Responding to my article last weekend, Coping With Unexpected Challenges From My Elderly Parents one reader wrote of his experience with an elderly parent. He concluded:
I found out it really is true that if a tough experience doesn't kill you it will make you stronger. Examples of what I gained follows.
I transformed my eating lifestyle and have lost 22 lbs. My body is now as lean as it was in college. Plus, being with my Dad these years allowed me to see deeply into my own development as a human being and understand myself in a way that would otherwise have not been possible. Knowing the end is very near has allowed me the satisfaction of knowing that I got the job done. I did what I said I would do. Dad took care of me when I was a child and couldn't take of myself and it is gratifying to know I did the same for him. And I was able to get very complete with Dad... no baggage, no regrets.
And finally what I learned that I want to pass on to you or any other person that is facing taking care of their parents is this... take care of yourself. Take care of the caretaker. Otherwise you could have your own breakdown, like I did. And use the process to grow yourself, to expand yourself as a human being. Taking care of parents is fertile ground for personal development.
I had written about being in a fog of my own disorientation having returned home from spending time helping to take care of my elderly parents in England. After three days of feeling empty and flat, I had little motivation to pick up my life where I had left it. I thought I was losing my mind.
Have you ever found that a sense of doubt can paralyse you from doing anything? I wanted to change my mood.
Anne's Rule for Getting Unstuck #1: When in doubt, ask God.
One morning, I woke up with the thought: "If in doubt, ask God." For you, God might be the Universe, Divine Love, That Which Is, or any other term that would apply to the dimension beyond our normal seeing, feeling or hearing. I decided to post my thought on Facebook. I had received it with great clarity. Maybe it would assist someone else. What is more, it got me moving. A few comments encouraged me and led me the next day to:
Anne's Rule for Getting Unstuck #2: Go for a long walk and prepare to smile at a stranger. Hugs and smiles are small things but boy do they make a difference.
Getting up, going out with a smile and walking, even in bad weather, is very energizing. Have you ever noticed that when you are smiling, others smile back at you? I love that simple connection we can make with each other, even strangers. And the day after that, I posted on Facebook:
Anne's Rule for Getting Unstuck #3: First thing in the day, smile at yourself in the mirror with a "Good Morning" as if you are the person you love the most. Do this for 30 days in a row.
When I was with my parents, I always greeted them in the mornings with a big smile and a happy "Good Morning!" It made me feel good and seemed to lift their spirits. Why not do the same for me back at home? So I did and it worked. More sweet comments on Facebook and so I followed with day four:
Anne's Rule for Getting Unstuck #4: Plant Light Columns. Bless the land you stand on. Kitchen, car park, train station, bus stop, town hall, market, mall, airport, bathroom. The blessing blesses you.
I made my daily walk a priority, but why not add an extra dimension? Planting a Light Column is really placing a blessing wherever you happen to be. I have a particular favourite Light Column place in Cannes: a statue with a cross marking the origin of the well-known Croisette along by the bay of Cannes. The little cross looks out over the Mediterranean with its fresh sea breezes. This too lifted my spirits, leading me to:
Anne's Rule for Getting Unstuck #5: Dress up and go out. Get unstuck from your 21st Century electronic wizardry and breathe the fresh air. Have fun! The break will do you good.
In England, I had had 10 days without Internet connection and it was actually very refreshing. Why not do that more at home? Besides, dressing up made me feel much better. Oh the freedom and the lightness of being, which further directed me to:
Anne's Rule for Getting Unstuck #6: Lighten your load. Clear a cupboard. Empty it. Give it a good clean. Replace only what you really want to keep. Sell, give away, donate or throw out the rest.
A couple of week's ago I had a domestic disaster: the fridge broke down and died on me. For a few days I was without this convenience that I usually take for granted. In clearing out the old fridge, I realized I had few jars that were beyond their sell-by date. A new fridge was installed with fresh contents. My kitchen felt better. Finally, on the seventh day, I came to this Rule, which could have been number one:
Anne's Rule for Getting Unstuck #7: Tell someone you love that you love them. Kid sister, Granny, best friend, neighbour, teacher, big brother, sweetheart. Loving frees you up and keep things moving.
By the time I had completed my week of working the Rules, I was back and feeling my old self, reinvigorated and ready to go.
When you have an attack of the blahs, what do you do to get going? Do you have any good healthy mood shifters? When you get down, how do you pick yourself up? I would love to hear from you.