By Harriet, Editor-At-Large Australia
Health includes not just our physical body but also our psychological selves, our social set up and our spiritual selves. All three of these directly impact on our body’s functioning, our hormonal systems and our immune system.
This is an exercise to help you become aware of what you do well from a psycho-social-spiritual health perspective. – This is just as important as knowing what you need to change, in order for you to get better or to improve your overall stress levels. You must be aware of something before you can act on it – so scientifically gather the data for your self care experiment. Use the form below the instructions as your template for gathering your data.
For each aspect that you have done well give yourselves a tick (ü). Every now and then you will recognize something that you would prefer to have handled differently. That is great, give yourselves a plus sign (+) to indicate this. We do not allow a cross (x) because this is not a matter of getting something wrong. You have a plus for awareness and after you become aware you may well find the resources to make changes in the future.
Are you getting sufficient sleep, rest (including blob out time – see the note below for the definition of blob out time), relaxing time.
Is your diet balanced and appropriate? Sufficient fruit, vegetables, protein and water, and reduced processed food.
Are you getting daily appropriate exercise? Is it sufficient?
Are you seeing your GP/health professional as needed and getting the advice you need?
Are you taking required medications?
Are you going to the toilet as needed?
Are you managing your temperature requirements appropriately? Not too cold, too hot?
Any other physical requirements – dust, mould, allergens etc?
Are you doing too much? If so give yourself a +
Are you accepting yourself: who you are, where you are, how you are, why you are the way you are?
Give a tick for each occasion you value yourself.
Are you staying away from self judgment? (Evaluation is judgment if you feel bad about it.)
Values and principles, time management, priority and boundary setting
What is important to you?
Did you make decisions about your time management in relation to your values?
Did you set priorities in relation to your values?
Did you set appropriate boundaries so that others are not able to invade yours constantly?
Give yourself a tick for each affirming relationship you have had today.
What are your relationships like with your partner, family, work colleagues, social contacts?
Give yourself a tick for any personal work you do on anything that hangs over you, drains your energy or causes a strong emotional response, eg: relationship issues, poor self esteem, abuse issues, over-commitment, anger, etc
Fun, enjoyment, humour
Give yourself a tick for anything that you enjoyed, encouraged relaxation or made you laugh.
Give yourself a tick for any activity which is expressive of you. This includes craft, art (in the widest sense), music, home redecorations, gardening, cooking and many hobbies.
Future and dreams
Give yourself a tick for time spent with hope, desires and plans for anything that makes you feel more complete, more whole, more enjoyment, anything you look forward to.
Blob out time is time when you just stop. You give yourself permission to do nothing. You are not watching TV, reading, thinking, reflecting, planning, or even listening to the radio. This is stop time, non functioning time. You might choose to have a cup of tea or coffee and a small snack. You might choose to have some relaxing music in the background but it’s not the time to be listening or doing. Any TV watching is general relaxation time and this is in addition to blob out time.
STOP, STOP. Now before you go and read on, “thinking, yeah, yeah, that’s a bit basic, I know all that stuff”. Stop, and think, “Am I really acknowledging to myself all those things that I’m doing right?”
Mostly we spend time bemoaning the things we can’t do, thinking about what we would like to do and blaming ourselves for not being able to do more, or other people for not understanding that we can’t do more.
So… stop… and go through the exercise. Give yourself a pat on the back for EVERYTHING you are doing right – well at least a tick. The experience as we did this exercize weekly was that it took about ten to twelve weeks to ingrain the concept of developing awareness into our everyday thinking.
We have to start (or continue if you already have this insight) recognizing EVERY positive we can. Life is difficult enough with a health condition or when stressed without making it more difficult by “forgetting” all the things we are doing right.
Check out this graph to help you through an exercise: