“I LOVE MYSELFFIRST AND KNOWMY VISION” Code of Honour (a list of practice reminders that help Qi coaches be, do, and have our best). Why? We believe–as cliché as it sounds–that in order to best serve others, we must serve ourselves. In other words, we must practice what we preach. So what does it actually mean to To us at Qi Creative, it means taking care of our basic physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs to ensure that we are able to serve and help children, adolescents, parents, and schools of all abilities to do the same. This can be tricky for people in helping professions–or anyone who tends to put others before themselves– as necessary fuel for the body, mind, and soul. Proper self-care enables us to do what we love, and love what we do, and it allows us to share our BEST selves with others. We want to share our love for own lives. WOOSH began as a pilot project publication, intended for use as a self-care outlet for our own staff; to bolster our own “therapeutic tool-belts” and express our individual passions. I cannot begin to express how grateful we are to be in our second year of publication and I am humbled by the parents, schools, and professionals who continue to support us in living our vision every day; a vision which encourages people to Create youR awesome. So, whether you recharge by sleeping in a little longer, going to the spa, making your favourite recipe, or running an ultra-marathon, I hope you enjoy Volume 2, Issue 1: Qi Self-Care. WOOSH! Jonathan Rivero, BSCOT, OT(C) CEO & FOUNDER - Qi Creative
WOOSH Volume 2, Issue 1
H EATHER SHERWOOD ~ MSCSLP, R.SLP, SLP( C) Speech Language Pathologist & Coach
FOR ME, SELF- CARE is going climbing with my brother; taking Zombie Runs in the river valley (feel free to ask me more about this); watching terrible video games with my husband; listening to audio-books while I drive (even if it’s only to the grocery store); painting my toenails; defeating the opposing team in Ultimate Frisbee; and attending whatever weirdo event that my best friend is into at the moment. What is self care for you?
H ELEN C HAU ~ BA, MSCOT Occupational Therapist & Coach
SOME OF MY FAVORITE THINGS: reading, bubble baths, playing with my dog, drinking tea, watching terrible romantic comedies with my friends, being with my husband, watching SNL skits or The Ellen Degeneres Show, scrapbooking, traveling. When I’m feeling sad, I simply remember a few of my favorite things, and then I don’t feel so bad!
MELISSA M O ~ BSCOT, OT(C) Occupational Therapist & Coach
W E ALL HAVE TIMES IN OUR LIVES when we just have too much going on. In reality there will always be things you NEED to do. The last thing you want to do is take time for yourself right? Well, let me tell you, Me Time is essential to your quality of life! So Prioritize and discover what is meaningful to you. do something that makes you smile!
SAM PATHIRANA ~ BSCOT Occupational Therapist & Coach
MY SELF- CARE IS ALL ABOUT THREE THINGS: exercise, food, and music. Every day looks different, but it all revolves around those three things. What do they have in common? They all help me to be in the moment, and challenge me to push myself to be my best, physically and mentally.
PAULA R IVERO ~ BBA, MSW COO of Qi Creative
DEAR SELF-CARE, Thank you for giving me the strength to be my best today. Without you in my life, I would not be the feisty, energetic, enthusiastic, playful woman I strive to be. I am able to love and give my best with my whole heart, especially to the people I love most. am transforming my life and my ability to be, do, have, and give my best each day. I am grateful. My wish is for you to touch the lives of many others with your grace. Yours Truly, Paula
BRONWEN B LACK ~ BA, MSCOT Occupational Therapist & Coach
SELF CARE TO ME, is tea, cat snuggles, community favorite music, walking barefoot (on the beach or anywhere), skateboarding, bike riding, wandering and searching for the northern lights.
MICHAEL SCHWAKE ~ BSC, BED Education Consultant & Coach
LOOK IN THE MIRROR , stand up straight. Sets me right, to reach my height. Making sure to see my smile. Reminds me I am worth it all. WOOSH Volume 2, Issue 1
Pat on the back, time to head out the door. Oh Oh, I forgot to get dressed once more. Take care and don’t forget anything big or small.
BRENNAN B LACK~ BA Communications Director & Designer
CLEAN WATER , mountain air, deep friendship and good music; a few of the things that help me care for myself.
CARE OF MYSELF?
Where do I even start?
