Why You (and your loved ones) Deserve a Day Off

When was your last day off? Not just a day off from your Most Official Job, but a day off from all responsibilities outside of yourself and your closest family—a day where no phones ring, no emails are replied to, and no meetings are scheduled. Can you even remember it?

In today’s world, many people can’t recall their last total day off, and the desire to have one is increasing all the time. While we love our internet, phones, and social media, all of this connection tends to leave us feeling surprisingly drained. In fact, many people come to counseling in Highlands Ranch for couples therapy asking “how can we find more time for our relationship?” The answer: take time for yourself.

Alone Time Is a Need

When people are asked to list their needs, they usually start with survival needs—food, water, shelter. If asked to continue further, many add “love” or “socialization.” These answers are 100% correct! However, there is another need that many people overlook, and that is the need to be alone. When we are alone, we have time to process our thoughts, to relax, to get back into touch with our own bodies. Many people use alone time for self-care, such as taking a long bath, a relaxing nap, or visiting the spa. These things will not only help you feel better, but to be a better parent, partner, or friend.

Silence is A Valuable Resource

One thing that many couples therapists in Littleton will recommend is to shut off the phone! Whether you are shutting off just your phone to enjoy your day off, or bringing the whole family with you on an interruption-free day, the benefits are priceless. Studies show that most people are distracted multiple times per hour, taking 5-10 minutes to get back on track—and the same is true for distractions from those special times with your family and friends. Put those distractions on “silent” for a day or two and remember what it’s really like to have a whole conversation, or to watch the sunset without an electronic “ding.” Your stress levels  will thank you!

Less Stress = Happier Relationships

One of the benefits of a dedicated day off is that you reduce your stress level. Just like a day off of your exercise routine can let your body rest before a big race, a day off from responsibility lets you come back revived and restored—and these effects will spread throughout your life. You may find yourself feeling less snappy, less irritable, more energized, and more interested in what your loved ones have to say.

Improve Productivity

This isn’t a productivity blog, but psychologists in Colorado know how to get things done. When you dedicate a day off for yourself, you make your time more valuable—to you, and to others. You can set boundaries on your time, ensuring that you use it effectively, and that it is respected.

Need help setting boundaries or managing your time effectively to focus on what matters most to you? Consult with Dr. Lazarus or seek couples counseling in Highlands Ranch to learn effective skills.





Turn Bad Behaviors Around: Time In Vs. Time Out

You’ve just brought the kids home from school, and before you can take off your shoes, there’s already a fight. When your little darlings turn into wild animals who hit, kick, and bite—or just yell the most hurtful things they can think of at each other—the standard practice for many years was a time out. Whether this involves a special chair, a corner, a song, or a set time limit, the idea was to separate the child from the situation and from others until he or she calmed down.

But for many parents, time outs just don’t work. They cause more fights, leave the child frustrated and angry, or turn into a battleground to “make” the time out happen. Many parents seek the help of a Littleton child behavior psychologist to figure out how to make time outs work better—or, to identify new strategies to help their child succeed. One tool that child psychologists use is the time in.

A time in accomplishes many of the same goals as a time out. The child is removed from the situation with the goal of improving behavior. The duration is short, and the child can return to having fun afterward. However, while a time out is usually done alone, a time in is done with the parent or caregiver present—both physically and emotionally. What does this mean? During a time in, you support your child by being next to him physically and listening to his words and feelings. Some kids aren’t ready to talk right away, but others can be gently coached to express feelings that came up during the conflict. For example, a child who is sent to “time in” for hitting her brother is not lectured on how hitting is bad; rather, the parent helps her to express the feelings of anger, frustration, or annoyance that were underneath that bad behavior. Sometimes, your child may surprise you and disclose that a big problem at school, with another parent, or with friends is really the issue that is bothering them the most. Praise children  for expressing emotions appropriately and make sure that they know how much you appreciate all the times they show good behavior.

For small children or those who struggle to express themselves verbally, drawing or play-acting with toys  can be helpful. This is similar to how children’s play therapy in Highlands Ranch looks, and works very much the same way. Children are guided through the process of making amends and thinking about what could be done better next time; for example, apologizing to the brother and or practicing coping skills when angry. The specifics will vary from child to child and from incident to incident, but the goal is to express, connect, and make better choices in the future.

If you would like to learn more about positive parenting strategies, including the benefits of “time in,” contact a skilled psychologist in Colorado. Dr. Lazarus has helped many parents find the best ways to connect with their children, building them strong to face all the hurdles life throws their way!