Sugar and Spice Advice … On being good to yourself

Pat yourself on the back from time to time. You've earned it!
Pat yourself on the back from time to time. You’ve earned it!

Summer has come to an end, or has it? Not in overly sunny Southern Cal., it isn’t. Temps in the 90’s with humidity in the 90%s. It’s a killer. And with the good old fans blowing, it’s not any cooler. They are just circulating hot air. Phew!

Speaking of the end of summer, Labor Day marks the end of summer vacation and back to school. I have sure noticed the change in the traffic. Even at the crazy hour of 6 am it is bumper to bumper. But just because the calendar changes, doesn’t mean that everything is work, work, work.

Use this transition time to do some things to give you a new perspective, and a chance at better health. Health is not all about what you eat or how you exercise. What’s going on in our heads and hearts impacts our health in many ways. So here are a couple of suggestions to kick this new season of the year off right.

  • Appreciate yourself. Write a list of things that you appreciate about yourself. It seems very easy to find fault with ourselves. If you learn from your faults and don’t berate yourself about it repeatedly, it can have a benefit. But we don’t need to be in negative mode all the time. This thought pattern is draining, saps your enthusiasm, and makes life harder. Maybe you have great artistic talents, maybe you are creative, maybe you have a good sense of humor, maybe you have beautiful penmanship. Take an inventory of your good points and write them down. It is okay to be proud of ourselves. By accepting yourself first, it is easier to spread good will to others. And, on those days when nothing seems to go right and you are feeling pretty low, take out that list and review it. This will chase those negative thoughts away. Remember, we may not be experts in all things, but each of us has a lot of things that we are very good at.
  • Giving sincere thanks is a gift – for yourself and others. Researchers have discovered that saying thank you can increase your immunity, boost your energy, and reduce pain. (As a nurse with a bad back, I’m all for throwing pain out the window.) Whether you write it in a card, say it on the phone, or say it in person, let your family and friends know just how much you appreciate their gestures of kindness.
  • Yes, we all are busy, but volunteering doesn’t have to take all your precious hours. Fit in something in place of watching some TV. There are all kinds of volunteer opportunities out there. Something is bound to fit your tastes and time schedule. A study showed that volunteering, even if it is just for a couple hours a week, can help depression and boost one’s spirits. Ask a friend or family member to join you. This gives you time together and benefits the community. Daphne and I volunteer at the library used book sales. We always find treasures, but we also meet a lot of interesting people with interesting stories. And, the book sales benefit library programs, like the children’s summer reading program. It’s a win-win situation.

Enjoy this new season of the year.
Have fun. Be good to yourself, and stay healthy!

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