The Micro-Date Revolution

The Micro-Date Revolution

The Micro-Date Revolution

Rethinking Date Night

When I ask my couples clients what they do to nourish their love, I usually get something like: We’ll watch a movie or go to our favorite restaurant over the weekend. The next thing they will tell me is why they haven’t had a date night in weeks or even months. There is nothing wrong with making date night, but when couples stress over making it happen and feel tethered to “waiting” before they can enjoy some connection time, I like to introduce what I call the micro-date.  

What is a Micro-Date? 

When I introduce the micro-date to couples, I usually get a mixture of relief and surprise. “Could it be so simple?” Is written on their faces. I like to think of the micro-date as your ‘relationship harmonizer.’ 

A micro-date can happen anywhere and anytime in as little as five seconds. The most important thing, I tell my clients, is to “intentionalize” your micro-date. 

A micro-date is like having a mindful practice, in which you get to build into your every-day routine “connection-pauses” and take the time to smell the roses; in this case, notice your partner. So what exactly constitutes a micro-date? 

It’s a deliberate conscious act of focusing on your partner in a loving, supportive way. It could be giving a “rockstar” compliment – you know, the kind of compliment that ripples through your Joy Zone – or showing genuine interest in some “moment” of your partner’s day. 

Don’t forget to set the intention right before having a date! Remember that you are injecting a felt quality into the moment, ensuring that you and your partner feel closer. 

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How to Have a Micro-Date

When Adira and Richard came to me, they were both feeling depleted from being in “survivor-mode” for weeks on end. Richard faced mounting stress from losing his business in the pandemic while trying his best to accept the new reality of working from home and having to consider vocational opportunities that, according to him, were not ideal options for his entrepreneurial-driven career path. Adira looked after their three small children together, which involved a lot of special care for their two children with longstanding chronic health issues. 

Adira and Richard complained of not having any time for each other. They both felt like their intentions were in the right place, but their days seemed ruled by things to get done. Taking several hours off from each of their hectic schedules to be together was met with a growing sense of futility. 

During our sessions together, Adira and Richard gained a much greater understanding of a set of gridlocked issues that continued to surface in their relationship. They learned to process old and new pain forming emotional blocks in their relationship and keeping them from feeling motivated to grow together. But even when the relationship infrastructure felt a lot more secure than it had for a long time, Adira and Richard both felt they were still struggling to prioritize relationship care.  

Together we brainstormed a micro-date relationship care plan if you will. Adira and Richard decided to create a love jar as a kind of talisman for their micro-dates. Each day, they would add things to the love jar – a thoughtful wish, a compliment, a vulnerable confession, a flirty note, funny share, silly picture, open-question, hand-picked rose, inspiring quote, surprise (e.g., I’ve got dinner tonight!) – even a request for a good hug. 

The more positive feelings that flowed into the jar, the more they felt inspired to build on their micro-dates. They also created a morning coffee ritual and made it a no-phone-just-each-other-for-five-minutes micro-date, setting the intention to be present for their day and each other. 

They emptied their love jar each evening and set the intention to wake up with a “tabula rasa” or fresh slate and nourish their love all over again. 

(Anyone can make a love jar with a Mason Jar and non-sticky notes or non-adhesive memo notes. If you prefer to order a ready-made jar with blank cards that come with it, I like the Love Jars from: Gratitude Glass Jars)

What Micro-dates Can Do On the Bigger Scale

Richard recognized that losing his business seemed to stir up deep-seated emotions he had been holding in for years. He expressed that he had an “addiction” to receiving approval from others. Richard said that he felt like he had been releasing the “identity rope.” 

Adira recognized how often she dismissed her own feelings, which came from experiencing a sense of “undeserving”  – an inner wounding that originated in the past. Adira practiced feeling “deserving energy” by receiving compliments and refraining from her knee-jerk tendency to dismiss praise and flattery words. 

Adira realized that she was still treating her feelings how her feelings had been treated when she was younger and subconsciously activating this dismissive pattern – against herself. Adira practiced accepting her partner’s expressed admiration and saying, “thank you.” 

