Tag Archives: work

Alone Time

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

How did you spend your time yesterday? What’s on your “to do” list for today? Do you consider yourself to be a busy, hurried and harried person or is relaxed, slow and steady a more apt description?

Nether of the above approaches to your days and life is better than the other. In fact, if you are a high energy hare-type person attempting to handle life as a tortoise you may increase your level of stress.

But with either of these life styles the chances are that your life is very full. Your obligations include work, your many relationships, time and energy spent on maintaining your physical and mental health, and hopefully hobbies and other entertaining activities. In the midst of all of this, how much time do you spend alone?

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Let’s clarify that question. How much time do you spend alone without looking at or interacting with a screen? Do you spend any time during your day alone, without looking at your phone, electronic pad, television, or computer screen? Do you ever sit on a park bench simply watching what there is to see? The activities could include other park visitors, children playing, squirrels scampering, birds flying or ducks and pigeons foraging. And if not the park, you could sit at the mall, the lake or beach, community garden, or even your own porch, back yard, or living room.

You don’t need to meditate to gain the benefits of spending time in solitude every day. At first it may feel strange and uncomfortable. But the more you practice quiet reverie the more you may begin a journey into unknown parts of yourself. Nothing profound needs to happen, and yet it might. At the very least taking this time away, time alone for solitary time out may very well  rejuvenate, revitalize and replenish your personal imaginings and even your soul cravings.

The surest way to hear the soft strains of harmony is in the Silence.                                                                                          —      Sarah Ban Breathnach

Try seeking the love, belonging, and connections you desire by spending time every day alone, in solitude. Incorporating this simple yet challenging practice into your life may very well improve your Mental Health & Happiness.

Frequency Not Intensity

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

Did you know that the more frequently you notice and indulge in a positive experience you will have a greater sense of happiness and well being than if you wait for one big or intense experience?  At least that’s what psychologist Ed Deiner who has done extensive research on Subjective Well Being (SWB) has found.

This has interesting implications, don’t you think?

For those of you who may be keeping your “nose to the grind stone” while pushing, working and slaving away hoping to make up for the heavy duty focus during your annual week’s vacation, it may be time to rethink this strategy.

For parents or teachers who are insistent that your child (at what ever age) stop their foolishness and start concentrating on serious work, it may be time to start giving your child different advice.

And for those of you who may have learned about some of the seemingly silly games and distractions found at places like Google, perhaps we can all follow this different kind of a lead.

We can each increase our Mental Health & Happiness by planning for frequent moments of positive experiences throughout our day.

canstockphoto7428668Instead of working hard fifty weeks a year hoping to make up for it with your two week vacation, sprinkle in more joy, fun, and pleasure during the fifty weeks too.

Teachers and parents, schedule break times often during study hours. Include free dancing, juggling, water balloon battles and tongue twisters. Your child will have greater Mental Health & Happiness and will probably be more productive during the work and study time too.

And last but not least, start keeping track of all that you love, like, find fun and pleasurable. It’s hard to increase the frequency of pleasure and positive in your day and life if your only link is to positive is chocolate. I’m not saying don’t indulge your chocolate moments, but finding and making more positive and pleasure with more alternatives gives you more possibilities and greater chances of success.

Make today the day that includes many positive and pleasurable breaks! Watch how your Mental Health & Happiness increases.

I feel so good today!

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

Many years ago when I was employed first at a psychiatric hospital and then at two different comprehensive community mental health centers, I would occasionally call in sick. Some days I just didn’t have the emotional and physical energy to face all of my work responsibilities and obligations. I was also careful not to abuse or over-use this strategy.

selfmassageOf course this idea originated when I was in high school. There were just some days I didn’t want to face what was before me. Sometimes that included a quiz or test I had not sufficiently studied for. Other times I just needed a break from one more day of the student school grind.

Too often I would ultimately end up actually getting sick. Apparently my guilt feelings would help me stay on an honest path. I also started to notice a pattern related to when I became ill. There were days or weeks preceding the onset of my health problem where I needed a physical, emotional and spiritual break from work. But my sense of responsibility and duty kept me going. Ultimately I learned to listen to those signals telling me I needed a break.

I longed to take a mental health day. But these organizations and agencies did not recognize such terminology. I remember thinking there was something off about working in the mental health field that did not acknowledge and allow for paid leave to support their employees need for mental health.

Eventually my maturation and transformation evolved to the point where I could take my mental health days. This is not what I told my boss or the HR department, but it was what I told myself. I knew I needed to be as mentally healthy and strong as I could in order to effectively and competently deal with my clients who were struggling with their own mental health issues.

I began to fantasize about working for an agency where I could occasionally call in and say, “I feel so good, happy and healthy today that I want to take this day for myself. I’m calling in well.

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Can you imagine such freedom and respect?

Eventually I worked for an agency that actually had such a policy for leave taking. Of course they didn’t call it self-proclaimed well days. But I was given three extra  leave days a year in addition to my paid holiday time to use as I saw fit. I used them as my well days.

I feel so good today I dont want to waste this day at work. Needless to say, my Mental Health & Happiness improved greatly.