Hope in the Midst of Life ~ April 2017

 In Featured

What a winter we’ve had!  Not much snow, but it seems like a lot of sickness!  I don’t know about you, but I’d rather shovel snow than sit up with a sick child, or feel miserable myself!  As I write this, my daffodils are starting to bloom and I noticed yesterday that the hyacinths are budding!  Finally, there is great promise of spring!

I remember as a child, my mom would do “spring cleaning”.  Lately I’m not so great at this tradition.  I don’t know if you do spring cleaning, but I’d like to suggest a couple things, and they aren’t about the dirt on our windows, the dust on the tables, or the cobwebs behind the chairs.  What if we could get ourselves cleaned up?

More and more we read about how important our “gut-health” is.  Science is learning that the strength of our immune system and the health of our thinking are very much related to the health of our intestinal system.  According to what I am learning –  plain Greek yogurt with honey instead of sugar in it, and maybe with some fresh or frozen fruit thrown in, may be a great way to get our systems into a healthier place where we can fight disease and have positive moods! (Perlmutter and Mercola)

So you might grab some real yogurt, and let’s talk about our thinking…  How are your thoughts?

Good science also tells us that resilient people, (those who survive through difficult situations) are able to recognize that life is hard in the moment, but they continue to hope that things will get better!

As caregivers, it can be easy to be focused on the miserableness of the challenges, and the needs of those we are helping.  But what if our minds and hearts, and immune systems would be better off if we just acknowledge the difficulties and then focus on having hope?  Just like my “gut” may need yogurt, my mind needs refocusing and refreshing!

Recently I have found that some short journaling really helps me unwind and refreshes me.  It is a way to remind myself of the things that give me joy. So I offer you a few questions to think about your “important things” and journal them as you wish.  By the way, if you doodle and color pictures beside your answers – you will get even more out of this.  (Also, if you can get your beautiful ones to consider some of these at their levels, the better off they will be too. 🙂  So grab a notebook and maybe some yogurt…

  1. What are your five favorite scents?
  2. What are your five favorite sounds?
  3. If you could do absolutely any five things you wanted today – what would they be?
  4. What is your favorite song right now?
  5. What are the five most important things ever spoken to you?
  6. Who are the five most impactful people in your life?
  7. Ten things that you are grateful for.
  8. Five things that give you comfort. (Remember to do these on your tougher days.)
  9. Three things that make you laugh.
  10. Three things that say “I love you” to you.
  11. Three things that say “I love you” to those beautiful ones around you.
  12. What would help you the most right now?  (Aside from a million dollars and your own plane to your own island! J)
  13. What one positive change would you like to work on to improve your attitude and your day?
  14. What three fairly simple things could you reasonably add into your week that would help you cope?
  15. What do you enjoy making, and when was the last time you made it?
  16. Who do you need to thank in your life?
  17. Where is your favorite place to relax and just be?

We know, as caregivers, life has joyous moments.  But often the day-to-day can be very challenging.  It is in those challenging times, we have to be aware of the challenges enough to purposely think of some of the answers to these questions.  And then, we will cope much better. Consider “spring cleaning” for your health; a little yogurt and a little more thoughtfulness about your “important things” will go a long way! I see dust blowing away already!   Happy Spring!

Janet Miller  MA LPCC

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