Spring is in the air, but time will tell. Since March came in like a lamb, you know the saying, it will go out like a lion. I get ‘antsy’ this time of year. I look around and ponder over the things that I wanted to accomplish over the winter months and didn’t. Although this winter was very mild and I didn’t get the usual inward feeling of restoration, but I am starting to gain a bit more energy, as I contemplate being outside more often. There is a sense of vitality outside in the gardens, the warmer weather is encouraging spring growth. Vitality is the energy present in all living things.
“Vitality is the fuel that ignites the flame of life.” We spent the month of February talking about loneliness. Loneliness can be a difficult emotion to deal with, especially when compounded with the stressors of life and caregiving. The inner workings of the human psyche when combatting these stressors can be complex, but there are ways to improve vitality and well-being.
One metaphor for this journey of vitality is that of a tree. Like a tree, we need strong roots to withstand the challenges of life. These roots can include social support systems, healthy coping mechanisms, and self-care practices. Just as a tree requires sunlight and water to grow, we also need to nourish ourselves with positive experiences and healthy habits.
Caregiving can be particularly stressful, but it’s important to remember that we can’t pour from an empty cup. Taking time for ourselves to recharge and engage in activities we enjoy can help prevent burnout and maintain our own sense of vitality. This can include hobbies, exercise, meditation, or spending time with loved ones.
I took some time in March to look at the five W’s of vitality, the why’s, what’s, who’s when’s, and where’s and then the how’s of vitality. I think the why of vitality is self-explanatory. We all want to be and stay healthy, but sometimes we struggle with how to maintain energy and strength to sustain us.
- What is vitality? It refers to the energy that we need to maintain our physical, emotional, and mental well-being. It encompasses a range of factors, such as good nutrition, regular exercise, adequate rest, stress management, and social support.
- Who should maintain vitality? Anyone should maintain vitality, however, we all know that providing care for someone, which includes family caregivers, professional caregivers, and anyone who provides support and care should prioritize self-care and maintaining vitality. The reason is that caregivers can provide better care to their care receiver’s and avoid burnout and exhaustion when they are functioning at the top of their game.
- The when of maintaining vitality is an ongoing process that requires daily attention and effort. It’s important to prioritize self-care and make it a part of your daily routine to ensure that you have the energy and stamina to provide care over the long term.
- Where to implement this? Vitality can be maintained anywhere, but it’s important to create a supportive and nurturing environment that promotes self-care. This can include creating a quiet and peaceful space for relaxation, setting boundaries with others to protect your time and energy, and prioritizing activities that bring you joy and fulfillment.
There are many ways to maintain vitality, however, if you are stuck or not sure how to implement a routine or self-care plan, Hope Grows has some ‘how to’s’ below.
- Eat a balanced and nutritious diet
- Engage in regular physical activity, such as walking, yoga, or swimming
- Practice relaxation techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing
- Get enough rest and sleep
- Stay socially connected with friends and loved ones
- Seek professional support, such as counseling or therapy, when needed.
Hope Grows can help. Begin by signing up for our Think Caregiver™ phone check in program or the Root of Good Care counseling program. By nourishing our roots, we can weather the storms of life and emerge stronger and more resilient, like a tree that has weathered many seasons.
By: Lisa Story, Founder, Executive Director