Can you believe the amount of energy we’ve poured out in the past month? Let’s spend time connecting more with ourselves.
Answer “Yes” or “No” to the following statements:
- Do you have enough time for yourself?
- Is every minute of every day scheduled for something?
- Do you feel you’ve lost sight of who you are?
- Can you remember the last time you took a day off to do something fun, something just for you?
- Do you feel stressed out most of the time?
- Do you sometimes feel as though you never have a chance to catch your breath before moving on to the next project?
- Can you remember the last time you finished a book that you read purely for pleasure?
- Do you wish you had more time for some outside interests and hobbies, but simply don’t?
- Do you often feel exhausted — even early in the week?
- Do you do what you do because so many people (children, partners, parents) depend on you for support?
You probably see the theme presented as you answer those questions. As caregivers, our focus tends to be on those around us rather than ourselves. Every article or magazine we read on “taking care of ourselves” says the same thing: if we don’t do it, we will pay the greatest price, our own health and well-being.
A healthy life balance includes five areas: intellectual, physical body, social, emotional, and spiritual. These forces are in constant motion. When we feel a sense of control over our world and ourselves, we feel steady and comfortable. There is balance between giving and taking.
“Intellectual wellness is the ability to learn new things and expand your mind… Physical wellness is eating healthy, exercising, resting, and avoiding harmful habits… Social wellness relates to your ability to connect with others and maintain healthy relationships… Emotional wellness is the ability to recognize your emotions and deal with them is a healthy way on a daily basis… Spiritual wellness is finding meaning and purpose in your life.” (Jennifer Treger, University of Maryland, 2002)
A life-changing moment came when I wasn’t caring for myself. It took place at a parent group. We were talking about our favorite moments as a child and a Dad said, “When I heard snow falling.” I never heard snow falling and asked him to explain further. His reply was, “I walked outside during a snowfall, closed my eyes and just listened. I could hear the snow fall.” I asked, “ What does it sounds like?” His silence was followed by the comment, “Slow down, stop and listen.” I followed his recommendation and actually understand the beauty in hearing snow fall!
– Beth Frydlewicz, System Director Volunteer Services, Beaumont Health System