Yesterday was an emotionally painful day for me because I was taking care of a family member with dementia. Those with dementia seem to fall into two categories. They are either very sweet or viciously abusive. They lash out to those close to them without any thought of how hurtful they are being. Unfortunately, this family member is like this and those around her are both sad and bewildered victims.
There is no rationality to the confusing world they find themselves in. After a lifetime of joys, sorrows, challenges, failures and successes, they find themselves lost in an unfamiliar world. They are living in a world that we cannot see or understand much like Alice in Wonderland. Dementia has been called “The Long Goodbye” and rightly so. The person you knew and loved slips slowly away to a person you cannot recognize just as they cannot recognize you.
After just a few hours with her, my nerves were raw and I knew I needed to re-balance my spirit. There are many ways to reduce stress such as meditation, yoga, massage and the list goes on. However, the quickest way for me is spending time in nature. I headed down to a walking trail we have in Port Credit that winds around Lake Ontario. Almost immediately, my sadness started to disappear. My tree friends and the sounds of the lake slowly worked their magic and I once again felt at peace.
How do you come back to yourself when you are stressed or upset? Finding your own personal escape and time for yourself is important for your body, mind and spirit. Take the time for yourself even if it is just a warm bath infused with your favorite essential oil. It is not selfish. It is necessary. It is self-love. ♥
Forest bathing photo courtesy of Donna MacInnis