While you may have spent many years wondering about what your life will be like once the kids move out of home, it can be quite a shock to see the effect on your relationship with your partner. If you are finding yourself struggling with communication issues in your marriahe, relationship counselling can be a great way to reconnect with each other.
Redistribution of household labour
If one partner has taken on the majority of childcare labour, then the empty nest can trigger a redistribution of labour in the household. While this can be a positive thing, it can also trigger some frustration over a previously uneven distribution of labour. Relationship counselling can help to discuss current and previous labour distribution in an open way, with a third party available to guide the discussion in a positive and productive way.
New family outings
Now that you don’t need to consider the needs of the children, your family outings can change focus. This needs to be negotiated between the two of you, and finding mutually agreeable outings is not always easy. Relationship counselling can help you to come up with outings that can help you to connect with each other and let you explore each other’s needs in a productive way.
These outings can be a great way to start rekindling the romantic and intimate side of your relationship, with less demands on your time.
New communication topics
For many years you may have had conversations with a transactional focus, building on the business of managing the family. All of the sudden it can seem that you don’t have anything to talk about with your partner. However, with some help you can start to work on talking about other topics, including current events, sports or new movies and books. The counsellor can help you to work out some of your mutual interest topics so that you can start talking again.
Equally being open to discussing your feelings during this emotional transition period can be a way of ensuring that your marriage grows stronger through this stage.
The ’empty nest’ can be a new and wonderful stage of your relationship, as you have the time and capacity to focus on each other and other achievements outside of the household again. It’s a great time to explore new projects and exciting adventures together. If you are currently going through a difficult ’empty nest’ transition, why not get some relationship counselling to help ease the transition.
The loss of a child is a huge blow to any marriage. It causes distress as both parties are reminded of their loss by seeing the other person and often so lost in their grief that they struggle to support each other and any other children in the best way. Relationship counselling can help the partners express their grief safely and establish new boundaries for their marriage.
Relationship counselling can help to provide a safe space to discuss any loss of trust in the relationship following the loss and work through any aspects of the child’s death that have created less trust. These can include perceived issues as well as real issues, and having a neutral space to discuss these issues can help to resolve them and work through any contention.
For the other children in the family, a death in the family can also create concerns over the loss of parents or more children. Counselling can help you provide a united and confident front as parents, which in turn will help the children to feel more comfortable and reassured.
As people express grief differently, having a space to discuss how you are both coping with your grief can help both parties to feel closer. Some people bury their grief into practical actions, such as diving more into the care of other children, while some people move inwards in the process of dealing with their grief. If one person is becoming quieter and more depressed while another wants to discuss the child, this mismatch in grieving styles can lead to resentment and frustration. Counselling can help both parties acknowledge the other’s grieving style and work out the best way to support each other.
Reworking of goals and plans
For many couples with children, their future goals and plans have been shaped around their children. The loss of a child prompts a revaluation of goals and dreams, and counselling can help couples to discuss and negotiate some new goals together. Without having an open discussion in a neutral environment about what the future looks like for your redefined family unit, it’s all too easy for your goals to move in different directions which can cause the family to separate.
Relationship counselling can be a useful tool in the aftermath of dealing with the loss of a child, to help your family come back together in a strong way. Seek out a clinic like Southside Psychology in your area to learn more about counselling services and how a psychologist can help you navigate the more difficult parts of life.
Depression can rob you of your energy, self-esteem and interest in the things you once enjoyed. This debilitating illness can impact on your work and social life, but there are positive steps you can take to get out from under its grip. Here are three tips for dealing with depression.
Commit to Daily Exercise
Exercising may be the last thing you feel like doing, but you don’t have to start running marathons. Committing to getting out for a walk each day can be enough to boost your mood, and according to Harvard Medical School, regular exercise can be an effective treatment for mild to moderate depression. Exercise triggers the release of endorphins, hormones that can give you a natural high, which begin to make long-term alterations to your mood when activated regularly.
Don’t put pressure on yourself to do more than you feel capable of, but commit to doing at least 30 minutes each day of any type of exercise you enjoy or used to enjoy such as walking, swimming or doing a fitness DVD.
Use Your Diet to Support Your Mental Health
Consuming a diet rich in folic acid, vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids can improve the symptoms of depression and alter your mood. To boost your folic acid intake opt for lentils, brown rice and avocado. Vitamin B12 is found in eggs, dairy products and beef, while omega-3 fatty acids are found in oily fish, walnuts and avocado.
Try making a daily smoothie with ½ an avocado, a banana, a teaspoon of cocoa powder, and a small pot of yogurt, enjoy teriyaki beef and brown rice for dinner, or stir walnuts into oatmeal drizzled with honey.
Seek Counselling Support
Getting some professional support from a counsellor can help you recover from depression by providing you with a safe and confidential space to explore your feelings and the reasons why you think you may have developed depression. As counselling is a talking therapy, your counsellor will listen to you and explore your thoughts with you during each session. They will work with you to identify behaviours or triggers that contribute to you feeling depressed and support you as you explore ways to make positive changes and overcome this illness.
Your counsellor may set you small tasks to complete between each session that will help you move closer to your goal of breaking free from depression such as leaving the house three times that week or meeting someone for a cup of coffee and a chat. The tasks will be tailored toward your own current life situation and your counsellor will explore how you felt when completing the tasks as a way measuring your progress.
You can expect to see your counsellor on a weekly basis at first, but the sessions will decrease as you get closer to your goal.
Depression can be lonely and isolating, but you don’t have to keep struggling on in silence. Contact your GP, Lifeline or resources like Helen N. Norman if you need to talk to someone or feel at risk of harming yourself.
For many young adults who are hoping to see a counsellor or therapist, informing their parents is the most stressful part. This can often lead to people giving up on the idea altogether. However, it’s important for you to receive the help you feel you need, so follow this guide to help make addressing the subject with your parents less stressful and more productive:
Let them know it isn’t about them
Even the most supportive of parents can become upset when they find out that their child wants to see a counsellor. Your happiness is their number one goal, and finding out that you are experiencing difficulties will naturally make them feel sad. This will often lead to them blaming themselves, so make sure that you clearly underline that your decision is not down to them. Let them know that they have done nothing wrong – as long as this is the case – and that your own personal issues can’t be solved by them alone.
Choose a good time
Try to find a time to talk to your parents when they aren’t busy. The evening is often preferable since work will be over and they’ll have the night to think things over. If either parent seems stressed, tired, or upset, you might consider waiting another night before bringing the subject up.
Some parents react negatively when they find out their child is planning to see a counsellor. This can be caused by numerous thoughts and emotions, and the parent in question will often need some time to process the information for themselves.
Avoid arguments at all costs by remaining calm and non-confrontational. If one of your parents becomes angry or upset, ask them to take the time to consider it, and let them know that you value their opinion. Leaving them to consider things overnight will often do a world of good.
Don’t feel pressured to open up
One of the main reasons people find counselling helpful is that they get to talk to someone outside of their social or family circle. Sharing difficult thoughts or feelings with those close to you can be difficult – you don’t know how they’ll react, and it might make you uncomfortable to be around them.
Let your parents know that you trust them, but don’t feel like you need to open up about the issues which you are dealing with. It’s perfectly acceptable to just say that you’re dealing with some difficulties, and you’d like to talk to a professional. Of course, parents will often leap to the worst conclusion, so you should at least let them know that you are not in danger. Even though you don’t need to tell your parents exactly what is wrong, you might consider letting them know what isn’t the problem.
Remember, making use of counsellor services represents a step in the right direction, so you shouldn’t allow the thought of telling your parents to put you off.