Sunday, September 15, 2019

GOOD GRIEF, Plan Self-Care Activities

For those of you who struggle with guilt regarding self-care, answer this question: What greater gift can you give to those you love than your own wholeness?
Good Grief: Strategies for Building Resilience and Supporting Transformation

     Self-care is the best way to replenish your mind, body and spirit. Most, if not all, of us are givers in varying capacities. We give our time, our money, our expertise, and our presence generously to others on a daily. Yes, it’s important that we give to others. But, we must also give to ourselves, which includes accepting care from others. Not only is it important, I believe that it is essential to our wellbeing.

     Think of how you sometimes feel at the end of a work day — frazzled, tired, hungry and looking forward to more giving of yourself when you get home. You are in a constant state of stress that can have a negative impact on your being. If you do not de-stress, you will implode.

Have you ever considered telling someone, “I need some me time” or “I need a time out”?

And if you have, did you feel guilty, selfish, and undeserving? Of course, you did, and I used to too. Get rid of these negative thoughts and turn yourself around! You need to care for yourself so you can better care for others. What’s the alternative? You wear out and there is nothing left to give. Your resources are depleted.

     So, the first thing I would like you to do is repeat this sentence every day: “I am worthy of self-care, and I choose to plan a ‘me time’ schedule.”

It is even more powerful if you stand in front of a mirror and say this to yourself, as it gives the words a sense of reality while you talk to yourself in the mirror. You may feel silly doing this, so enjoy the laugh — just do it.

     Choosing self-care may be stressful at first if it’s a new behavior for you, so take small steps and allot 15 - 30 minutes for a self-care activity daily. The next important thing to do is to educate your family on your need for self-care and to set limits. This is also an opportunity to teach your family by example of the importance of self-care.

Plan to do one self-care activity focusing on replenishing your mind, body, and spirit. The choices can range from free to expensive and depend on your desires. If money is an issue, choose something simple like taking a walk in nature or taking a bubble bath or salt bath with candles nearby. Don’t forget to put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the bathroom door.

     Here is one of my self-care examples. My daughter made the appointment for me at a local spa. I spent two hours at this spa: one hour for a total body massage and one hour for a facial. I had never done this before and felt out of place, but I did it. What a wonderful feeling the massage was — caring hands gently gliding over my tired, stressed body. The benefit here was not only the immediate caring feeling, but afterward, the release of trapped stress toxins that were worked out of my tissues. The facial was also wonderful and included a hand and foot massage. Something strange happened during the facial experience, I started crying for no reason when my attendant was out of the room. I did not try to figure it out, I just let it be. I left the spa feeling cared for and renewed, as well as grateful to my daughter for such a wonderful gift.

     Self-care activities can be anything that makes you feel good, feel peaceful, feel cared for, and feel relaxed. Some call them guilty pleasures. I consider them survival skills for living…no room for guilt there. Don’t suffer, choose self-care!

Use the Self-care Activity Worksheet on the next page to create and plan your strategies for caring for yourself. Follow the instructions included here as a guide for success.

     In each box, write a few things that you consider self-care that you can accomplish daily. There are two additional boxes to write items of your choice. Once you have listed your ideas, put an amount of time next to each one that you are willing to commit to the activity. Then make a choice to do one activity…and do it. Once you have written down your choices, you have a better chance of follow-through. Remember that you deserve and need this self-care to be your best for others.

You may start your self-care activities without revealing them to others at first. But remember, you can also include your family and/or friends by educating them to your needs. Do whatever meets your requirements. This will take practice if you are a novice to self-care. You may find a friend who is willing to be your accomplice in self-care! Don’t be bashful, just ask.


·       I honor myself and take care of all my needs.
·       I love every cell of my being.
·       I take time out for myself to restore my mind, body and spirit.


With her permission, I am serializing here nurse Cheryl Barrett's valuable book on transcending grief. I had the pleasure of being her coach and editor through my Write Your Book with Me enterprise. 

Douglas Winslow Cooper, PhD

Perhaps the easiest way to obtain a copy of her book, published by Outskirts Press, is through this Amazon link: 

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