A healthy relationship

Nurturing Relationships: Building and Strengthening Connection in the Spring

While I believe in nurturing relationships all year long, it’s nice to place a focus on nurturing them in the spring. As everything comes out of hibernation and starts to sprout, it can be ideal to embrace the positive energy and freshness of spring to revitalize our connections with the important people in our lives. Reviewing, renewing and nurturing our relationships is a good thing to do, and you may already take spring as an invitation to clean your home—why not your relationships?

Spring can be the perfect time to prioritize quality time with our loved ones. As people are beginning to get out after being couped up for the winter, you can plan special outings, date nights or vacations to strengthen connections while creating wonderful, lasting memories. Some excellent outdoor bonding activities can be picnics, nature walks, gardening or outdoor sports. Take a bike ride, go on a hike or head to an outdoor concert.

While mindfulness and gratitude are wonderful practices year-round, the revitalization of the spring season might inspire you to be more fully present to appreciate the season’s beauty and to express gratitude for the loved ones in your life. I find it preferable to tell people what they mean to me while they are still here instead of in a eulogy at their funeral.

Spring is also a time for celebrating relationships. There’s Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and weddings and graduations often happening in spring. It’s a wonderful time to celebrate relationships you already have while maybe making new ones. Be sure to express the love, appreciation and support you have for the important people in your life during these occasions and always.

Springtime can be a beautiful time to work on improving and increasing your communication and connection. Remember, we have two ears and one mouth, so we can listen twice as much as we speak. Being present with active listening can do a lot to improve communication. If you are always thinking about what you are going to say next, then you are half-listening, and this weakens relationships. It also helps to express your emotions without blaming the other person for being the cause of them. No one causes your emotions, but they can create situations where you might use your sadness, anger or fear to attempt to change someone else’s behavior—so get clear on your emotions and their purpose before you communicate them. It also helps to work through conflict in a constructive manner by recognizing people can want different things. It doesn’t make them wrong, just different. When you’re in a relationship with someone, aim to create this mindset: “Yes, I want what I want, but I also want you to get what you want.” With this mindset, the negotiation of differences goes much smoother.

Spring often brings revitalizing rain and going outside may be challenging some days, so why not use that time for reconnecting with your more distant relationships? You could send them thoughtful messages via text, email, snail mail or even telephone. You might even plan a virtual get-together in a Zoom room or an in-person meet-up at a fun location.

When you’ve told people how much you appreciate them, you may want to show them by engaging in acts of kindness and support. This should not be done grudgingly or as an obligation. Do something supportive or kind because you want to express in deeds how important this person is to you. Offer something specific you’d like to do and avoid generic invitations like, “Let me know if there’s anything you need.” That is an offer people aren’t likely to take you up on. Rather, “I’d love to bring you a pan of lasagna next time I make some for us, unless there’s something else I could do.” is an invitation someone can accept, decline or alter. When my kids were teenagers, when I would time block my week, I’d ask them, “What’s one thing I could do for you this week that you would most appreciate?” Sometimes it was a special dinner request; other times it was about attending a sporting event. Whatever the request, I would make sure to put that in my calendar first before anything else.

When you are in a relationship, spring is a good time to reflect on the relationship goals you set at the beginning of the year. How are you doing? Are you where you thought you would be? How healthy is your relationship? Are you working in the same direction? Is there an area you would like to improve to be an even better partner?

Whether in a relationship or single, you can use this season to reflect on your self-care goals and individual growth. It’s important to prioritize your own well-being, as it will impact your ability to contribute to and nurture your other relationships. My book, Choosing Me Now, focuses on how to do strategic self-care depending on your own unique need-strength profile. There is always something more you can do to become the person you really want to be. What do you need to focus on for yourself right now?

As Mother Nature is in her renewal season, so, too, are you. Take inventory, nurture and plan for the future. You’ll be glad you do.


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