Thursday, January 6, 2011

I Need a Drink!

Have you heard this or said this with enough exasperation to know that the day has been a tough one? Most of the time, this phrase refers to something with an alcoholic kick. We caregivers know that, except for an occassional glass of wine or a beer, drinking alcohol on a regular basis is not a way to care for ourselves.

No, I'm talking about taking a breather with a non-alcoholic beverage. Could be a cup of coffee, chocolate or tea. Could be a tall glass of lemonade or water with a slice of orange. Whatever beverage you prefer given the weather and your mood.

First, choose your time. I suggest a 15 minute break, so you want some quiet for that 15 minutes. Turn off your phone(s), TV, radio. The kids are at school, Mom's taking a nap, most of the office is in a meeting, you choose.

Then proceed in 3 steps: Set a place; Prepare the drink; Savor.

Set a Place
Gather a nice placemat, your favorite mug or glass (even the good china), any tableware you might need, a napkin (cloth is good, but a printed paper one would work, too). Choose a spot to sit with a nice view and set a place. This is for you, so make it special.

Prepare the Drink
Start the coffee, heat water, get ice out of the freezer, slice a lemon, whatever is needed to get that drink ready. Take your time. Be aware of your actions through each step of the preparation process. Focus on the process, take a breath.

You may get the coffee on and then set your place while it's brewing. You make the choice. Don't rush. You're not trying to get done fast; you're creating a mini-break.

At the place you've set, serve yourself your drink, then sit and savor. Don't read the paper. Don't check your e-mail or texts. Smell the aroma of the hot chocolate. Place that cool glass of ice water against your cheek. Take a sip. Feel the liquid on your tongue and sliding down your throat. If it's too hot, blow on it. If it's too cold, wrap your hands around the glass. Take your time.

Let your thoughts wander, but always come back to your drink. The beverage you prepared for yourself. Because you deserve this brief interlude. Take a breath between sips. Finish all of it. Take a deep breath. Steadily, put everything away, clean up as much as you need to. Take another breath.

Ah-h-h-h. Wasn't that great? Time to move on with your day.

Blessings on your caregiving!

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