Monthly Wellness Corner - January 2024

January 6, 2024

What do you do for Self-Care?

“Wellness is a holistic integration of physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing, fueling the body, engaging the mind, and nurturing the spirit.” - I took this quote straight out of Google, placed it here, and cannot wait to see how this article will end.

Whenever we interview potential candidates to fill a vacant position with Intensive Services Programs, we finally ask, “what do you do for self-care?” after sharing earlier in the interview all the hard work that is involved in every single position we have to offer. We truly enjoy hearing about the many ways our candidates engage in activities every day that ensure their well-being and renew their energy. Often we learn new practices that sound soothing and inviting to try out and experience their positive effects. As you can imagine the activities mostly revolve around physical and mental wellness, such as going to the gym, walking, yoga, meditation, reading, journaling, and so on. I would not be exaggerating by saying that mentioning anything about spiritual well-being practices is a rare submission during interviews. In all honesty, we do not even enquire about it either. This is not all that surprising because speaking about spirituality could be perceived as an intrusion into one’s personal life, or even religious beliefs. Of course, many believe that participating in meditation and yoga may cover the spiritual side of them, but do they?

Spiritual wellbeing is simply referred to the quality of the spirit that runs through the body. In a short visit with Google, it shared what may stand for the positive quality of the soul, “Spiritual wellbeing means having personal values and beliefs and acting compassionately in accordance with those values.” Scrolling down we can find helpful examples of these values, “volunteering, being positive and optimistic, contributing to society, connecting with others, feeling a sense of belonging and practicing self-care.” So, meditation and yoga could be great ways of participating in self-care activities, but not necessarily activities that enhance the quality of the spirit within. Not unless compassion, love, gratitude, and activities aimed at the collective wellbeing of our community is at heart of the practices.

The best place to start increasing the value of the spirit that would be projected outward is to apply them internally by extending love, compassion, and gratitude to ourselves, to the marvel of a miracle that we all are. You see, it is all a matter of changing the perception, letting go of the judgment, and seeing who we truly are. We are each a spirit with a body and mind. The physical, mental, and spiritual triangle are well connected and a slight disturbance in one would affect the quality of another and the other. Would you like to hear about the spirit world if your body is in pain and your mind is caught up in a circle of negative thoughts? Similarly, a slight elevation of frequency in the spirit would enhance the operations of the body and mind. All three domains are conscious and what determines their optimum state of being is directly related to the amount of attention we give to each one of them. We are all too familiar with the needs of our body and the methods to keep the mind from running off to the negative side and entertaining unhelpful thoughts. How about the spirit then? What keeps it on its intended path? Imagine the spirit as a living form of energy that is activated when you attend to it. Since we are talking about spirit as a form of energy, then we must also keep in mind that all communication with any form of energy takes place internally and by way of a certain meditative state, not by any particular physical activity. To this end, we can give the spirit within a name and communicate our gratitude to it. Me, Personally I call it my higher self and after saying how grateful I am to be guided, supported, and protected by it every day, I request higher knowledge, insights, and information that could serve my highest good and the highest good of all. Knowing that I have done my part by reaching out, I then sit in quiet for few minutes and wait with no expectations as the spirit communicates back in good time, if not at that moment, maybe later while driving to work, or through a person that I may come in contact with.

As you can imagine by now, there is no way to get into spiritual wellbeing and do it justice during a time-limited interviewing process. The best we can do is to be mindful of the ways we must nurture our soul and integrate the relevant values and practices into our daily activities with our staff. How one chooses to attend to their soul, to the spirit within, is radically unique and respected, but we all can participate in developing ways to practice our spirituality as discussed above with our coworkers and clients here at Penny Lane. Taking a nonjudgmental stance and letting the heart give out the love and compassion it has to everyone around is not only rewarding, but it could also be the most effective form of self-care there is. Through such activities we can suddenly feel a sense of unity and the highest degree of spiritual connection and fulfillment. Don’t stop there, keep going, and share your ideas and what works for you with your supervisor and the Wellness Committee. Bring your ideas to the table, as I am doing here, no matter how strange they may sound. If it is benefiting you, it may benefit others as well. In so many ways the idea is not to get people to do what we think is effective for them, rather it is the hope that sharing our ideas and exchanging information evokes others to at least think about spirituality and its role on our wellbeing.

Happy New Year!

-Parviz Nafari, Penny Lane Centers