morning, looking forward to my day, and then would roll over and see the still warm, empty space next to me in bed. My stomach would sink. My husband had gone to the gym and I was glad because that meant I wouldn’t have to see him.

As the day progressed we talked occasionally on the phone, mostly about bills and the kids’ schedules and whether he would make it home in time for dinner. Communications about the running of our family business. We were good at that.

I remember every night seeing his car drive in the driveway and thinking “Ok. This is it. Tonight I am going to give him a hug and be happy to see him.” And he would walk in the door and go right to the stack of mail and rifle through it, something he knew I hated. There would be a perfunctory kiss, he would get a drink, or two, and we would spend the rest of the night operating in parallel, dealing with homework and bedtime.

My husband and I never fought but we were desperately unhappy. 18 years of a thousand little cuts, of unresolved conflicts, of the contempt of the familiar, had wrought serious damage.

And even though we were barely existing in the same space I really believed that somehow we would find our way back to each other. We had shared dreams for the future after all and how could we let those go?

One day he told me he wanted a divorce. He didn’t want to work on our marriage. He was done.

I was devastated.

What followed was one long year of divorce proceedings. It was horrible. And then it was all over. 18 years of marriage. Done.

In spite of all of that, or perhaps because of it, here I am, 5 years later, living a life that is happier than I ever could have imagined. Yes, it is different from the one that I thought I would be living with my husband but it is most notably different because I am happy. Truly happy.

Here is my latest blog – 5 Reasons that Divorce Can Make You Happier.

#1 – Your kids will thrive

The first thing that my son said to me when he learned we were separating was “Good. Because I hate coming home. There is always so much tension.” And this was true. Now, when he comes home, either to me or to his dad’s, his home is cleared of the anger that used to cloud it.

My kids also now have a much better relationship with their dad. Before the divorce I came between them. They spent more time with me and saw how unhappy I was and they distanced themselves from him. Now they see their dad separately from me and it has made them all closer. Which is a gift.

Because I talk to them more openly than I did before, and I have a good understanding of what went wrong with my marriage, my kids have a much clearer picture of what it takes to make a relationship to work. That is a something that I wish I had had when entering into my marriage.

My kids are doing great. In more ways than one. And that to me is the most important thing.

#2 – No more “thousand little cuts”

You know what I am talking about. Every day there was some kind of slight, big or small. The mail that was rifled through, the 3rd drink, the coming home late again, the snapping. We were constantly at each other, not overtly, but in ways that caused pain. We had unresolved issues and tons of resentment.  We struggled to stay calm in each others presence. We lived in the same house but were always lonely.

Now my days are filled with a happiness and contentment that I haven’t known in a long time. I wake up in the morning without that sinking feeling in my stomach. I spend my days working and being with the kids and living my life without the constant dread of that next little thing coming that would cause me pain.

This has made me a better person and a better mother. And have I mentioned? Happier.

3 – New friendships    

One of the most wonderful parts of my single life is the number of new friendships that I have developed.

When we are married we tend to insulate ourselves from the rest of the world because of our relationships. We might have friends who are other couples but really our primary relationship is with our spouse.

Now I have many, many friends, of all different stripes, who make my life fuller every day. And they say that the number one cause of sustained happiness is good friendships. How lucky am I?

#4 – Being your own person

For years I identified myself as someone’s wife. Yes, I was a successful mom, realtor and life coach but every decision that I made about my life was made in consideration of my relationship with my spouse.

Now I live life the way I want to. Yes, I have my obligations to my kids and my job and the US Treasury Department but I get to live in a way that makes my heart sing.

I recently moved from Vermont to New York City, have a thriving life coaching business and volunteer extensively with the National Alliance on Mental Illness. All things that I love.

The life that I am leading makes me happy every day.

#5 – A life full of hope

When I was married I was so lonely and sad that I never had any hope for the future. When you are living a life mired in unhappiness any positive thoughts for the future are impossible.

Now I know that the sky is the limit. I can have all of the personal success that I want as long as I am willing to go for it. I have my own business, of which I am proud, my kids are turning into amazing adults and I have a man who I love deeply with whom I hope to spend the rest of my life.

I have been through a lot but all of it makes me who I am today. And I love who I am today…

So there you go, my 5 Reason that Divorce Can Make You Happier.

Angelina Jolie filed for divorce from Brad Pitt today. Her lawyer stated that she “did it for the health of her family.” A reporter declared “Love is Dead.”

I would say that love is not dead but very much alive.  Angelina, recognizing that her marriage could not be salvaged, made the difficult decision to get out of it, for her own health and the health of her family. So that they all could have the chance to be happy again. It is the end of something that wasn’t working and the beginning of something that will. A true act of love.