STEP 1: Here are some questions you can ask yourself: » What activities do I love doing? » What helps me relax? » What makes me smile? » What helps distract me from worries? » How can I enjoy some of these activities with my family? STEP 2: Write down a plan! STEP 3: Schedule ‘me time’ in day timer! ~ Melissa Mo
I HAVE BEEN HAVING an extra hard time coping this winter. Dalence is older, bigger and stronger. I’m older, bigger and slower! Haha. The thing that has been hardest for me is not having enough time with other adults. I know a few people, but not enough that I can connect with someone whenever I am feeling low. My Qi team is trying to help me brainstorm ways to connect with more people and how to better manage my stress. A few of the things I do to help myself cope, are: I use my 24-hour respite to get away, I invite friends and acquaintances for a potluck friendship supper, I text my new friend Suzi, I leave the dishes for another time so I can rest, and I celebrate small moments. Some of the best moments I had this winter were when I was feeding the cows and there was the most beautiful sunrises. They were so big; I also love to text “tea time” to Suzi or another friend and we would have tea ‘together.’ It doesn’t seem like much, but just making that connection helps lift my spirit.
Tea is very soothing. Choosing the right cup is very important. It pleases me to have a beautiful cup to drink out of. I decide what tea will make me feel good. Do I want cream or honey, do I want some sleepy time tea or need caffeine? Then I try to take a moment to relax with my hot cup of tea and let its warmth wash over me and calm me. Tea is so very magical! ~ Tanya Stockwell WOOSH Volume 2, Issue 1
W E PERCEIVE THE WORLD through our senses. We are constantly bombarded by sensory input throughout our day, as we go from environment to environment, but as with everything in life, there are things we can control, and things we cannot. So how do we get the most out of the little control that we do have? The answer is to be mindful of the things that affect us the most, and make small changes when and where we can. By directing our focus to only one of these senses for a few minutes, whether that means adding a desirable sensory input, or taking away an unpleasant one, we have the power to make a positive difference in how we feel for the rest of our day. If you have ever had to sit beside a foul smelling individual on the spa, Iâ€™m sure you can relate to the power of the senses. So, what is it that makes one of these scenarios desirable, and the other undesirable? How can we use this knowledge? Once you stressful, you will be able to use this information to learn to better control your sensory experience, and make each day a little bit more pleasant. Here is a list of the actual seven senses, along with some examples and descriptions, to help you on your journey to becoming an expert in managing your sensory environment.
The anatomy of Self-Care Sense #1: Visual Examples: gridlock, snow, a messy house Sometimes, the best and easiest thing to do when feeling overwhelmed is to simply close your eyes. I know a number of children that will do just that when they are feeling overwhelmed. If thatâ€™s not possible,
changing rooms is not possible, how can you alter your space to make it more peaceful? Here are a few suggestions of how this could be achieved: » Change or adjust lights. » Add a pleasing picture to your décor. » Look at pictures of cute animals, children, or anything inspirational. America’s Funniest Home Videos or random bloopers. If all else fails, you can try laughing at yourself by making silly faces in a mirror, or just smiling. Sense #2: Hearing Examples: music, noisy chatter of loved ones, silence How many people out there long for a moment of silence? I grew up in a household where my mom ran a day home, and even after all the kids went home, I still had my cousins and extended family over. Most of the time, one of the kids was watching Barney (or any other similarly repetitive and irritating children’s television show) and as I’m sure you can imagine, people were talking constantly. I craved silence, but I also associated my ‘safe place’ with being noisy. Music was my solution, and still is today. Music can cheer me up, help me have a cathartic cry, get me pumped up for a work out, or help me focus to study or work. It all depends on the music. What sounds work best for you? If you’re having trouble thinking of sounds that will get you where you want to go, don’t forget the power of a good story! I essentially drive for a living and I can testify to the awesomeness of audio books, and their usefulness as a tool to change focus, and feel productive. Sense #3: Proprioception Examples: stretching, a ‘squish’ or joint compression, yoga, jumping on a trampoline, progressive muscle relaxation WOOSH Volume 2, Issue 1
This is how your musculoskeletal system sends feedback to your brain, and how your muscles and tendons let your brain know where tour body is in space. Gymnasts, yogis, dancers, and athletes all make great use of their proprioception. The number one strategy here is exercise, in whatever form makes the most sense for you. Yoga provides some great joint pressure as well, not to mention the Sense #4: Vestibular Examples: a rocking chair, jumping on a trampoline, swinging I’m willing to bet that most people know someone who as a child, had an easier time falling asleep in the car, than in their own bed. This is because vestibular input, extremely calming. How about a rocking chair? Or sitting on a swing? It’s also good to be aware of your environment, and the possible vestibular input that may be in the background. I once had to leave one of my favorite restaurants because we were seated in the back by the coolers, and when they would periodically come on, they would make the ground vibrate, which in turn made me feel nauseous and anxious. How does vestibular feedback affect you? Sense #5: Oral Sensory Examples: chewing gum, grinding teeth, biting lips, clicking noises an extremely powerful way of giving back to myself (in my case sometimes too much and too often). For others, a piece of candy, or a refreshing beverage can do the trick. Bronwen wrote a lovely article about gum in one of our previous issues of WOOSH, which really brings home how valuable of a tool this can be. Sense #6: Olfactory Examples: a loved one’s scent, fresh baked cookies, ‘cutting the cheese’ Smell is one of the most important senses because when we experience it, we don’t think about it. A smell which we have an association with will automatically trigger an emotion or a reaction.