The micro-dates not only cultivated a more positive emotional climate in which Adira and Richard were able to foster greater shared meaning in their relationship but a ripe space for growth and understanding, both individually and in the “we-ness” perspective they were stepping into more readily. The micro-dates helped maintain and fortify the healing anchoring work in our sessions together. 

(Names have been changed to maintain confidentiality.)

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14 Micro-Date Ideas + More!

micro-date revolution date night
Amy-Noelle Shih, MA, LPC - Houston, Texas Marriage Counselor _ Houston, Texas Therapist

Amy-Noelle Shih,M.A., LPC is a powerful, dynamic, couples counselor, individual therapist and life coach with a direct, authentic approach to personal growth. Her style is as affirming and positive as it is effective, and all about helping you create alignment and joy in yourself and in your relationships.

Real Help For Your Relationship

Lots of couples go through challenging times, but the ones who turn "rough-patches" into "growth moments" can come out the other side stronger and happier than ever before.

 

Working with an expert couples counselor can help you create understanding, empathy and open communication that felt impossible before.

 

Start your journey of growth together by scheduling a free consultation.

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Intentional Living — How To Not Panic In the PANIC

Intentional Living — How To Not Panic In the PANIC

Intentional Living — How To Not Panic In the PANIC

Living Intentional 

[social_warfare]

As an online therapist and life coach, and strong proponent of intentional living, I am keenly aware that we all are being greatly impacted by COVID-19 and feeling the collective stress all around us. This may be a good time to take heed of our own behavior and how we choose to engage this unsettling reality unfolding daily, without spiraling into a panic. 

The Antidote To A Panicked Mind Is An Intentional Mind

1. Be intentional with what you allow in.

 As a therapist, I like to encourage my clients to stay informed yes, but try limiting the amount of time that you spend on social media sites. The antidote to a panicked mind is an intentional mind.

Before checking the latest coronavirus pandemic updates, doing this one thing can make all the difference in keeping your stress at healthy, manageable levels. Set the intention to answer the “why” before you start spending an inordinate amount of time scrolling through your newsfeed.

I have clients, for example, who tell me that they find themselves frantically reading articles streaming across their computer screen, hoping to assuage their fears. Mindlessly reading distressing information can produce even more anxiety.

When we let our minds fall into a fear trap, without us even realizing it, we are giving our power away. We are relinquishing control over our choices, which can leave us feeling even more helpless. We do have control over our minds and how we take care of our mental diets. 

2. Set An Intention That Helps You To Be Clear About Your Choices

Set an intention that helps you to be clear about your choices, such as why you are choosing to read “this” article, so that you aren’t unconsciously engaging with a worry-mind from the outset. (Here are more tips for managing coronavirus anxiety.) Otherwise, you may be making yourself vulnerable to “downloading” insurmountable amounts of stressful information with no protective self-care parameters in place. 

By setting an intention, this can help you make deliberate choices that serve your overall wellbeing. Your intention may be: I am taking the necessary precautions to keep myself, loved ones, and others safe. 

Then determine a healthy time-limit for watching or reading news, maybe it’s no more than 30-minutes (your vagus nerve will thank you; more on this in a minute.) And be intentional about deciding what information is helpful and what information is not helpful, so that you are not causing unnecessary stress, as this has been shown to weaken the immune system, which is not what you want.  

3. Emotionally Regulate Yourself

Now let’s talk about the vagus nerve as I mentioned above. This nerve plays such a huge role in our stress response, as it is connected to the parasympathetic system, the part of the nervous system working synergistically to allow for optimal and harmonious functioning – essentially the queen “regulator” influencing your stress response. Which is to say that it is important to take care of your vagus nerve so that it takes care of you! One way you can do this is to start your day with an intentional, mindfulness breathing meditation. 

Deep breathing helps us to calm and regulate our “emotional control center,” so to speak. And the more we emotionally regulate ourselves, the more we can respond to stress – something a panicked heart simply can’t do. 

4. Check-and-Balance Yourself Often

So intention setting is like having a “superpowered” way to check-and-balance yourself often. You can ask yourself:  Am I acting from a place of fear? You can start doing this with every activity, like eating. If you think: I have to eat more whole foods or I’m going to get sick! This can actually work against your well-meaning intention and bring on added stress.

