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“Live Soulfully.” It’s a great point to ponder. It’s also the theme of this year’s National Skilled Nursing Care Week (NSNCW), held May 12 through 18 by the American Health Care Association (AHCA). The theme — “Live Soulfully” — celebrates skilled nursing centers, and their residents and staff, by showing how they embrace happy minds and healthy souls. National Skilled Nursing Care Week was established by the American Health Care Association (AHCA) in 1967 to recognize the vital role of skilled nursing care centers in caring for the frail, elderly, disabled and terminally ill. There are many ways we can live soulfully, no matter how old we are or in what health condition, from gardening and reading to cooking and listening to music. It’s simple: being happy can improve our quality of life. Even when facing end of life care in Alameda County and elsewhere, there are plenty of opportunities to live your best life.

Renaissance philosophers said that it’s the soul that makes us human. Indeed, we are the most human when we have the greatest access to the soul. The work of our soul is found, not by viewing our life’s circumstances as problems to be solved, but by embracing what is right in front of us, says the Huffington Post. Those who are dying don’t have to succumb to their fate until the moment it happens. Until then, life is for the living. While it can be difficult to see through the clouds of despair, there are ways to love well, even with chronic or terminal illness.

Tips for Embracing Life

When faced with a chronic illness or end of life care diagnosis, the initial impact can be staggering. However, there are ways to keep living your best life despite the hand you’ve been dealt. Here are some tips for embracing the life you’ve been given.

1. Take Care of Yourself First

We have been trained over our lives to put everyone else first. This is particularly so with women and thus mothers. However, in order to achieve a balanced, productive life, you must learn, and learn quickly, to give care, compassion and respect to yourself first.

2. Be Honest About Your Feelings

People can’t read your mind. Family and friends may not understand fully what you’re going through but that does not mean they care any less. Being honest and straightforward about your condition, your limitations, and your feelings will bring you closer to others and forge a connection you may have been missing.

3. Do Whatever it Takes to Get Comfortable

In managing your health needs, you may have already utilized and benefited from a variety of drug therapies, surgery, dietary changes, physical therapy, exercise, acupuncture, massage therapy, herbal supplements, homeopathy, and much more. Perhaps your symptoms change and then you’re onto the next thing. Whatever it is that makes you feel good that day, do it.

4. Let Yourself Rest

Make rest a proactive habit in order to prevent the complete collapse that comes later on from wearing yourself out. Don’t fight the fatigue, work with it.

5. Live With Child-Like Abandon

Kids know where it’s at: they tell the truth, ask for help when they need it, give and receive hugs freely, laugh easily, cry when it hurts and fall asleep when tired. They are excellent examples of how to live your best life.

6. Step Out of Your Box

In order to live fully, you need to push the limits of your abilities every once in awhile. Travel, volunteer, learn something new, connect with old friends…when you step outside your own insulated world for small snippets of time, you learn to appreciate that the world still turns. The world is still grand. And you can still learn things about yourself despite the prognosis.

7. Look for the Silver Lining

If you believe that all of life’s experiences hold value, you can open up your mind and see the silver lining to your existence. Negatives can teach you valuable lessons. Being sick may teach you to be a more kind and sympathetic person, to release negative people from your life, to set boundaries for yourself, or to appreciate the beauty of the here-and-now.

8. Share Your Gifts

We all have them. Gifts. Natural abilities, outlooks, achievements and knowledge that we can impart to others while we are still here. Think about the reason you were put here on Earth. That purpose is to discover, develop and pass on your gifts.

9. Be Still

Take time to be still each day. Use that time to reflect on your purpose, your legacy, your life, your loves. It takes skill to learn to appreciate the silence and peace that comes with just being. You will be better able to tap into your spiritual center that is normally drowned out by the noise of living.

Contact Pathways Home Health and Hospice

We offer compassionate end of life care for our patients through hospice and in-home care. Let us help you live your best life. Contact us to learn more now at 888-978-1306.