This works both ways of course, and the have a pleasant association with. Remember that smells are portable too! Samples of perfume and cologne are great portable mood enhancers. I personally love the smell of fabric softener sheets, so I make sure to keep some in my gym bag and hockey bag! What smell is most powerful for you? Sense #7: Touch Examples: a wool sweater, a hug, a hot shower Therapeutic touch is one of the most powerful senses, especially in relation to how we interact with others. A hug can totally change someone’s day, (as long as they like to be hugged, and are comfortable with the person hugging them of course). Therapeutic massages and hot
than light touch, but once again, try to be aware of your own body and your own needs. Some people really need their personal space,
inputs! Some of the most powerful therapeutic activities involve multiple sensory modalities. Dance along to a music video. Make your favorite meal and enjoy the sounds, smells, and tastes that result. Do yoga in a dark and quiet room, or to some calming ocean and nature sounds. Jump on a trampoline. Go for a swim and enjoy the resistance of the water, while also observing its feel on your skin. So next time you feel overwhelmed or stressed and don’t know what to do, ask yourself if there isn’t something in your environment you can focus on to make your experience a little more pleasant. It’s easier than it might seem, and the smallest change you make, might be the edge you need to get through your tough days. ~ Sam Pathirana WOOSH Volume 2, Issue 1
PUNCH ... KICK ... PUSH... SWEAT... HARDER... HARDER... OH, I’m sorry, forgive me, I’m just in my Jazzercise class right now, being totally motivated and challenged to push myself! I didn’t feel like going, but judging by the type of day I had I knew that I needed to go. My husband was the one to point this out to me that day. He could tell I needed a break already in the morning. “Do you need a date tonight?” he asked. My eyes grew wide as I answered, “not really, but hey... can I go to Jazzercise?” Just the thought of going lifted me up, but sure enough, by the time evening came, I had to really push myself to get there and had to keep saying to myself “I always feel great after I’ve gone.” Sure enough, about three songs in, the endorphins are there and the rest is, well...WOOSH! –yes–taking The words “self care” care of myself, but also allowing others to take care of me. Allowing myself to trust and ask others for the help I need so that I can take care of myself is not easy for me, and indeed very humbling. I still have far to go, but I’m on my way. I have always loved motivational speakers, reading articles on exercise and health, time management, etc. but I never was able to change my burn out ways. I think that over the past few years since our family’s involvement began with Jonathon and his amazing crew at Qi Creative, it really started to stick that the best thing I can do for my son Martin, (and for everyone else in my family) is to make sure that I myself am becoming whole – if I am the best I can be, the best version of myself so to speak, then this is the best thing for Martin: a mom who is cheerful, loving, patient, fun, positive, energetic...the list goes on. Trust me, I am often not all of these things, but they are traits I am striving for. I have heard it said, that you can’t give what you don’t have, and so I constantly have to be making sure that I am not neglecting some area of my life–becoming unbalanced. In my own life, this would show up as impatience, grumpiness, tiredness, over-sensitivity, lack of focus, to name a few tell tale signs. And so I have to ask myself – what are my needs? Needs, yes NEEDS! My needs are: rest, exercise, a day away to do whatever I want, a date with my husband, a pedicure, an afternoon at the library to read in quiet, a visit with a girlfriend, someone to come over and help me organize, getting the whole house to myself (this is one of my favorites!),
some one-on-one time with Coach Helen? I was taught by a spiritual guide and coach, who I meet with once a month, to express my needs to my husband, to my family, even my extended family and friends - is there some way they can help me so that I can take the necessary care of myself? when I am balanced, I am much better at taking care of my marriage and my family. You know the old saying, “when Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Kind of a funny saying, but isn’t it sometimes true? As the years go by, we have found the saying hold as true for Dad. And so it is equally important that I try to make sure my husband is able to have the time he needs for his self care. And so, I’d just like to leave you with a few nuggets that I have discovered for myself. » Self care is about my physical well being but also about my emotional and spiritual well being–to be able to take care of and strive for interior peace. This I do by prayerful meditation and using a program to help me eradicate the negative things in my life while cultivating virtue. » I need to learn to love myself and to keep a journal of what goes well and not so well. For example: “I didn’t want to take the time to go for a walk, but after I did, it gave me energy and focus for my afternoon.” You especially with the fact that you can’t often trust your feelings, and you have to use your head to decide what is best for you. Being able to admit, “I gotta get outa here!” » Using a schedule – even though it sounds restrictive, it actually creates freedom, and you can even schedule your time for yourself and what you need to stay balanced, and have joy in your life. need to take care of yourself, you’ll then be doing your best for yourself and your family, one (or more) of whom is that precious and unique special needs child in your life. ~ Bernadette Skuban
