By: Dawn Brand Fluhler and Rev. Will Grinstead for IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital—
Muncie, IN—Self-care is essential as many people are over-scheduled, trying to move at a faster pace with both career and personal expectations. Intentional care for oneself through something relaxing or rejuvenating is a critical part of overall wellbeing. Anything that helps people develop stronger connections between the emotional, social, spiritual, and physical aspects of self—recognizing the desire for wholeness—is considered good self-care.
A few examples of self-care include prayer, solitude, meditation, yoga, journaling, adult coloring, fitness (biking, walking, jogging, swimming), therapeutic massage, and reading.
People occupy their minds with so many details, projects, and responsibilities these days that, without careful attention, they may forget how to listen to themselves. Journaling is one of the best tools people can use to listen with as much depth and intention to self as they would listen to a loved one.
“It’s a chance to pause, shift into a lower gear mentally, to process our experiences, and to listen to our heart in its native language,” said Rev. Will Grinstead, who is a staff chaplain at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital. “While I prefer pen and paper and I’ve even become a bit persnickety about which brands of each, starting a journaling practice can be as simple as opening an app on your smartphone or reaching for a post-it note.”
Grinstead recommends whatever the method, try not to filter or edit your thoughts. He uses “no rules, just write” as a mantra to begin the practice of journaling.
Taking time to listen and make the effort to create this time and space for journaling can create feelings of gratitude and can help to process grief. It takes time to develop a groove or habit or “sweet spot” for journaling or any other centering type of practice, according to Grinstead, but “that’s why they call it practice.” Over time journaling can help people manage stress and daily demands.
Emotional well-being is an integral part of overall health. See your primary care provider if you have concerns about your emotional well-being, and if you don’t have one, find one at iuhealth.org/primary-care.
The human experience means that people both have a body and are also more than a body, according to Grinstead. There’s something about the human existence that resists being reduced to biology, even as one’s experience of the world is also shaped by the physical form. Some faith traditions have used the word “soul” to talk about this paradox. Stated simply, spiritual reflection means that people are tuned in to this constant conversation between the physical and spiritual aspects of self. Practices like prayer, mindfulness, yoga, attending religious services, and nature-walks are a few of the methods that help to open the door to listen to the conversation that the human body is having with the human soul.
While a church or sanctuary is not required for spiritual reflection, many find comfort in the safety and solitude of these spaces. IU Health Ball, Blackford and Jay hospitals each have a chapel that is open 24 hours daily. At Ball, a daily Chaplain’s Bright Spot is broadcast over the hospital’s PA system at 8:45 each morning, Monday through Friday. The thoughts presented by the chaplains are meant to resonate with everyone, because everyone is welcome in the hospitals. The Chaplain’s Bright Spot is a moment of reflection, thoughtfulness, lightness of spirit and prayer. The chaplains follow this with a daily devotional at 9 am, Monday through Friday, in the Chapel.
“Working on one’s fitness is a proven way to improve cardiovascular health and reduce chronic diseases,” said Julie Painter, PT, manager of outpatient rehabilitation at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital. “It’s also an ideal way to spend quality time alone or with others from a self-care perspective. Along with increasing strength and flexibility and helping to maintain or lose weight, having a fitness routine or classes to attend can keep a person grounded and centered. Of course, it’s a great way to stay connected with others who share similar interests and goals.”
At IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital Rehabilitation Center on Community Drive, land and aquatic fitness classes are offered for rehabilitation and community members in a safe, welcoming environment. Aquatic classes take place in a warm, therapeutic pool (accessibility into the pool by ramp, hydraulic chair lift, stairs or wheelchair) and land classes offer low to medium intensity workouts that focus on stretching, range of motion, general strengthening and balance. Classes cost $7 for aquatic and $5 for land. Note the pool will be closed for renovation Aug. 6 – 24.