July is vacation time. In the past this may have meant relaxation and recreation for you. Now sight-seeing, watching sports, looking at beautiful views, and shopping in new places are no fun. They are stressful and can be like visiting graveyards. Because of your new loss, vacation time can be stressful for your family too.
Years ago I went to a Workshop by Laura Doyle who has written books on surrendering from strength, including good self care. Here is a link to her website The Surrendered Single.
Laura has a method for relieving stress and maintaining good self care that I have used in my interpersonal skills classes for years.
The Self Care strategy.
To begin with you need a way to make three lists. This isn’t necessarily so easy, because the lists need to be private and personal. You will find suggestions for how to make them at the end of this post.
It is important to record these three lists rather than remembering them, because when you are down, you cannot think of a single good thing. That’s when you refer to your list!
List 1: 10 Things You Like to Do for Yourself at Home, by Yourself
Lying on the couch listening to music, or a talking book
Taking a long shower or tub
Making your favorite cold drink just the way you like it, and sipping it slowly sitting on the porch or the back step
Taking a nap
Watching or listening to a favorite radio or TV show, or movie with your armchair in the best position
I have given several suggestions in this first list because it always seems the most difficult to get started on.
List 2: 10 Things You Like to Do for Yourself Which You Are Glad You Did Afterwards!
Exercising at home, or round the block
Meditating, praying, or studying religious or text books for your own benefit
Most people find this list easier. Remember this is about self care not house cleaning, so you can include adaptive organization, but not doing laundry. It’s a fine line, but you will soon know if it relieves stress or adds to it.
List 3: 10 Things You Like to Do Which Need Other People, or Planning, or Money
This is usually the easiest list to make.
Once you have made your 3 lists, you keep them somewhere that is easy to access when you are stressed or depressed.
Ah yes! What about a nap, or an episode of whatever…
Now here is the kicker. Every day you need to do three of them. Yes, three of them. Laura suggested starting with two from list 1 and one from either of the other lists. Each stress reliever needs to last twenty minutes or more.
Try it! It really works!
Here are 4 ways to take notes.
- Use a thick black pen such as a marker or 20-20 pen to make your 3 lists, using big clear writing in a spiral notebook. Mark the notebook with bright-colored tape, or keep it somewhere definite, so it’s easy to locate.
- Get the first list ready in your head then phone your own number from someone’s else’s phone and record the first list on your voice mail, then do this again with the next list, etc.
- Type up the lists on a computer using a huge font and black type , or with the colors reversed so it is white on black, or use a screen reading program
- Record your lists on a voice memo in a smart phone or tablet, or on a digital recorder.
Anyone want to share part of a list? Maybe you have the best idea that the rest of us haven’t thought of.