Food for Thought for the Times

One of the things we are proud of and grateful for is our partners. All of them provide insights, information, and support that we are delighted to be able to pass along to our growing caregiving population. 

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We couldn’t possibly speak higher of one of our partners, the Law Offices of Janis Carney. Janis and her entire staff offer exceptional services, comprehensive knowledge, and sincere dedication to their clients. So in the final week of National Hope Month, we are very honored and happy to be able to share this article written by a staff member, Molly Kahn. 

Molly, thank you!

For many people, the shock, change, and consequences of remaining at home during this “stay in place” quarantine period is hard to deal with. Perhaps for some of us less affected by these new limitations, it has only put a crimp in our lifestyle. For others it may be a frightening and catastrophic change of pace. Despite feelings of helplessness, loneliness and general frustrations arising due to these new and imposed limitations on our lives, one thing is for sure, we have to wait it out. With that, we can take great comfort in that we are all experiencing the same feelings and reactions together.

Now that we understand that we are all in this pickle together, allow me to make some suggestions. These suggestions, tips and activities are made and given with the hope of alleviating any negative consequences that you may be experiencing during this quarantine period. When the danger has passed, we may never get back to exactly “normal”, but we may feel more enriched, engaged and healthier than we did before the quarantine period started. What I am saying is, there has never been a better time to enjoy and make good use of this personal time that we have on our hands now and to make improvements in any or all areas of our lives. Learning new behaviors at any age is not easy. For some of us it could be easy to fall into old coping habits, it looks like we are going to have the time to at least reconsider our priorities moving forward.

Stay in close contact with your loved ones on a daily basis or weekly basis simply by making a phone call and talking to them about how much you love them and how much they mean to you.  Perhaps you can reminisce about the time when you did this and that. Conjure up happy, humorous memories with family and friends.  Share these memories with the most beloved people in your life. Talk about the feelings and emotions that are coming up for you during this sensitive and uncertain transitional period. Share your concerns and sadness with your closest friends and loved ones. Prioritizing a positive attitude does not mean to neglect of any raw feelings of sadness and concern that you may have. Chances are, your friends and loved ones are feeling the very same way. It will come as a relief to all of you to know that your experiences are quite similar. Thinking ahead, consider making plans with friends and loved ones for when these limitations are lifted and your personal liberties are restored.  Think about trying something new with a friend once you’re able to resume a life outside of home. Making plans for the future will keep you motivated and alive to the awareness that good things lie ahead, and that this situation, like most in life, is a temporary one that will certainly pass. However, as great as it can be to dream of the future and conjure up plans, it is important to stay present in the moment you are in and not long for something other than what currently is. 

When was the last time you got out your photo albums, or box of photos sitting on your closet shelf? Everyone enjoys looking though old photographs.  Looking at photos brings back memories and inspires feelings of affection, humor, warmth, conversation and “that time”. Maybe this action simply reminds you of who you are.  Looking at photographs can inspire creative ideas like beginning your very own family and genealogical history. There are numerous on-line resources and web-sites that can help you with such projects if you so desire.  Perhaps you enjoy crafting more than family-tree building and would like to start to collage some of those family photographs together with captions and other embellishments.  This type of project is very popular and is called scrap-booking. Scrap-booking is a wonderful and satisfying way to pass some time during the day employing creative energies while making a beloved product for others to enjoy. We know scrapbooking isn’t everyone’s jam but, it just may be yours. 

One of the things that our family has always done during times that we felt energy in the house stagnating is to rearrange furniture, plants or decorative objects in the house.  Although this ritual is not for everyone, replacing a plant with a vase, or replacing books with decorative objects makes everything new again. 

Before the quarantine, did you ever think about the need to decrease stress and increase peace and tranquility into your life? If so, I strongly encourage you to consider beginning a meditation practice.  Taking advantage of quiet time throughout the day by beginning a meditation practice in earnest will bring you a lifetime full of physical and mental health benefits. Although the thought of beginning a meditation practice may seem daunting or even extravagant, consider making quiet-time a priority.  A meditation practice can consist of just this; after washing the dishes or any other normal household activity in which you engage, find that most comfortable spot in your home, sit quietly at ease and begin to listen to the sounds in your neighborhood.  While becoming more aware of the environment outside, also become aware of your breathing. Is your breathing steady and shallow, deep and relaxed?  There is no need to judge how you are breathing one way or another, as this is the essence of meditation.  You are simply taking a moment of quiet time to check in with all that is in and around you.

Do you have a porch upon which you can sit and enjoy the outdoors? What about a slow leisurely walk around your own yard?  Have you noticed that baby birds are being born in the trees around you? Have you noticed how green the grass has become? Have you heard flies or bees buzzing around your yard yet?  Getting fresh air every day is extremely important and especially since we are limited in our ability to go to work and run errands outside of the house.  Taking a leisurely stroll around your own home, in your own yard, and in your own neighborhood is the best way to get outdoors and get that fresh air that is so essential to good health.  Take some extra special moments to look at all the new spring growth around you and to enjoy your property anew. This perspective of making an outing around your home will give you renewed appreciation for all that is good in your life.  You will be amazed at all the new details that you find in your own yard each and every new day.

Coloring books are a great way to pass some time indoors or outdoors on your porch.  For many people, coloring is a highly relaxing and very satisfying manual activity.  If you enjoyed coloring when you were a child, you will certainly enjoy it as an adult. Coloring not only engages the hands and fingers, improves dexterity and coordination, it also is a very creative and stimulating for the mind. If you decide to take coloring to heart as a new activity, be sure to look up Dover Publications on line, as they have one of the most extensive and reasonably priced line of coloring books on the market. And get yourself some new colored pencils, pastels or markers if you want to invest in a coloring book extravaganza. The point is to enrich yourself during a time that could otherwise be a challenge to face.

Learning new card games or card tricks, reading a new book, leisurely looking through art and design books and magazines can certainly pass the time and provide us with enjoyment and entertainment. Taking more time and spending it with our pets can provide us with a deeper heart connection to love and happiness. Perhaps you have more time on your hands now for watching all of those movies that were on your film list. If you are a drama genre film buff, maybe try something new like romantic comedies, or learn something new by watching documentaries. Many people enjoy cleaning out and rearranging their closets and cupboards.  I have heard this type of behavior described as house yoga. And there’s another idea; gentle stretching and gentle movements keeps the body happy and satisfied during the day. Are there any new recipes that you have been anxious to try but have been too busy up until now? Are there any sewing projects that you have been putting off? Once you start developing good habits and enjoyable activities at home you will also find that you are prioritizing your health and happiness. Quarantine will become less of an issue and hardship and more of a new way to look at life and gain experience.  There is much to be said about practicing gratitude on a daily basis as well.  Without ignoring or overlooking the obvious inconveniences and hardships that a quarantine causes, remember to think of the small things there are around your home already every day for which you are grateful for and bring you joy. Possessing a positive attitude and looking forward to tomorrow in itself is a great balm against uncertainty and upheaval. Know the measure of your own strength by taking time to reflect on all of the good and beautiful things that you have in your life at this time. Make this time of quarantine work for you.  Make this time a time to prepare for your not-so-distant future by engaging in new and gentle activities that bring you joy and happiness. If you feel there is anything that our office can do to help, support or assist you in during this quiet time, please do not hesitate to call us. 

Guest Blogger; Molly Kahn – Law Office of Janis Carney

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