8 tools for connection
Image: Matt W Newman | UnsplashConnection is, and has always been, important. And yet it is something that most of us could do with up-skilling!
by Sarah Nally
Connection is indispensable in most areas of our lives, however I’m going to look at one angle specifically in this article. Which you can apply to your environment, in whichever way/s it resonates.
The more tools we have, the better we are likely to be at connecting with others. And with ourselves.
How do you work with someone you love?Never before has this question affected such a large proportion of the world. In the past, couples who worked together were few and far between. Today, lockdowns, COVID-19, and the rising trend of work-from-home means an increasing number of couples and lovers are finding themselves sharing more than just a bed each day.

As someone who has worked with both my ex husband and my current fiancé, I have a few tips to share, to help you create harmony and flow while navigating working together, and keep the love shining.
Whether you’re working from home with kids, with your parents or in-laws, or any other number of potential stressors, creating closeness, intimacy, and connection with your partner becomes more important than ever. Particularly as we run the risk of taking each other’s presence for granted from the relative overload of contact.

Over the years we have played with lots of different tools, environments, and mindsets to maintain and spark intimacy and connection. Here are our top tools to spark connection, conversation, and closeness when you’re spending 24x7 with the one you love.
The tools for connection:1: Book dates, even in lockdown
We love the good old cook for each other / set the table / picnic in the lounge room / movie night / themed evening sort of stuff. Some other nice ones include dressing up and pretending you’re going out, or planning a slow walk in a slightly different part of your neighbourhood. An audio bookclub can be fun too.

2: Book dates with yourself
Self-love is such an important part of connection. Taking ‘you time’ to read, scroll Instagram, do some online shopping or watch something on tv that is all about you is a super important thing to create time for.

3: Conversation cards
Have you used any pre-made cards for sparking conversations? They can be a great bridge into useful topics. We love ‘Let’s get deep, questions for couples’, ‘You think you know me’, ‘Our moments’, ‘Love Language’ by Gone Beachin, ‘101 conversation starters for couples’. There are probably hundred of others that you could get your hands on, too.

4: Rituals
We love 5 conscious breaths each day (with eye contact!). Coffee in the morning. Meditating together. Working out together (a quick YouTube 15 minute yoga or dance class can be fun to mix it up!).

5: Pillow talk
Creating space to unpack your day. Yes you have been there all day which makes you less likely to do this, so encouraging it, and asking different questions to help each other unpack and connect becomes even more important.

6: Rewards
We have a special jar of lollies or cookies on the top shelf that is for special occasions. This isn’t about deprivation for anyone else in the house (including kids), it is about creating little special rituals and moments to connect.

7: Do the work
This is one of those 21st century phrases, I know, but wow it really is a relationship saviour! Taking time to understand the trigger, uncover the subconscious driver or belief, and shift energy into a new paradigm is a really worthwhile thing. We journal, dialogue, and use cards as a tool to ignite curiosity, a sense of wonder around these tricky areas or conversations.

8: Find out more about each other
Perhaps you could do the 5-love language quiz by Gary Chapman. Alternatively, find out your enneagram type or star sign. Maybe do the 16 personalities quiz. Definitely show interest in each other’s unique differences, and find ways to celebrate them.
The key for us is to make sure we continue to introduce a tension of rituals and structure/routine, and pattern disruptors in our relationship, so that we can create a sense of connection, belonging, and spice. We work together to keep the chemistry flowing and connection glowing.
Inevitably things sometimes get toughThese are our go-to’s when we are feeling stressed, or noticing strain in our connection:

1. Fill your cup:
You can’t pour from an empty cup! If we are feeling the tensions rising, or things beginning to grate, we take a moment to check in with ourselves and wonder what we can do to fill our cup. Do we need sleep? Food? Some alone time? To call a friend? Drink more water? Take a nice long bath?

2. Unpack:
I love asking myself these questions, that I learned from a coach in NZ, Wade Jackson: What is on your mind? What is taking up mental energy? How does stress show up in your life? What are your tools for managing your stress?

3. Show up & reconnect:
Create space to reconnect, ask each other questions, understand each others love languages and consciously make an effort to speak them. 
Image: Emma Frances Logan | UnsplashOur final tool is a pretty simple one; BE LOVEIt is a simple thought, but so easy to slip away from love and into fear. Therefore, when you find the tension or grate starting to rise, ask yourself – how can I be more loving and compassionate right now, to all parties, including myself?
About the author:
Sarah is a design leader on a mission to help us all discover the power of human centred design in business and life. Co-founder of innovative event series Wired for Wonder, tropical retreat Nurture Her, shoe business Sienna Baby, creative consultancy Wonder & Wander and GM Design at ASB, Sarah is passionate about helping people unlock their wonder mindset and reach their full potential.
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