Permission Slips: Part Two

This is your permission slip.

Permission Slips: Part Two – Caroline Dawson

This is part two in a series called “Permission Slips”. If you missed Part One please take quick moment to read “This is Your Permission Slip” published in April.

Sometimes there isn’t much we can do to change our circumstances. In those cases the only thing left to change may be how we Think about our circumstances.

Permission slips as a tool are ultimately a tool to help us shift our thinking.

Caregiving and working in caring professions can be extremely rewarding. It also can be extremely taxing – with plenty of mundane moments in between. Loved ones, clients and residents depend on us for care. Their needs often increase rather than decrease and we are called upon to provide and manage more and more. Sometimes these circumstances can change – sometimes not.

So where to permission slips come in?

Permission slips as a tool can both set us up to build resilience and avoid fatigue as well as as a salve for ourselves when fatigue has set in.

Today’s permission slip: “I give myself permission to be present.”

No matter if you are a full time family caregiver, a nurse in an assisted living or a hospice social worker when we encounter our loved ones, residents and clients – if we are not attentive – it is a moment in between.

In between one care giving task and the next.

In between lunch and your afternoon conference call.

In between seeing Mrs. Jones and Mr. Clark.

In between dropping the kids off and picking up dinner.

In between med pass and giving Mrs. Smith a shower.

If we are not present we are in between where we have come from and where we are going with little attention on where we are.

What if – What if we give ourselves permission to be present?

Or the closely connected permission slip to be patient?

Our loved ones can tell the difference of when they are “in between” and when we are present.

As an experiment today, as you are walking into an encounter give yourself permission to be present, permission not to review what has not yet been done today, permission in this moment, with your loved one, resident or client, (…or coworker or spouse, or….) to be attentive, to be connected, to not be passing through from point to point and instead, with a deep breath be exactly where you are.

This is the start of Mindfulness work. If you are interested in learning more techniques to enhance being in the moment I recommend this excellent resource page from UC Berkley: What is Mindfulness 

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