Spring cleaning the soul: hospice caregivers can greet spring anew
By Terri Durkin, SLP
Springtime is not only a perfect time for home spring cleaning, but it is a perfect time to spring clean and detox your body as well. Your body needs attention after this harsh, snowy winter, especially when you have been providing care to a loved one with advanced illness.
Spring is a time of renewal. Internal spring cleaning will leave you feeling more invigorated and energetic.
1. Clean up your thoughts to bring sunshine into your moods and emotions. Living a stressed life can adversely affect the health of your body which in turn affects your moods and emotions. Take time to look at nature and absorb its beauty. You may admire the ‘green’ that surrounds us as spring approaches. Flower bulbs are beginning to pop up. Immediately you will notice your body begins to feel relaxed.
2. Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body and relax. This is because when you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. The brain then sends this message to your body. Those things that happen when you are stressed, such as increased heart rate, fast breathing, and high blood pressure, all decrease as you breathe deeply to relax.
3. Take a walk outside. Expend a little exercise; reap major benefits, such as feeling more energetic!
4. Take a hot bath.
5. Consider a massage or aromatherapy. Research shows many benefits from improving circulation and muscle aches, relieving pains from arthritis to improving mental health and clarity.
6. Eat well. Proper nutrition is proportional to the amount of energy we have.
7. Get enough rest! Most of us get by on far less sleep than is recommended. Average adult should get 7-9 hours sleep per night. Create a bedtime routine that relaxes your body and mind, such as taking a warm bath, turning off electronics, and listening to relaxing music and sounds.
8. Drink more water. Dehydration is a common cause of fatigue and low energy levels. Steer away from beverages that have high sugar content or energy drinks.
9. Calm your soul. Listen to calming music or meditate. Consider all the things in your life that you are blessed with.
10. Relinquish obligations. Allow family and friends to assist with care of loved one. Don’t allow guilt to trap you in doing everything. It’s a sure way to a breakdown.
11. Give away material things that you do not need or use. Today, many families may appreciate your donated items.
12. LAUGH. A belly laugh a day may keep a doctor away – or at the least make you feel good! Learn to laugh at life and its challenges.
An unknown writer wrote: “Letting go isn’t the end of the world; it’s the beginning of a new life.”