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Compassion Fatigue and Tai Chi

This is a guest post by Celia Grand of the Riverview Foundation. Many thanks to Celia for sharing this information! compassion fatigue (dictionary.com) fatigue, emotional distress, or apathy resulting from the constant demands of caring for others or from constant appeals from charities: compassion fatigue experienced by doctors and nurses. Many of us work in high stress jobs, have too many personal responsibilities and little time to balance ourselves. Stress is a force that interferes with mental clarity, stability of emotions and physical ease. In addition to life stress, as caregivers we are susceptible to compassion fatigue. We take in volumes of overwhelming emotional material. Our bodies, mind and spirit strategize to cope with all that we hold outside of our conscious awareness. For example: our adrenal glands may pump out extra adrenaline to get us through the day while cortisol rushes through our bodies to try to bring it back into homeostasis. This taxing of our adrenals causes problems with sleep or may lead us to over eat to keep our energy going. Exercising may not energize     . . . read more

My Work/Life Teeter-Totter

I came home to a mountain of dishes tonight. Okay, a small hill. I wasn’t shocked, because I left them there, saying, “One good thing about it still being cold is we don’t have to worry about bugs!” The dishes were congregating in and around the sink not because I’m lazy, but because something else was more important the evening before. In this case, it was going to the gym and then, with what little time I had left, relaxing with my husband. So, they sat until the next day until I got home from work because the house and family time was the priority then. This is how my life is: an ever-present tension between things that are important to me. A clean house, a healthy body, connecting with my husband, positive attention to my daughter, bills that are     . . . read more

Your Time, Your Priorities

It’s a very simple truth: how you spend your minutes, hours, days, and weeks is how you spend your life. As I was avoiding writing today, I decided to get lost in the internet, then eat something even though I wasn’t hungry, and finally ask myself, what am I doing? How much time do we lose not really knowing what we are doing? Time spent without intention seems to get away from us rapidly and with little joy or satisfaction. At least it does for me. I caught myself, eventually, and remembered something important: time is a resource with which I can accomplish things that are central to my life priorities. Your life priorities are not things you say to look good. They are how you actually live. If, for example, your health is important, that will be reflected in     . . . read more

Embracing Winter for a Happier, Healthier Season

Note from Hannah: This is a guest post by Darcy Forrest, who practices acupuncture and Chinese Medicine right here in Southern Maine.  Winter….. Most people from the Northeast hate it. It’s cold, baron, icy, and brown. Bringing out the trash becomes a slight form of torture, and the thought of getting out of the shower at 6am haunts you as you watch your last show on TV before bed. Then there is the shoveling, the scraping, the dog begging to go out when the thermometer reads 9 degrees…the numb toes, the dry skin, the icy hands, and the overstuffed winter coat that makes you feel like you’re stuck in bubble wrap. Ohhhhh, winter. Why do we loathe thee? I spent a few years in Tucson, Arizona, where the winter is not a winter, and snow literally means a city wide     . . . read more

The Requirements of a Life in Transition

Every time my toddler learns something new, like amazingly-awesome new, she can’t sleep very well. She rolls around for an hour in her crib before falling asleep or gets up in the night and just looks around, sometimes for hours. It happened when she learned to crawl, walk, walk outside, say words, form sentences, talk in paragraphs, and use the potty. Small children provide clues into basic human nature. What my daughter is showing is that life transitions, these big changes, have an impact. They take work and energy to process. We need time and space to make the shift. Adults don’t have to make as many changes as kids. We also don’t seem to be as graceful at growing. Therefore, we may struggle even more under big life changes. It’s easy to forget that even positive changes are stressful.     . . . read more