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ONE OF MY MOST FAVOURITE THINGS matchbox â€“ this sensory experience calms me and takes me back to many good times camping with my family, listening to my grandmother play the accordion and whittling sticks for mallows. This spring I was so the snow in my yard melted. I rushed out there and started hucking sticks, chunks of wood and junk mail in my recycled washing to build. Then it hit me...something was missing: planning. I needed to slow down and do this mindfully and thoughtfully. I needed to more epic. I needed to take my time. My process looked a little bit like this:
Of course what ensued was a delightful pyre that I could really occurred to me that success in many things in life, especially selfcare, require a similar set of steps. Successful self care does not just ignite itself amidst the stacks of other activities that clutter up our lives. When it comes to personal self care and well being, we have to slow down, break it down into smaller parts, organize the environment, nourish and build on small successes, and then grow teaching of self-care and self-help skills to the kids in our lives!
Personal Self Care Examples Slow Down: Take a deep breath and think of the possibilities and Organize the Environment: Put away your phone, turn off the TV, move Break it Down: Start by taking self-care breaks 5 minutes at a time. Start Fan the Flame: focus your energy and attention on these things rather on what isn’t working. Build it Bigger: As you start to have success with small chunks of self-care time, plan something bigger. Reinforce several small successes with a bigger self-care reward, like a special coffee or an overnight vacation.
Teaching Self Help Skills to Kids Examples: Slow Down: Instead of rushing through self-care or self-help activities, slow it down. Think about what could be modeled or delegated to your child and plan what they could be successful at. Organize the Environment: Remove distractions and items in the environment that are unnecessary so that kids can focus on what is important to the task, and so that the expectations are more clear. Break it Down: Don’t expect your kids to be able to do everything all at once! And don’t give up if they can’t perform a whole task. Break down a task into many small steps and have them start on just one item. WOOSH Volume 2, Issue 1
Fan the Flame: If you notice your child taking an interest in an item of self-care, focus your energy there. Praise, praise, praise; even the smallest successes. If you go with where the success and interest already naturally are then you will have more success! Build it Up: As your child masters one part of the task, keep
~ Bronwen Black
THE CONCEPT OF SELF- CARE - engaging in activities that promote health and restore energy - applies to everyone, but actual activities and strategies may differ. It is very hard for someone to say to another, “Do this, and you will feel better!” One person may look forward to going home and enjoying a glass (or two) of wine, whereas another person may need to unwind playing video games, listening to music, cooking, playing with their children or pets, writing in their journal or going for a walk. The ways to take care of yourself are as diverse and individual as you are! For myself, I love quiet space - no music or background TV noises - and opening up a good book. That said, I also think that it is important to be open and to explore different activities that may help promote health and happiness. After all, adding to our tool belt of self-care strategies is always a good thing. One thing I have always heard and wondered about, but never actually inspirational quotes online and on social media. They have never done anything for me, except make me think, “That’s a nice quote.” in desperation to look up causes and treatment for sleeplessness. Lo-andbehold, among lists of different stress-relievers, medication, exercises, and yoga poses, I saw
positive thinking and empowerment – a belief that a positive mind frame can lead you to success in different areas of your life. In my research, 1. What is your intention? What do you want to create in your life? 2. Create a statement. Once you know your intention, create a simple statement and phrase it as if it is already true. For example: I am improving everyday rather than I want to improve. 