I am not saying you should just walk out on your marriage but I do encourage you to consider the bigger picture…your happiness and the happiness of those around you. As I have said before, if you are living a life that makes your heart sing those you love will be better for it.

I am living proof that it happens. The photo at the top of this blog is me!

Are you living with a difficult relationship? Contact me and I can help!

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

5 Actions to Take Now Labor Day Has Come and Gone – Even If It Feels Like Tomorrow Is Just Another Day

There are two days of the year that mark major times of transition – Labor Day and New Year’s Day.

Both days mark the end of a season and the beginning of a period when things begin to shift. Both days are full of the possibilities of great things to come.

It’s important not to let this time of transition slip by you without standing still and taking note. Times of transition are when important things happen. Who wants to miss out on that?

So pay attention. Life is short. Don’t let it pass you by. Here is my latest…

5 Actions to Take Now Labor Day Has Come and Gone.

 

#1 – Take a deep breath.

Summer is always a crazy time. School is out and routines are broken. The weather is great and you just want to be outside. There are BBQs with friends and family reunions. The kids are out of school and you are all running around from activity to activity.

And now it’s over. It is important that you pause, if only for a moment but hopefully more, and take a deep breath.

Think about your summer. What was joyous and what was not so much. Think about time spent with family and friends. Think about the conversations and the insights and the experiences that you had.

Remember, consider and relish the summer of 2016.

Why? Because what happened this summer could very well influence what comes next for you. In many ways, you are not the same person you were on July 4th.

#2 – Choose a room and clean it out.

Nothing helps clear the head during times of transition like cleaning out a room. Something about the energy of throwing away all that stuff works wonders for gaining some clarity and vision.

So choose a room, the laundry room, your closet, your garage. Allot a few hours on a Saturday and go at it.

Choose a corner of the room, garbage bag in hand and start throwing things away. Things that you aren’t using, that are broken, that are expired. Put them in that garbage bag. Things that you are still using and keeping get placed nicely back where they belong.

If you aren’t sure whether or not something needs to be thrown out, consider when the last time was that you touched that thing, or even thought about it. If it was over 3 months ago, it’s gone. Acknowledge and be thankful for the role that it played in your life and then say goodbye.

Work your way around the room, repeating this process. Don’t skip ahead. Do all four sides of the room.

When you are done notice where you are. You will feel lighter, more clearheaded about what you want. And later on, if you start to feel overwhelmed, visit that cleaned out room. You will be glad you did.

#3 – Take a good hard look at what you want for your life.

Every year at New Years we make resolutions. Resolutions about how things are going to be different this year. We will be happier. We will be nicer to our spouses. We will excel at work.

More often than not those resolutions fall by the wayside.

One big reason that resolutions fail is that we make those resolutions without looking at how they really fit into the life we have. Can we just decide to be happier? To be nicer to our spouse? To be more patient at work? Not so much.

To stick to a resolution you have to define how you can make change within the parameters of your life. To be happier you need to know what makes you unhappy. To be nicer to your spouse you need to examine why you aren’t nice to them now. And why ARE you so impatient with your co-workers?

Take some time and really identify where you are in your life. Are you living a life that makes you happy? That makes you proud? That is consistent with the life goals that you set for yourself back when you were younger?

Make resolutions for the fall. And examine how you can make them stick. Remember, now is your time.

#4 – Make a list of what next steps to take.

A big part of keeping your resolutions is making a list of what will help you stick to them. To live the life of your dreams.

Would being happier mean that you spend an hour a day painting? Or perhaps mentoring a child in need? Or dancing around the kitchen before dinner?

What would have to happen for you to be nicer to your spouse? Would identifying what makes you unkind be a good first step? Would taking a deep breath before speaking help? Perhaps recognizing that you need to take a bigger approach and seek counseling?

And what about your patience at work? Is it a pesky co-worker or boss? Is it boredom or frustration? Would working on your resume so you can transition to a new job make it better?

Make a list. Think about those resolutions and picture how you can make them happen in your life. And then write it down. And then read it. And then take action.

You can do it!

#5 – Do something really fun for yourself.

Yes, I have challenged you to do reach for some lofty goals. And I really hope you will take me up on the challenge.

But first, do something for yourself. Something that really makes your heart sing. It can be anything.

Re-read the whole Harry Potter series. Buy every kind of Ben and Jerry’s and try a new flavor every night. Go to Victoria’s Secret and buy yourself something that makes you feel great. Take your car out on a back road and drive fast, sun-roof open, music blaring.

