Ben Larisey

Ben Larisey

So, you made it through the holidays, congrats!

Now that the wrapping paper has been picked up and the boxes are at the curb, all that’s left is the homemade candies to be devoured and the resolution to be promised.

I imagine even the word “resolution” brings about a different level of stress. I mean, the whole “new year, new me” saying is circling around on several Facebook feeds, and you may be wondering what area of your life requires a change — a daunting task, I know. You want to hit the gym, never eat sugar again, or maybe you want to finish those books you started last January.

Well, I want to propose a different perspective on the New Year’s resolution: a family resolution.

You see, the stress of holiday cheer imposes a task of giving your family all the happiness you possible can, only to reduce the time spent on you. That’s why we force ourselves to make public promises to become better — to give ourselves the time we feel we have lost.

But what if you took away the pressure of being “better” and burned those calories to improve the relationships that are important to you? Hold on, I’m not proposing to sign up for sainthood (that’s a resolution requiring a lot more advice than I can provide!). What I’m proposing is to create a resolution that you can easily succeed at and feel less guilty. Less is more, right?

So, for the parents who are balancing work, school projects, and extracurricular activities, I would like to offer some help that will make you feel happier and the family feel closer.

Try leaving the cell phone in the car when watching your children practice, no matter how dry or boring the practice may be. Looking down at the cellphone takes your focus away from seeing your son’s first catch (or miss) in baseball, or your daughter’s first solo in the school musical.

Another option is to turn off the radio while driving with the kids or spouse. Maybe ask them to tell you about their day, relationships, or your spouse’s weird boss. If you have young children, I would talk back to their babbling, or enjoy the quiet while they sleep. These simple options take away the pressure we put on making us better.

The truth is, we are beings that crave connections, and we are happiest when we are with someone else. New Year’s tends to pressure us to burn calories and post on social media about our weight loss. But that will be a constant struggle for most people. Instead, let’s set aside those potentially broken promises and focus on building the relationships that are important to us.

Let’s dive in and make this a “New Year, New Us” resolution.

Ben Larisey is a clinical social worker at Southeast Community Health Systems. He also runs a private practice in the evenings and on weekends, Larisey Mental Health, which provides Individual, Family, Child and Trauma Therapy to those in the Baton Rouge and surrounding areas. Ben has worked in the field for seven years.

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