Monthly Archives: May 2017

Give Yourself a Thumbs Up

This Spring has seen rather chilly weather here in England.  That said, we had a gloriously sunny day for sharing some family time out and about, last weekend.  Here is a rough snapshot of me beside the River Alde at Snape, here in the English county of Suffolk:

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I am fortunate to live in a beautiful county and within reach of the most delightful landscapes, pretty villages, historic castles, beaches, market towns, wildlife and nature.  I enjoyed a day out with family, last weekend.

Brave Steps.

One of the successes of the day was to see my Mother-in-Law allow us to wheel her in a wheelchair; provided to patrons of the sizeable homeware store we visited.

For anyone, making the step from feeling and being able bodied to accepting disability is, to say the least, significant and often very difficult.  In life, we may never guarantee our well-being or ability; be that physiological health or psychological.  The ageing process brings its own level of impairment, as does illness; sometimes minimal and other times life changing.  It was refreshing to see my Mother-in-Law intent on going out, in spite of her obvious reservations about using a wheelchair for the first time.  She did superbly well and we are proud of her.  This event offers an opportunity for positive feelings.

Improving Self-Esteem.

Self-esteem can be affected by the change that impairment or disability brings.  One of the ways to overcome that is to remind yourself of the things you can still do and to do your best to keep doing those things, no matter how small.  It is when we focus on what we cannot do, that low self-esteem may develop.  Maintaining a ‘can do’ attitude is vital to emotional well-being while facing disability or impairment.  That is not always easy and so I would recommend that you keep a log of your achievements, to remind yourself week by week of what you have accomplished; no matter how small that may seem, all achievements have value.

Allow yourself to feel good about each achievement.  It is essential that you offer yourself that sense of accomplishment, for others around you may not understand that completing a simple task or activity was, to you, a significant effort.

Try to ask for help.  It may feel to you that you are in some way failing, by asking for help, which may affect your self-esteem negatively – but you are not failing.  By asking for help, you are enabling yourself and you are doing what is necessary to achieve your objective.  So, allow yourself to feel good about achieving things, even when you have had to ask for help.

A Positive Inner Voice.

Challenge your thoughts, if you find yourself thinking negatively about yourself.  In my work as a Counsellor and Psychotherapist, one of the most common traits of anyone that I see with low self-esteem, is that they overthink things and they tell a negative version of events to themselves.  For every negative thought, there is always a positive thought that is equally possible; so why believe the negative thoughts?  If you have difficulty believing the positive, start looking for evidence to support the positive, before you simply accept the negative.  There is always something positive, no mater how small, that can be of value to how we view ourselves.

Seeing a Counsellor or Psychotherapist can help you switch from negative thoughts and low self-esteem, to learning how to find the positives and how to cease overthinking that leads often to negative feelings.

(C) Dean Parsons. 2017.

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Down Time

I made a rather rough sketch of myself on a day when I needed to find comfort and rest from the ill health that I suffer.  Sketching, and other forms of art, can be a therapeutic way to express oneself and to process how it feels to experience difficulties that are caused by illness.

It was a good day; achieved by pacing myself well and by giving myself permission to just do nothing.  I rarely get the time that I need, to rest.  I work as a Psychotherapist and Clinical Supervisor and I have been studying.  It was important to make the time to rest.

‘Down Time’.

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Go With the Flow

Sometimes, actually more often than not, I have to just stop and take time out.  This is not easy for me, for I have a very active mind and I am very busy with work and study.  Learning to ‘pace’ myself has taken practice.

For anyone else living with a chronic health problem, you will no doubt be familiar with my frustration at having to ‘down tools’ and just sit or lay and relax.  I tried to depict, within this sketch, a sense of relaxation but also frustration at having no choice in the matter.  So, while there is relaxation, there is also some tension that represents my inner hostility at having to give up time that I would otherwise like to spend being productive at work and study.

Always an Opportunity.

I am learning, though; day by day, week by week, month by month and year by year.  I have recognised the value of pacing myself and making myself take time to simply stop.  My mind is willing, but my body is not and so this is just what has to be done.  In fact, I have come to value this ‘down time’.  To me, it is my own personal version of a ‘siesta’.   Maybe everyone should do this?

This will probably not make sense to most people, but I know that there are many who will completely understand.

(C) Dean G. Parsons. 2017.