BC Counsellor - Fall 2014 - (Page 13)

Feature go Ahead - 'Waste' a Day When was the last time you took an entire day to yourself? No work, no deadlines, no goals. Just you and a day with no plans. See why the simple exercise of doing nothing can bring many benefits. The aroma of tea tickles my nostrils as it wafts in the steam drifting from the cup nearing my mouth. It is both relaxing and stimulating as my taste buds anticipate the tangy sweetness and the thought rises - why is it called wasting time to spend a few moments with ourselves? I believe one of the most important lessons of adulthood is to learn how important it is to like myself; to feel comfortable with my inner thoughts and outer person. People come and go in our lives, but we are going to keep ourselves company our entire life. Since I'm going to live with myself, I might as well learn to get along with myself. This focus on 'me' carries negative fallout from the narcissism of the me generation (see book by Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D., Generation Me: why today's young Americans are more confident, assertive, entitled - and more miserable than ever before). Yet, we still focus hugely on self - be it through self-care, self-help, self-indulgence, or any other self-named activities. Have we lost sight of ourselves that we need so much self-seeking advice? Yes. North American society has intruded into our lives to the extent that we are easily able to distract ourselves away from ourselves. We turn on the TV for background noise or company; the radio accompanies our commute; handheld devices connect us whenever there is a spare moment; we're even bombarded with dings and beeps to divert us away from anything other than electronic connections. When do we connect with ourselves in the midst of so many demands? We don't, unless we do it consciously. Many people have embraced the importance of time without task, of time when our mind can dwell in side spaces and wander through cobwebs. Meditation, yoga, prayer, journaling - all are important activities that bring body/mind harmony. Many people engage in these activities on a daily basis; some less often. But a whole day, heavens! As a child, my family attended church services on Sunday morning and again Sunday evening. In between those services we had fun visiting friends or spending time together as a family. Some Sundays, my mother declared a moratorium on childcare and sent us children to entertain ourselves while she sat with her feet up and a book in her hands. Those were our best Sundays. Mom was still around if we BC Counsellor | Winter/Fall 2014 | www.bcschoolcounsellor.com needed something, but mostly we didn't need anything more than the expectation that we would solve our own problems. I share this from a child's viewpoint, but with respect for a woman who did, without guilt, take a day. A whole day can carry benefits for months. It will stir in our memory as a warm breeze on a cool day. When the memory fades, it's time for another day. A whole day is not self-indulgent; it is good mental health care. It is a pool of feel-good chemicals in the brain that regulate our bodies and minds. It is enough time to really get to know ourselves. Your day and my day will look different. Yet, they will be the same. Our days will be ones on which we have shed the daily responsibilities and have unplugged from others and plugged into ourselves. Our days will have time without worries, deadlines, and stress. I think I'll pack a lunch and ride my bike to nowhere in particular or maybe spend a day on the water in my boat. Maybe my husband will join me, which is okay since he values silence and understands the importance of separateness with togetherness. What will you do? 13 http://www.bcschoolcounsellor.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of BC Counsellor - Fall 2014

President’s Perspective
The Fine Print
Book Review
Empowering Others, Empowering Ourselves
Counsellor Compassion Fatigue: How to Find Balance
Go Ahead – ‘Waste’ a Day
Stress and Children’s Self-Regulation
More Than a Yoga Butt!
Index to Advertisers

BC Counsellor - Fall 2014