Are you making any new year’s resolutions? Every year thousands of us do.
Make 2017 a better year for you and your loved by making self-care your priority. When we care for ourselves we are better equipped to handle the challenges that come our way and to embrace the wonder that unfolds before our eyes moment-to-moment. Consider making one or more of the following a priority in 2017.
Coloring is one of the best stress relievers. “It is like meditation because it encourages engagement with the present moment,” said NCU professor Dr. Mary Jill Blackwell. “When we focus on the present moment, we do not worry about the future, ruminate about the past, or engage in negative self talk.”
It’s a great activity for your loved one as well.
Head to your nearest bookstore or Target for some great year-end deals on coloring books and your art supply for the pens and/or pencils. You can also go inexpensively and just head to a dollar store for crayons and print coloring pages from the Internet – here are a couple of my favorite sites.
Set aside 30 min each week to just color. Let yourself go and be in the splendor of the colors and rhythmic feeling that coloring can produce. I love it because it’s great for all family members to enjoy.
Tai Chi, originally developed as a form of Chinese martial arts, is a popular activity recommended by the Mayo Clinic as one of the best ways to reduce stress for its principles of meditative movements. This year make a resolution to begin spending 30 min to an hour on Tai Chi and enjoy the gentle rhythmic flow of body movements that promote calm and serenity.
Inexpensive classes for Tai Chi can be easily found through Meetup or a simple Google search. I strongly recommend looking at YouTube to familiarize yourself with the movements – its easy, simple, and free.
When performed outside, Tai Chi movements activate a kind of synchronicity and grounding with nature bringing about peace and clam throughout the entire body.
Gratitude Journal for 365 days of blessings. There’s truth to the adage that what we focus on we get more of. Counting our blessings puts us in a state of thanks and joy, if for only a few moments a day. And, there’s research to prove it.
Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and they report feeling healthier than other people, according to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences. Not surprisingly, grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health. They exercise more often and are more likely to attend regular check-ups with their doctors, which is likely to contribute to further longevity.
Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. His research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.
Take 30 minutes each day – 15 minutes in the morning and again in the evening to reflect on the good and beauty that surrounds you. As a morning activity, it creates a mindset of joy to begin your day. As a nightly routine, just before bed, it puts us in a state of relaxation that can produce better sleep.
Finally, join a support group – I can’t say enough about the benefits of joining a support group some of which include:
- Feeling less lonely, isolated, or judged
- Gaining a sense of empowerment and control
- Improving coping skills and sense of adjustment
- Talking openly and honestly about your feelings
- Reducing distress, depression, anxiety, or fatigue
Family Connect Care offers weekly groups. It’s incredibly important to have a regular outlet for dealing with the things that come up. Make it a habit of attending several times a month to give you the release you need, to share with others who are going through the same thing as you are, and to learn ways of dealing with the challenges. For more information on our workshops go to www.familyconnectcare.com.
2017 will be a great year and when you embrace your own self-care, you will not only be helping yourself but your loved-one as well…. It’s the best thing you can do for both of you.
Lauren Spiglanin is CEO of Family Connect Care and a leading authority in care management, specializing in helping people challenged by Alzheimer’s and dementia. She has been providing caregivers with peace of mind and advocacy for their loved ones since 2008 and speaks widely to caregivers offering solutions to mitigate burnout. She is a certified Gerontologist and member of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers, a designated Alzheimer’s Association Educator and holds certifications in Wound Management, Facilitation, Mediation, Validation Therapy and Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly. She also holds a Bachelors’ degree from the University of La Verne.