Living with yourself

I wrote myself a “Welcome Home!” note in the hallway before leaving the house this morning. This is not a usual thing. But I’ve recently transitioned to living alone and it has not been easy.

Going from a busy bustling household to a more singular life didn’t happen in a day, but now that it’s the new norm, the noise level has dialed down to an almost zero. The irony? I used to long for solitary moments, in a clean zen-like house with time to take care of myself. Now that it’s here, the silence feels…lonely. 

So I am making my own noise. I find myself talking out loud rather often just to hear my voice. The radio is on all day and instead of my favourite music, I am listening to talk radio and chiming in on the conversation. And yes, I am writing myself friendly little notes to welcome me home after a busy day.  For now, it’s a simple way to make the moments alone a little merrier, and it’s easier than getting a puppy. 

Are you living alone? How do you enjoy it?  Let’s have a conversation.

Take time to breathe.

My 75 year old Aunt went to a meditation class last week. She wasn’t too fussy about meditation but was open to trying it. After class, she said it was the best experience she’s had and has been setting a couple minutes aside everyday since. Her exact words: “meditation isn’t what you think- it’s so easy”

Why create a small daily meditation practice? There are countless reasons, but here are some of my favorite:

It relieves stress and helps you to relax.

It helps improved focus, happiness, memory, and mindfulness.

Some research on meditation has indicated that it may have other health benefits, including improved metabolism, heart rate, respiration, blood pressure and more.

Actually, some of the best benefits of meditation are hard to define — you begin to understand yourself better, for example, and form a self-awareness level you’ve never had before.

Most simply, sitting for just a few minutes of meditation is an oasis of calm and relaxation that we rarely find in our lives these days. And that, in itself, is enough.

How to Do It Daily:

Here is a simple way to form the daily habit of meditation:

  1. Commit to just 2 minutes a day. You can do it for 5 minutes if you feel good about it, but all you’re committing to is 2 minutes each day.
  1. Pick a time and trigger. Not an exact time of day, but a general time, like morning when you wake up, during your lunch hour, or before bed. 
  1. Find a quiet spot. Your couch, your chair, your bed or you may even sit in your car! It really doesn’t matter where — as long as you can sit without being bothered for a few minutes. 
  1. Sit comfortably. Don’t fuss too much about how you sit, what you wear, what you sit on, etc. 
  1. Start with just 2 minutes. This is really important. You can expand to 5-7 minutes if you can do it for 7 days straight, then 10 minutes if you can do it for 14 days straight, then 15 minutes if you can stick to it for 21 days straight, and 20 if you can do a full month.
  1. Focus on your breath. Slowly, deeply inhale.  As you breathe in, follow your breath in through your nostrils, then into your throat, then into your lungs and belly. Sit straight, keep your eyes open but looking at the ground and with a soft focus. If you want to close your eyes, that’s fine. As you breathe out, follow your breath out back into the world. Count … one breath in, two breath out, three breath in, four breath out … when you get to 10, start over. If you lose track, start over. If you find your mind wandering (and you will), just pay attention to your mind wandering, then bring it gently back to your breath. Repeat this process for the few minutes you meditate. 


And that’s it. It’s a very simple practice, but you want to do it for 2 minutes, every day, at the same time everyday. Do this for a month and you’ll have a daily meditation habit.


Take good care!

Exploring Positive & Negative Self Care Behaviors









The way you live your life can have a big impact on your health, well‐being, and how well or poorly you handle stress.  Below are lifestyle behaviors that affect stress levels. Doing an honest assessment of how well or poorly you take care of yourself can help you manage your stress in the future.  Here is an observation exercise.

Consider the questions below and answer YES or NO 

PART A Negative Self Care Behaviors

When you are under stress, do you: 

-Smoke/use tobacco 

-Drink a lot of coffee or caffeinated drinks (more than 2‐3 cups per day) 

-Drink alcohol (more than recommended levels of 1‐2 per day) 

-Overuse over‐the‐counter medications 

-Overeat or undereat 

-Spend too much money (e.g., do you have a lot of credit card debt and have trouble making payments?) 

-Watch too much television (more than 3‐4 hours per day) 

-Have angry outbursts 

-Withdraw from people 

-Ignore or deny stress symptoms 

-Engage in self‐destructive relationships   

PART B Positive Self Care Behaviours

When you are under stress, do you: 

-Engage in physical activity at least three times a week for 30 minutes each day 

-Get six to eight hours of sleep every night 

-Maintain good eating habits 

-Make time to relax 

-Maintain a sense of humor 


-Maintain healthy rituals and routines 

-Be optimistic 

-Engage in positive thinking 

-Spend time with family 

-Spend time with friends 

-Make plans for the future 

-Figure out ways to manage stress 

-Reward yourself for your accomplishments

Remember, this is not a judgement exercise.  Simply observe where you are currently and ask yourself: Do I need to make some changes?   Have a great week, and take good care!                                  