The sky is the limit. And it’s yours for the taking.

So there you go…. my 5 Actions to Take Now Labor Day Has Come and Gone.

Summer was wonderful and is now over. Fall, and winter, approach.

Take the time to look at your life and make sure you are on the path to living your dreams. But also make sure you take care of yourself along the way.

Remember. You only have one life to live. Make sure that it’s the life you have always wanted. Full of joy, purpose and love.

Looking for more ideas about living the life of your dreams? Contact me now and lets get started.

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

5 Ways to Survive Your Child Going off to College – Even if the Prospect Seems Unbearable

Your kid is going off to college. Holy s*%t.

While there were some occasions a few years back when you thought this moment couldn’t come soon enough, now that it’s here the prospect is hitting you like a ton of bricks.

Your child is leaving. That force of nature who has lived in your house for 18 years. How are you going to survive that loss?

Surviving, and even thriving, is not only possible but probable. Here is my latest…

5 Ways to Survive Your Child Going off to College – Even if the Prospect Seems Unbearable

 

#1 – Pay attention to how you are feeling.

Most likely your body is in physical pain, a result of psychological suffering at the loss of your child. And most likely the center point of that pain is your stomach. The pain is sharp and relentless and makes you feel like you are going to die.

That pain is from anxiety. Anxiety that your child won’t be able to survive without you. That you won’t be able to survive without them. That everything will be different now and how do you deal with that? That pain comes directly from your brain, from your thoughts. Frustrating, no?

There are two ways to deal with that pain.

The first is to talk back to that brain of yours. Tell it that it is being ridiculous. That your child is ready to do this and will be fine. That you have survived their being toddlers and teenagers so you can survive their leaving. And change is good. It’s not easy to talk back to your thoughts but you can do it.

The second is to remember to breathe. Big deep breaths that go down to your belly. Breath in for 3 seconds and out for 5. This kind of breathing will actually calm the stress response in your body, ease your stomach pain and help clear your head. Repeat as necessary.

#2 – Revel in their successes and opportunities.

Your child is going to COLLEGE. How huge is that?

Since they were born one of your dreams for them has been college. College opens up doors for our kids. It allows them to think deep, dream big and share it with all kinds of like-minded and other-minded people. It will clear pathways that will take them forward into the rest of their lives.

And don’t forget the role that you have played in all of this. It is because of you that they are ready to fly, to leave home and thrive. Don’t underestimate the value of this. Without you this never could have happened!

#3 – Cry. But not too much.

It’s okay that that you are feeling sad. Of course you are. And your child is feeling sad too. Leaving home leads to mixed emotions.

Tell your child that you are sad that they are leaving and that you are going to miss them. They need to know. It’s important that they see real emotion from you, emotions that they can mirror as they want.

DON’T go on and on repeatedly about how much you will miss them. Don’t lie on their bed as they pack, sobbing. Don’t make a scene when you drop them off at the dorm. Even if you feel like bursting into tears, don’t. There is time enough for that on the car ride home.

You don’t want to burden your child with the guilt of your sadness because doing so might hamper their ability to assimilate into their new school. This is not good.

So cry… but within reason.

#4 – Plan a visit. But not tomorrow.

Colleges and universities have it all figured out. Usually by October, when everyone is missing each other A LOT, there are parent weekends scheduled. This is a weekend where the kids get to share their new home with you and you get to buy them things. Fun times are had by all.

So plan to do this (and make hotel reservations well ahead of time as they tend to fill up). Planning will make you happy.

DO NOT plan to visit your child before that. Don’t stop by to do their laundry or help with their homework or just because you miss them. It’s like summer camp – they need to go cold turkey from their parents to really settle in. You being around will prevent that from happening.

#5 – Take a good look at the rest of your life.

Even if this child is not your last to leave home now is the time where your life will start to change.

You have spent the past 18 years devoting yourself to your children and running your household. You have given so much of yourself, happily, but now it’s time to start taking care of you.

Take a good hard look at the choices you have made that have brought you to where you are today. Take a good hard look at where you want to be in the next half of your life. Take a good hard look at what is important to you.

This is it. This is your time. You have age and you have wisdom and now it’s time to start at least laying the groundwork to living the life that you have always wanted.

So there you go – 5 Ways to Survive Your Child Going off to College – Even if the Prospect Seems Unbearable..

The next few weeks will be tough but you, and your child, will get through it. It’s also a magical time, a time for your child to enter his or her world and for you to begin to grow in yours.

Embrace it. It only happens once.

Need any more ideas about how to survive and thrive? Contact me and I can help!

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!