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February is American Heart Month but it’s also my favorite time of year and always has been since I can remember! And to make this month even more meaningful I had a special gift delivered on Valentine’s Day – a baby boy! What a gift he is!  But each day should be a gift, especially during heart month.

Woman writing "Love You" in a journal. Letters and chocolate bar.

So, in honor of the love month, I do a few special things starting with writing love letters. I write love letters to each of my children reminding them of my love and how proud I am of their accomplishments. I send these letters through regular mail on purpose – no email allowed – so they can see my handwriting and feel connected to me. I also take time to send Valentines to friends, family and the elderly. 

Something special happens when writing: the act of sitting down to write causes me to slow down and think of those I love for a moment. Other good benefits of handwriting letters are:

  1. You feel more in touch with the person you are contacting.
  2. You get to take a moment out of your hectic schedule to just breathe and write.
  3. You get to practice your handwriting.
  4. You can use all your fun stationery supplies for a totally legitimate reason!

The American Heart Association agrees that we should do simple things each day for our hearts. Aside from writing letters, you might:

  • Count your blessings
  • Stretch
  • Read a book or magazine
  • Clean up clutter (start with just one drawer)
  • Take a walk
  • Draw hearts on post-it notes and stick on someone’s coffee mug

It’s the little things in life that add up and make a big difference. We can all choose to do a little something each day to improve our health and share joy of the gift of another day with the people we love.

Have a wonderful February!

XOXO

Shari

Written by: Shari Gallup, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Licking County

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County

Sources:

  1. American Heart Association, http://www.heart.org/
  2. Abrahamsen, Shelley. (2019). The Art of Writing Letters (and why you should start today!) https://littlecoffeefox.com/art-writing-letters-start-today/The
  3. Brencher, Hannah. The World Needs More Love Letters.  http://www.moreloveletters.com/

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Communication is a very important tool that we need to keep in our box. Not only do the communication principles apply to work, friendships and family but it is also highly relevant in relationships with our partners. Open, honest communication is vital to planting your relationship and watching it grow. conversation

Try these tips for being a successful communicator in your relationship:

1. Talk face to face. In this day and age the most common form of talking is with a cellphone in hand or by posting a status update. People are more likely to open up when they feel as if they’re the center of attention. Be personal and be present.

2. Be aware of your body language. Make eye contact and have good posture. This allows your partner to know that you are listening and that they have your full attention. Process what they are saying and then respond.

3. Timing is important. If something is on your mind, carefully choose the time to bring up the matter. Tell your partner that you would like to discuss something and then find time when you’re in the same room without any distractions.

4. Don’t attack your partner and try to avoid using harsh language. Using the word “you” can make your partner feel like they’re being blamed causing them to feel defensive. Using words like “I” and “we” are better alternatives. For example consider saying “I’ve been feeling very distant from you”, instead of “You haven’t been giving me very much attention”.

5. Use the 48-hour rule. If your partner does something that makes you upset then you need to talk about it. But remember, timing is everything. If you’re still angry 48 hours later – bring it up to them. If not then it’s probably best to let it go. Remember that your partner can’t read your mind. If they don’t know about the problem then they can’t respond and apologize.

Communication isn’t always easy. Like anything else, it takes practice. Using these tips can help you be a successful communicator and have a healthy relationship.

coffee talk

Source:
http://www.loveisrespect.org/healthy-relationships/communicate-better/

Written by: Mallorie Wippel, Agriculture Intern Student, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA.

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, treber.1@osu.edu

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Your girlfriend wants to know who you have been talking to, your boyfriend texts you repeatedly to see where you are or to stay in touch, your partner uses words to put you down, your spouse or partner hits and kicks you or you find yourself being stalked by a partner from your past.

What do these things have in common?

They are all types of Intimate Partner Violence. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 3 in 10 women and 1 in 10 men in the US have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by a partner.
We know the problem exists and it is now time to speak up and speak out about this violence. Domestic violence affects every race, religion, gender, class and culture. According to http://Breakthecycle.org nearly 3 out of 4 Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence.

Women Supporting each other

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loveisrespect.org highlights these warning signs of potential abuse:
• Checking your cell phone or email without permission
• Constantly putting you down
• Extreme jealousy or insecurity
• Explosive temper
• Isolating you from family or friends
• Making false accusations
• Mood swings
• Physically hurting you in any way
• Possessiveness
• Telling you what to do
• Pressuring or forcing you to have sex
If you are experiencing any of these signs of abuse or if your gut feeling tells you something isn’t right, seek help right away. Talk to a friend, parent, family member, law enforcement officer, co-worker, counselor, or physician.

The website, http://www.LoveisRespect.org has information, resources and a peer advocate is available for a live chat or text messaging chat.

Text “loveis” to 22522 or call 1-866-331-9474.
Want to learn more? Check out the online Power and Control Wheel from the Love is Respect website

Power & Control Wheelhttp://www.loveisrespect.org/is-this-abuse/power-and-control-wheel

The wheel allows you to navigate around the perimeter of the wheel and see information, short videos, talking points, and tips for different types of abuse. Use this interactive wheel to lead discussions with teens, young adults, or others.

Topics on the Power and Control Wheel include:

  • Isolation/Exclusion
  • Peer Pressure
  • Anger/Emotional
  • Using Social Status
  • Sexual Coercion
  •  Intimidation
  • Minimize/Deny/Blame
  • Threats

Remember, if you have the feeling that something isn’t right with your relationship, seek help and talk to someone about your concerns. Listen to the little voice that is telling you to make a change.

Writer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, Heart of Ohio EERA, rabe.9@osu.edu

Resources:

Understanding Intimate Partner Violence Fact Sheet, 2014, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control available from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pub/ipv_factsheet.html

http://www.loveisrespect.org

http://www.breackthecycle.org

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