It’s that very funny time between Christmas and New Year. The ‘January’ sales have started (even though January hasn’t) and, for many, this is a time to spend with loved ones, whether they are near or far.

And so, as a little follow-up from the blog I wrote a couple of weeks ago about working on your relationship with yourself, I wanted to write about relationships with others.

As valuable as it is to have a positive relationship with yourself (have a look at ‘Working on Ilana’ if you haven’t already), we are, at the end of the day, social creatures… and we are prone to loneliness.

With the rise of online communication, making us crave more connection, and breakdown of family relationships, more and more of us feel isolated. And yet, ‘Positive Relationships’ is one of the branches of Martin Seligman’s PERMA model for a happy life. In his book Flourish, he says that the times in our lives when we experience indescribable joy, laugh uproariously and sense profound meaning and purpose, are invariably when we are with other people. Indeed he says that, according to research, doing a kindness for another person is the single most reliable exercise for a momentary increase in wellbeing. So, in short, we need to ensure that we maintain strong, positive relationships to help ourselves flourish.

I think it is very easy, over the course of the year, to get caught up in the busyness of work, let it take up all our energy, leaving none for the people around us. I know that I go through weeks where all I want to do is go home for a quiet evening to myself… and, yes, these are important, but we should be mindful of whether this habit is starting to isolate us or damage our relationships.

So I think it is important to use the festive period time, whilst many are off work, and spirits are high, to really spend quality time with those around you, to be fully present in other people’s company and maybe even to reach out to those you haven’t seen in a while. If you got a Christmas card from somebody you haven’t spoken to for a long time, pick up the phone for a chat. If you think someone in your life might be alone over Christmas and New Year, pay them a visit. Enjoy other people’s company purely for the sake of conversation, laughter and positive communication.

And, going into the New Year, remind yourself about those you love. Don’t let 2019 be a year in which you become more distanced from your friends and family. Relationships require time and effort, whomever they are with. And so, make yourself accessible, make sure people know you are there for them – you, as well as those you love, will feel more positive for it.

‘Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.’

Marcel Proust

Happy New Year!

By Ilana