3. Make sure it’s positive. Put into the statement what you want to see happen, rather than what you don’t want. 4. Repetition! Write it down, read it out loud, post it around your Sounds simple enough…but I still wasn’t sold. Then I came across a very not work. It looked at a study of individuals with low self-esteem who used positive found that, similar to the use of overly positive praise, unreasonable positive statements can often cause contradictory thoughts and reactions in people with low self-esteem, as they do not match up to their own selfand reject them. This actually made a lot of sense to me. I do not have low self-esteem, but I have always thought of myself as, “not an optimist, or a pessimist, but a realist.” And so, as I continued to read the research, I found a very 5. Make it Realistic. don’t go overboard, as your inner self may subconsciously scoff and laugh at you! a try. It may not be for everybody, but if it makes sense to you too, give it a go! And so, I will not unrealistically say, “I am going to have a wonderfully fantastic day because I am super awesome,” but rather, “I will have a good day because I am doing what I love!” Like I said, I am not an overly optimistic person. So bear in mind, that everyone. ~ Helen Chau WOOSH Volume 2, Issue 1
A FEW WEEKS AGO, I took Friday off of work and went to Calgary for the Calgary Comic Book Expo, or Comicon. It was fantastic! I got to visit with some friends, check out some famous people, see a lot of great costumes and blow waaay too much money on the Last Man comic book series. But the days that led up to it made me apprehensive. I had booked it weeks in advance, but found out that one of the awesome families that I have the privilege of working with would be going to MDT that very Friday I had planned to be in Calgary. All I could think was “How can I go do something as I’m going to a comic book expo rather than being with them, they’ll think I don’t care!” I also thought: “There is so much work to do, how can I take the day off?” I talked to Jon about staying in Edmonton that Friday and going to Comicon in the evening, but he put his foot down and told me in no uncertain terms that I better go and have the most fun weekend ever. Also, the family that was scheduled for MDT found out I was going and assured me that they had it and to have fun. So, I had my all under control tickets purchased, I had the blessing of my boss and my teammates, now the only person who could ruin my weekend of fun was me.
“Nothing can ruin the time that we take for ourselves quicker than feeling guilty about it.” You see, I tend to fall into the guilt trap. I can take the steps of planning to do something, be it go away for a weekend, book some doctor’s appointments in the morning, or just take an hour to chill out, but I always feel guilty about it. I spend the entire time that I should be enjoying myself feeling bad about what I should be doing at work or at home, worrying over the ever present To Do List. So how much do I enjoy the activity that I have planned to help myself relax? Not at all. Has my self care activity actually accomplished it’s goal of helping me feel refreshed? “Ugh, I’m wasting my time, I should be doing so many other things right now.” Nothing can ruin the time that we take for our selves quicker than feeling guilty about it, and then our exercise in self care becomes an exercise in futility. I have to consciously stop myself from thinking about all those other things, and let myself be in the moment. I need to recognize when my mind is drifting to my To Do List
became easier the more I did it, the more I told myself, “I can do that Monday” the more I believed it. And I do have to say, I had a great time at Comicon. After all, in the wise words of John Lennon:
“Time you enjoy wasting, is not wasted.” I said I enjoyed drawing, so I’ll share some with you!
A baby Chimera. Aww, isn’t she...he...it cute!
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OVER THE YEARS I HAVE COME TO REALIZE that self-care does not just happen on its own. Here I was thinking that self-care would care enough self-care needed me to understand its value for it to become a part of my life. This intrigued my curiosity and got me thinking about why self-care is really important. I notice that whenever self-care is not a priority in my life I am and giving to those I love. The realityâ€“as it is for many of usâ€“is that my competing priorities of a busy schedule. This can be especially true if you are a parent or caregiver. David Bach shares in his book The Automatic Millionaire that if you want automatic. I use the same strategy for self-care. If I want to be physically and make it automatic. I do this by scheduling time for self-care and making it a priority. This has become a continuous practice that I am committed to. By scheduling in self-care and making it a priority, I have created time to do the things that make feisty, energetic, enthusiastic, and most importantly, grateful person that I like to be. When I practice regular self-care it is much easier for me to be, do, have, and give my best from a
place of happiness, gratefulness and with satisfaction. Self-care is different for everyone and must be explored in order to drive your commitment to making your health valuable enough to put you can be, do, have, and give your best. Here are suggestions how: » Write down what self-care means to you. » Create a list of self-care activities that you enjoy. » Make a list of reasons why scheduling self-care is important for your mental and physical health. » Schedule in your self-care. Now take some time to enjoy and be grateful. WOOSH ~ Paula Rivero
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