Practice setting pure intentions and affirming when you eat healthy foods, for instance, I am nourishing and replenishing my body and supporting my body’s innate desire to take care of me. (Check out: Developing a Healthy Relationship With Food)

5. Get Into The Habit Of “Intentionalizing” Your Day To Keep Panic At Bay

Now is a really good time to focus inwardly, establish self-reflecting routines, act more consciously, accept the as-is showing up in your life right now, so that you can navigate the isness of your present situation while allowing a new context to emerge. 

As you practice calm and acceptance, you are inviting the wherewithal to adapt into your life. It may mean establishing new routines, discovering new ways to stay connected and relevant. 

This is all made possible when we start by quarantining ourselves for any “emotional viruses” that are keeping us from being the superpowered, creative shapeshifters that we are – and that is so essential to cultivate into our lives right now.  

I hope that you read this and start “intentionalizing” your day. 

Warmly, 

Amy-Noelle Shih, M.A., LPC

PS. Connect with me and join the conversation on Instagram @growing_self! Also, my colleague Dr. Lisa created a short video demo-ing a great breathing technique to help lower stress available for you on Instagram too.

[social_warfare]

Amy-Noelle Shih, M.A., LPC is a powerful, dynamic, couples counselor, individual therapist and life coach with a direct, authentic approach to personal growth. Her style is as affirming and positive as it is effective, and all about helping you create alignment and joy in yourself and in your relationships.

Let's  Talk

 

 

Real Help, To Move You Forward

 

Everyone experiences challenges, but only some people recognize these moments as opportunities for growth and positive change.

 

 

Working with an expert therapist or life coach can help you understand yourself more deeply, get a fresh perspective, grow as a person, and become empowered to create positive change in yourself, your relationships and your life.

 

 

Start your journey of growth today by scheduling a free consultation.

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The Path to Wellness

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Relationship Help

[social_warfare]

Regaining Your Health Begins With Listening To Yourself….

The path to wellness can be a long and challenging one, if you or someone you love is dealing with a chronic health condition — particularly one with no simple cause or obvious solution. More and more frequently it seems people are grappling with health issues that impact many areas of their lives, but for which traditional western medicine offers few answers or support.

While more and more is being known about things like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, Lyme disease, metabolic issues, toxic mold, allergies and other sensitivities and chronic health conditions, they often remain shrouded in mystery and misconception.

People dealing with these issues often feel alone and unsupported, on top of feeling extremely unwell physically.

In these cases, the path to wellness begins with an enormous amount of strength, courage, and self-awareness. It requires the ability to advocate for yourself, and the persistence to continue pressing on to find the solutions that will help you feel healthy, well, and whole again — often in the face of minimizing or disempowering (but well meaning) medical professionals, friends, and even family.

The Path to Wellness

If you can relate to this experience (or love someone who is going through this) I hope you listen to the latest episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast. In it, I'm joined by my colleague. Amy has always had an empowering and supportive approach to therapy and life coaching, but over the last few years, she has developed a specialty in helping people find a path to wellness from challenging, and often complex, chronic health conditions.

She's here today to share her insights into things like:

  • How to muster up the emotional strength to advocate for yourself and communicate your needs…. when you're at a low point physically.
  • What the path to wellness often looks like, twists, turns, dead-ends and all.
  • How to shift your mindset into one that brings you strength, peace, and gratitude during challenging times.
  • How to use “radical mindfulness” to avoid feeling afraid and hopeless.
  • The lifestyle changes and new priorities that can help you focus on your health.
  • How to create a meaningful support system that supports you on your path to wellness.

If you've been dealing with the challenging realities of a chronic health condition, we're glad you're here. We hope this episode provides you with support and guidance on your path back to wellness.

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[social_warfare]

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The Path to Wellness

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Music Credits: November Polaroid, “And Miles to Go”

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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She's the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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Everyone experiences challenges, but only some people recognize these moments as opportunities for growth and positive change.

 

 

Working with an expert therapist or life coach can help you understand yourself more deeply, get a fresh perspective, grow as a person, and become empowered to create positive change in yourself, your relationships and your life.

 

 

Start your journey of growth today by scheduling a free consultation.

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