Tag Archives: self care

LENT: Look to the Positives

What if you rephrased the question of “What will I give up?” to “What will I gain?”

This short blog will utilize the counseling paradigm of the BIOPSYCHOSOCIOSPIRITUAL Model that focuses on the premise that each person is a unique and complex human who is composed of a physical being, an emotional being, a relational being, and a spiritual being.

What if you decided during this Lenten season to focus on one particular area of your life – based on the above concept – and focused on what is to be gained instead of lost?

BIO = Your body

What one thing can you do each day to better your physical health?

Take note that by doing something better, you’re actually giving up something that is of much lesser quality that may be harmful for your physical health.

How would this change your view of what you eat, drink, or improve self care since you are created in the image of God and your body is a “living sacrifice?” [Romans 12:1,2]

PSYCHO = Your mind

What can you do each day to take ownership of your thoughts and choose to think on things that are “true, noble, right, pure, admirable, and honorable?” [Philippians 4:8]

Do you need to “crucify” an attitude of entitlement and, instead, focus on gratitude for 40 days?

Take note that by choosing better things to think about, you’re actually giving up thoughts of much lesser quality that may be harmful for your emotional health.

(Are you starting to see a pattern? 🙂

SOCIO = Your relationships

What can you do each day to improve the relationships in your life? No, not what OTHERS should do, but what YOU decide to do to improve your marriage, friendships, relationships with your children, etc.

Do you need to start focusing on what the people in your life are doing well as opposed to what they aren’t? Does your attitude of harshness or selfishness need to be “crucified?”

Take note that by choosing to improve the relationships in your life, you’re actually giving up the right to only seeing things from your perspective.

SPIRITUAL = Your relationship with God

How can you choose to intentionally meet with Him each day?

Take note that by choosing to improve your relationship with your Creator, you’re giving up something of much lesser quality that demands your energy and time.

Side note:  You may say you don’t worship God.  Well, okay.  But look at WHAT or WHOM you DO worship, because we all worship something or someone.  And misdirected worship never satisfies. Never has, never will.

Focus on what you’re gaining this Lenten season as opposed to what you’re giving up.  It pales in comparison.

This is Hope Unveiled!

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Anxious Living: “Y” in R.E.S.I.L.I.E.N.C.Y.

This is the last blog in my series on stress management.

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You wake to another day of stress.  Instead of a “new beginning,” it seems more like “here I go again.” Chronos time instead of kairos time.  The former indicates the time ticking off the clock, while the latter connotes time that is “pregnant with purpose.”  Keep reading.

The “Y” in R.E.S.I.L.I.E.N.C.Y. implies leaning in and saying “yes” to whatever the particular life challenge may be that is causing stress.  Let me make a clear distinction here….

This is not permission to continue with a frantic lifestyle.  If your schedule is stressing you because your problem IS saying “yes” to too many things, this is an issue of boundary setting.  Your life needs margin on every level: physically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually.

These are things that you ultimately have control over, whether or not you believe it to be so.

What I’m specifically referring to in this blog are the stressors that you have no control over. Examples would include, but are not limited to, grief; family crisis due to another’s actions; caregiving; conflicts in relationships; marital difficulties.

These are things that you ultimately don’t have control over, but are affected by.

Neurobiology is currently clear about the psychological and physiological benefits of tackling issues instead of avoiding them.  And here we have the concept of “fight or flight” coming into play as well as one’s interpretation of the stressor itself:

“I can do this. It’s not an easy time, but I can handle this”   rather than    “This is the worst thing that can happen,” or “Why is this happening? I don’t deserve this.”

For instance, grieving people need to clean out their loved one’s belongings, dine at frequently visited restaurants, etc.  In other words, saying “yes” to those things they wish they didn’t have to deal with. The process of doing so, however, is not only healing, but also allows them to grow in confidence as they journey toward a new normal.

You are actually more resilient than you believe you are, but how you interpret an unexpected life stressor is crucial to your ability to maneuver through it.

Here are some additional coaching tips for a season of stress:

  • DAILY GRATITUDE.  Yes, gratitude.  Be intentionally thankful and focus on what is going well (e.g. physical wellbeing, healthy relationships, what you’re thankful for, etc.). Be grateful for the smallest, often taken for granted, things.

