Methodist Healthcare - Employee Assistance Program

4/4/2012

Colleen BonadioSpring Cleaning

"My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance." - Erma Bombeck

As a child, I remember hearing the adults in my life talk about Spring cleaning as a necessary rite of the season. It apparently involved polishing, cleaning and dusting everything from the floors to the ceilings! It made me tired just to hear them talk about it. I decided then that it was nothing I would ever do! I have stuck by that promise as an adult, but participate in a different type of spring cleaning. There is an internal Spring cleaning that I do regarding my attitudes and behaviors.

I am a dog lover and recently read an article by Cesar Millan, the famous dog whisperer, entitled What Your Pet Can Teach You which encouraged me on my quest to undergo an internal spring cleaning. These ideas came from that article.

Live in the moment.
Dogs live in the moment. As humans, we often spend too much time worrying about what has happened or what may happen. This robs us of the joy we can experience by focusing on what’s happening right now.

Nurture a balanced life.
Dogs thrive when they have exercise, discipline, and affection every day. As humans, we are at our best when we have some structure and routine in our lives. We also thrive on the positive connections we have with family, friends and co-workers. Physical exercise is important to our health. And who doesn't like some affection now and then!

Trust your instincts.
Dogs don't care about words. They understand that what's really going on in most situations is beneath the surface. It may be helpful to pay closer attention to non-verbal cues such as our body language and where we spend the most energy. These actions can give us valuable clues about what is most important and whether that needs some adjustment.

Be direct and consistent in your communication.
Dogs become confused when rules are not enforced consistently. Good relationships begin with clear and consistent communication. We can teach others how we want to be treated by modeling this through our communication style.

Learn to listen.
Dogs listen for our tone of voice to judge our moods. Often times, we are too busy to listen to those around us. We are busy multi-tasking and pay partial attention to each other. Taking the time to stop and listen plus to match our tone to the current discussion at hand is a gift we give to others and to ourselves.

Don’t hold grudges.
Dogs resolve disagreements as they arise and move on. Sometimes we tend to hold onto negative feelings causing conflicts to escalate unnecessarily. Dealing directly with a situation prevents it from getting out of control and keeps us moving forward.

Celebrate every day.
For a dog, every morning is Christmas morning; every walk is the best walk; every meal is the best meal. We can learn to rejoice in life’s simplest moments and celebrate the many gifts contained in the ordinary events of our lives.

I am not sure that my definition of Spring cleaning is any easier to complete than my mother's was, but my attitudes and behaviors will certainly be as clear and shiny as the windows in my childhood home! If you are interested in doing some Spring cleaning of your own or need help with any other issues, remember that your EAP counselors are always available to help. We can be reached at 901-683-5658.

Author: Colleen Bonadio, LPC, CEAP, NBCC has been in the field of behavioral health at Methodist Healthcare for over 20 years, and has been with the Methodist Healthcare EAP as a counselor since 1997. She is a National Board Certified Counselor, a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Certified Employee Assistance Professional, and a member of the Employee Assistance Professional Association. She received her B.A. degree from Thiel College in PA, and completed graduate work at Penn State University in Pennsylvania before moving to Tennessee. She got her Masters in Counseling from Memphis State University in 1996.