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  • Louise Diffey

Staying Afloat

Going through a stressful time is tough. If we can resolve what is causing our stress, or remove ourselves from the situation, that can be helpful, but it is not always possible. When that experience is ongoing, it can be extremely difficult to remain at a level of wellbeing that enables us to function adequately in everyday life. If this is happening to us, we need to remember to take especially good care of ourselves. In trying to do just that during a challenging phase of my life, I spent time with family on a sunny day out. Sitting with them in the shade, on a bench overlooking a wildlife pond, I looked at the water lilies and realised that they were doing what I was trying to do…growing and staying afloat. Mindfulness is easier to practice in a nice environment like a garden, so I made an effort to really appreciate my surroundings. The lilies were looking beautiful and serene, and I thought that perhaps whenever I feel that I might sink and be engulfed by stress, having a calming image in my mind to remind me of that time might help. I took a photograph to help me remember the flowers. Having had this thought, I now find that whenever I feel that life is too much, a picture of the water lilies comes to mind. It reminds me that the world is still beautiful no matter what is happening to me. It brings a smile to my face and reminds me to be kind to myself and to find ways to manage the stress. Last time life felt difficult, I took some time to light my favourite lemon scented candles, got out a mug with a heart on it, and treated myself to a hot chocolate. Mindfulness can be very supportive and grounding. If I hadn’t been mindful of my surroundings in the wildlife garden and noticed the lilies, I would now not have an uplifting image to remind me of self-care. Extending this mindfulness into my self-care, I make sure that I enjoy the scented candles, savour the hot chocolate, and remember that the mug with the heart on it was a little present to myself because I thought I was worth it. Here is my waterlily picture…perhaps you have a picture that might work as a prompt for mindfulness in stressful times.

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