Can we be kinder to others by taking better care of ourselves?
Becoming set in our ways is a form of chronic illness. The New Year presents the opportunity to consider necessary life changes and make resolutions. Does being kind to yourself and others matter? Does having quality of life matter?
If you had a life-limiting illness like heart disease or cancer would you be more kind to yourself and your caregivers? The New Year might be the best time to think about palliative care as a kinder, gentler type of healthcare. Chronically-ill patients might consider the alternative to the “beaten path” of traditional medical care through enrolling in a wellness program that focuses less on the medical condition and more on the mind, body and spirit.
Palliative care is a holistic approach for patient with chronic-illness who are more concerned with living fully in 2018 rather than feeling miserable. Might we all benefit from other being kind to ourselves and improving quality of life?
Here are nine ways to be kind to yourself and maximize wellness in 2018:
- Do it yourself
Self-sufficiency and maintaining your independence are matters of personal freedom. Palliative care promotes the concept of “person-centered care,” focusing on treating patients like self-deserving persons. You often know what you want, but expect others to make it happen. Stop procrastinating and “just do it” – for yourself.
- Become mindful
Can you imagine feeling like a rope that’s pulled in opposite directions? This is the life of a chronically-ill patient who has many doctors and family members wanting them to consider more treatment options. Where do you find the middle ground in disagreement and create a mind of your own? Avoid coercion and practice mindfulness. Make time to listen to your heart’s desire and wisdom.
- Eat Functional Foods
Processed foods (i.e. potato chips) are toxic to your system, weaken physical defenses and inflame arthritis. Whole foods such as fruit, vegetables and whole grain products fuel the body, making you more functional and better able to combat illness. High energy food brings you up – fast food brings you down. How kind you are often depends on the ‘kind’ of food you eat.
- Make exercise recreational
Remember when going out to play or spending time in a park was the highlight of your day? What happened? Did you become too busy or too lazy to naturally boost your endorphins? If you have trouble motivating yourself, try a group fitness class – have others inspire you to get your heart rate up and your waist line down. What’s good for the body is also good for mind and spirit.
- Practice stress reduction
Turn off the news. Avoid social media. Stop provoking upset that creates internal conflict. People are often subjected to the over-stimulated and violent society of today. Tune it out and reduce tension. You can learn to manage stress by overcoming bad situations with daily discipline that includes rituals like exercise that make you feel more in control of your life. Be the change you want to see in the world through avoiding conflict.
- Forget about pain
Any pain can lead to obsessive-compulsive thinking and potential substance abuse. If your pain is 10 out of 10, imagine reducing it to a 6 by taking slower, deeper breaths, walking it off or stretching it out. The thought of going to your personal “happy place” reminds you how to be carefree. Pain management doesn’t begin with taking a narcotic, but rather through practicing mind over matter and learning how to achieve a higher pain tolerance.
- Demonstrate Compassion
The body politic is equally divided between healthy and diseased. The ills of disease are upsetting, but can you still be kind to those you dislike or behavior you find unacceptable? Palliative care challenges patients who battle incurable, insufferable illness. Compassion for chronic illness takes courage and imagination. You might think of compassion as being the better person.
- Establish well-being
Do you like yourself? What’s not to like? Oftentimes, your perceived weakness may be your greatest strength. Or perhaps your best asset doesn’t always work to your advantage. You establish personal well-being when everything works in sync, inspiring confidence. Take an inventory of where you stand in liking yourself at the beginning of 2018 and “agree to agree” that well-being means you wouldn’t change your authenticity – the real you.
- Improve quality of life
Appreciate what you do have without feeling deprived. Deprivation leads to suffering, while gratitude helps realize fulfillment. Feeling “free to be me” without needing to be better creates less expectation and more quality of life. By living fully in the moment and taking one day at a time, you’ll learn the here and now matters most. Each of these moments supports your overall quality of life?
Is being kind to others important to you? Do you value personal wellness and freedom? Is palliative care right for YOU? How will you know without understanding it?
“Is Palliative Care Right for YOU?” is my easy-to-read booklet filled with helpful tips and practical appropriate information for both patients and their caregivers. Put it on your reading list for 2018 and support being kind to chronically-ill patients. It’s available for sale on Amazon.