Short essays by Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., the author of TING AND I: A Memoir of Love, Courage and Devotion, published in September 2011 by Outskirts Press (Parker, CO, USA), available from outskirtspress.com/tingandi, Barnes and Noble [bn.com], and Amazon [amazon.com], in paperback or ebook formats. Please visit us at tingandi.com for more information.
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?
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
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
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
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.
honor myself and take care of all my needs.
love every cell of my being.
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