Self Care as Second Nature (2 min read)

Here’s a question: Is self care second nature to you? 

For many caregivers who are focused on everyone but themselves, self care drops off the radar. For some, self care is a lofty idea that seems unattainable. For others it’s a daily dose of simple things like a brisk walk at lunch time, or mindful eating during the day.

If we do not make self care second nature, we risk burn out that becomes a sick day.


So let’s practice some prevention and make self care a simple daily recipe that can become second nature. The following is a list of action items we do everyday. Self care is really about being mindful of them. Give it a try this week. 


You will need: 

Sleep, food, water, fresh air, exercise, personal hygiene and social interaction. 


  1. Are you getting enough sleep? Many people are hitting the pillow with their cell phones or tablets. Or waking up to them. Try trading your device in for a good book before bed and you will notice the difference very quickly. Never underestimate a good night’s sleep. 
  2. When and how are you feeding yourself? Do you eat breakfast or do you intermittent fast? Do you make time for food in the day? If you are on the run between clients, be sure to pack some veggies sticks, or apple slices and other healthy snacks for your car instead of hitting the drive through. 
  3. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. All you have to do is google the benefits of drinking enough water and you’ll find a non exhaustive list of reasons to keep that refillable water bottle handy. 
  4. Take 5 mins at the very least to get outside and take in some fresh air. 
  5. Take a brisk walk at lunch, or park your car if you can a block away from visiting a client. This is an easy way to achieve some outdoor activity. Fresh air and a little cardio does the body good.  
  6. Do you have a morning and evening personal care routine? Be mindful of it. Teeth brushing & flossing, face washing, hair brushing – these are simple activities that some of your clients cannot do for themselves. Be mindful of this type of self care and don’t take it for granted. 
  7. People need people. We are social beings and even if we are introverts, we still need human connection. Outside of work, maybe take an extra minute to go through the cashier aisle instead of self check out and have a conversation. Or, join a group that is of interest to you. Focus on some human connection even if it’s via online channels. When we cultivate relationships we feel better about ourselves. 


Have a great week and take good care!


Personal Care at Home : What to expect (3 min read)

Personal Care at Home (3 min read)


There may be a time when you, or a loved one will need or want Personal Care services delivered in your home. Care delivered in the home is usually in response to a health situation and often results from referral by medical professionals. Given the choice, people want to be in their homes. This type of care is designed to support a person continuing to live independently in a safe environment and lessen the impact on the family. 


What Should You Expect from care delivered in your home? 

This for many people is a new experience. Both for the family and the person receiving care. So it’s important to understand what to expect when working with an agency that is providing care in your home. Here are some basic guidelines on what to expect:  


  1. Understanding your needs and clarity of services: A Care Plan outlining the services you will receive is prepared with you. You should have a copy of your care plan and contact information, should you need to connect with a care provider. Needs may change from time to time and when this arises, you can expect to connect with your care coordinator to review and reassess.


  1. Your healthcare provider is not your housekeeper: This is the area where defining care and expectations is very important. Housekeeping services are provided in some cases in order to ensure personal safety – ie vacuuming, dishes, laundry, changing bed linen, bathroom clean up, and meal prep. Personal care in the home is not designed to provide the kind of comprehensive cleaning that a professional cleaning company would provide. It is not the goal of a health service provider to move your couch, clean windows, or do other heavy cleaning. 


  1. Your care provider is there for YOU and YOU only: Your care provider should not be asked to do laundry or prepare meals etc for other members of the household. Similarly, please be considerate of your care provider when it comes to pets. You should not expect a care provider to walk your dog, empty cat litter, or feed your pets. Additionally, if your pet is not comfortable with others in the house, it should be in a cage or in a room with the door closed. You alone are the focus of care, not others who may either live with you or visit with you.


  1. Expect prompt communication: You should always be informed when a service is cancelled or unduly delayed. It could be as simple as dangerous driving conditions, or it may be that a client scheduled before you was ill and needed extra care delaying your service. Regardless, your care provider should be informing you of any issue. If you are experiencing constant delays (ie over an hour beyond your scheduled service time) make sure you speak to the supervisor and express your concerns.  Help can’t happen if we don’t know there’s a problem. 


  1. Compassion goes both ways: Changes in service can be upsetting or annoying once you have fallen into a routine. But the course of personal care doesn’t always run smooth. You may have had to wait last week while your care provider managed a crisis with another client, but this week, it could be your needs holding them up.   Compassion and flexibility are part of the ‘Golden Rule’. 


  1. Expect to be heard: Your personal care is important. You should have access to a supervisor to discuss any care issues that arise, and know that you can confidently and confidentially reach out. 


Take good care!