Posts Tagged ‘health’
Like many people at year’s end, I am both looking backward to reflect on all that has happened, and forward to the opportunities and blessings of a new year.
We often generate a list of resolutions for the fresh start we feel with the coming of a new year, but just as often leave our good intentions behind after a short burst of “self-improvement.”
This year, I’m trying a completely different strategy.
This year, I will strive every day to do two simple things to bring my past and future together into a single moment of BE-ing.
First, I will cultivate a practice of gratitude. I will start and end my day by meditating on the many blessings I have in my life. This will focus me on abundance rather than scarcity, and helps keep me humble.
Second, instead of a daily “to do” list, (I am a great list-maker!), I will take a moment each morning to jot down what and how I want “to BE.” This idea comes from Elyse Hope Killoran, whom I heard speak at a recent conference presented by Casey Truffo.
When Elyse suggested that I think about what good service to others feels like, the following words came to mind: grateful, joyful, abundant, light, happy, accomplished, and balanced.
By consciously choosing to BE these things, I make decisions and act from that place, and my vision for my professional practice and for my private life becomes a reality.
Elyse recommends that we change the traditional idea that if we DO certain things, or HAVE what we want, we will then BE the person we’ve always wanted to be.
She teaches that we BE first, then DO. Only then will you HAVE what you want and need.
Elyse says, “If we have a big enough why, the hows and wheres will take care of themselves.” I am reminded of Stephen Covey’s encouragement to work on BE-ing, to cultivate gratitude, to see the world as abundant, and to live a life according to personal principles. He develops all of these ideas in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People.
Creating a “to BE” list might be one of the most powerful ways to start the New Year!
Will you try this practice and let me know how it works for you?
This is one New Year’s resolution you must make and keep, without delay!
Everyone over the age of 18 should plan ahead for their medical care, and consider who will speak for them if they can not speak for themselves.
It’s not enough to have a signed Health Care Proxy form (in some states, this may be called a Power of Attorney for Health Care); many people sign the forms then misplace them, or never have the important conversations with loved ones that give guidance about values and preferences.
“Sharing Your Wishes” is a comprehensive approach that can walk you through four steps that will ensure that your loved ones understand your health care choices.
The steps in this approach include:
1. Think about what is important to you and how you want to receive care
2. Select a person to speak for you if you are unable to speak for yourself
3. Talk about your health care wishes
4. Put your choices in writing
The form itself is easy to complete and doesn’t require a notary or lawyer. It can be difficult to talk about these issues, though, especially if you or a loved one is dealing with a chronic or serious illness.
The Sharing Your Wishes website has easy-to-use materials and videos that fully explain each step and support you and your loved ones in having these important conversations.
Many counties in Central and Western New York have local Sharing Your Wishes Coalitions where more materials and support can be found; their names and phone numbers are listed on the website.
If you are outside the area, contact your local Bar Association or Area Agency on Aging for more information.
Please visit the Sharing Your Wishes website at www.sharingyourwishes.org for more information about this important topic today. Make sure you and all the adults in your life have appointed a Health Care Agent, and have started to have these important conversations with your loved ones and with your health care providers.
P.S. Don’t hesitate to consult with a counselor if you need more support; dealing with chronic or terminal illness is very stressful and you don’t have to deal with it alone.
Peace and Wellness to you and yours in the New Year!
Lisa Kendall is a licensed clinical social worker with a private practice in Ithaca, New York. She is a trainer for the Tompkins County Sharing Your Wishes Coalition.
Sharing Your Wishes is sponsored by the Community Health Foundation of Western & Central New York.
In our culture, we shrink from signs of weakness or disability, preferring to see ourselves and each other as strong and capable.
Often, the very tools that might keep us independent, such as a cane or walker, are refused because they seem to represent frailty. In reality, these assistive devices can make walking safer and prevent falls, allowing the greatest possible independence!
I was thinking about how hard it is for many Elders to accept the need for a walker or cane, or even the use of a wheelchair for trips out and about, and how troubling it is that our society has such strong prejudices about the use of such devices.
Then I realized that I have held the same deep biases about self-care and doing the things I need to do to stay healthy and strong.
As a health care professional, I’ve learned the hard way that I have to practice what I preach about taking good care of my mind, body and spirit, or I won’t be able to care for my family, clients, and friends.
- Have you ever felt guilty about getting a massage, considering it a luxury rather than part of your stress management strategy?
- Do you take time to plan and enjoy healthy, nutritious meals?
- Are you getting regular, enjoyable exercise?
- Do you have hobbies outside of work or caregiving that delight and inspire you?
These things are not “crutches,” they are important tools to keep you healthy and strong and able to stay in service. Give them the priority they (and you!) deserve, and schedule time for them in ink on your calendar.
We’ll continue to talk about this, because too many professional care partners and family caregivers are suffering from over-load and are vulnerable to stress-related illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and depression.
Please write me a comment (below) to let me know what you will do to take care of your SELF this week!
A few years ago I was preparing for surgery, and a therapist colleague suggested I get some Mandala coloring books to color during my recovery.
Mandalas are circular designs, often associated with Hindu or Buddhist meditation, and the designs can be quite intricate. Once I started looking, I realized that many cultures from around the world have beautiful circular designs connected with their spiritual practices.
I was especially drawn to the more complex designs, and found that I felt serene and my mind seemed to calm while I filled in the tiny spaces with colored pencils, and it was also an easy, no-mess project to set aside if I got tired.
Once back at my caregiver counseling job, I started suggesting the idea to family members who often struggled to find ways to relax during their stressful days. Several were very intrigued with the idea and immediately recalled long-unused art supplies or neglected coloring books already on-hand.
If you are taking care of an older or ill loved one, or are just looking for a way to calm your mind in the midst of a hectic day, try coloring Mandalas. You can find the books through your local bookseller, local arts & crafts store, or print some pages online for free at http://www.coloringcastle.com/mandala_coloring_pages.html
Let me know if this works for you, too!