SARDAA FFS, Families and Friends, serves as a supportive group for those living in a support role of one challenged with Schizophrenia or related disorders. We are foremost concerned about being there for our loved ones, but also, very importantly, we must be there for ourselves. A couple of comments which I’ve come across which resonate with me are to ‘take care of your body…where else will you live’? And also, ‘I am my lifelong partner…others may come and go in life, but I’ll be there throughout’, hence it is of utmost importance to treat oneself with the care we readily give to others.
I am a nonprofessional ‘health aficionado’, devoting possibly an inordinate amount of time to this in my life, but given fairly good health in my retirement, it seems I have chosen well. Ideas I’ve come across from valued health professionals, and through my own natural and holistic search of a healthy lifestyle, include efforts of transitioning to a whole foods way of eating in place of commercially prepared foods; participation, ideally 5 times weekly for approx 30 minutes in ‘FPA’ a.k.a. ‘fun physical activity’ as opposed to struggling with the need to ‘exercise’; another option in this realm is the fairly new idea of aerobic ‘interval training’ which is shorter in time than 30 min for those of us who are time challenged but likely more effective in preserving health. Practicing Qigong and/or Tai Chi are health supportive in many ways. Committing to get 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, which serves as our repair and regenerative time, is very important. Striving to reduce stress in our lives is crucial through practices of mindfulness, meditation which reduces stress at a cellular level, yoga, etc. I find that listening to some classical music can be uplifting during a stressful or down mood. Time spent in nature can be renewing. And last but not least, being sure to set aside time EVERY day to do something enjoyable for oneself, whatever that may be. A favorite of mine includes sitting in my yard with coffee, a book in hand and dog at my side. These practices, which if we incorporate into our every day, will support us and may bring well deserved peace into our lives. Taking care of ourselves is not selfish, rather strengthening for us to meet the challenges in our lives. I wish you well.
Mary Ross, FFS Coordinator