The Positivity Ratio (>3 to 1) postulates that learning to incorporate gratitude as a habit when life is going well will be psychologically beneficial when things aren’t.  It help you cognitively balance out the negative (the “1”).

  • DAILY RECOVERY TIME.  If you are in daily chronic stress, have daily recovery time (e.g. listening to music, reading a book, a favorite hobby, etc.).
  • DAILY INQUIRY FOR GROWTH.  Viktor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning, encouraged his post WWII patients to look for the “bigger picture” perspective (e.g. “How can I allow this event to not be wasted in my life?” or “How can I help others later on?,” or “What can I now contribute to society [mankind] because I have gone through this experience?”

Lean in. Say yes. Be proactive as possible.  Seek professional help if needed.  Practice self care.  Set boundaries (either for self care or relationally).  Allow margin.

Each day has an ending.   One day you will awake to a new beginning where you find yourself to be stronger, wiser, and better able to encourage others.

This is Hope Unveiled!

 

The Sandwich Generation: Has Life Taken a Bite Out of You?

I became “sandwiched” between my youngest child’s diaper bag with snacks on one shoulder while heaving another bag carrying my aging parents’ file folders of bank statements on the other.

I became weighed down physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually during a season of life that none of my peers could relate to. I was in my mid-30s. And as an only child, the burden of caregiving was on my shoulders. Although I can look back with no regret, there were quite a few issues that were a huge learning curve. Nothing could have prepared me for what I did well and what I didn’t.

Here are some suggestions for the caregiver: S.A.N.D.W.I.C.H.

S = Self care is crucial.

How can you take care of yourself on a daily
basis? What will recharge your emotional and physical bodies? How
will you learn to say  “yes” and “no” when needed?
Caregivers struggle with boundaries, and it is crucial to examine your beliefs that maintain that you “can’t” or “can” do something.

A = Address ASAP those “sticky” issues with your loved ones.

Are their legal documents in order? Examples include Powers of
Attorney, Living Wills, Estate Wills, just to name a few.
Do they desire to stay in their home? Are there financial resources to
accomplish this? Obtain names of the parents’ professional network and
secure Powers of Attorney to discuss parents’ financial, legal, and
medical matters with the respective professionals.

If the aging loved one is not of sound mind, guardianship may be needed.
Consult a lawyer in your state as needed to answer these questions.

N = Name individuals who can help.

Who can be a support system for you and your family as well as
those to help your aging parents?

Examples include, but are not limited to, neighbors, close friends, local
agencies to provide services, and professionals (accountants, lawyers,
doctors, and cleaning services, etc.).

D = Driving.

How will you assess the driving abilities of their parent(s)?

Are those who are aging able to drive? This can easily be a source of
conflict among family members, but a necessary topic to discuss.
If needed, let the medical professionals speak to this issue.

W = Wishes.

How will you begin the conversation with their loved ones
regarding their wishes? Wishes can be an all inclusive topic regarding
care (short term and long term).

What are the unwritten and unspoken beliefs that “drive” your family
regarding care? These are expectations that need to be addressed.
In doing so, you may or may not be realistic given each family’s
unique responsibilities. There is no right or wrong formula for these
issues.

I = Invite God into every detail.

What is your view of God? Do you feel He is distant? Near?
How can you best sense and feel God’s presence?
You may want to journal their spiritual journal. Also, it will
be a blessing to reflect back on their written record in future years.

C = Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. With your spouse.

How can you daily communicate with your spouse to stay emotionally
connected?
How can your spouse listen with empathy so as to understand?
How can you, as a couple, navigate this season of caregiving while still
honoring their marital covenant as priority?

Communication coaching may be needed.

H = Humor.

How can you incorporate humor or other healthy coping skills
to build resiliency? Humor is good for the mind and body in relieving
stress. Make a list of your “Top 10” to incorporate on a
regular basis to promote positive self care. In addition, these will be
identifiable life skills for the future.

Many unexpected details of caregiving sandwich the caregiver on every level. You can be as proactive as possible with the issues that are within your control.

This is Hope Unveiled!