Patience certainly is a virtue

The definition of patient means bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint or steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity, as per the Merriam Webster Dictionary website.

The topic of patience has been on my mind lately. I’m not sure if it stems from what we have all been experiencing throughout 2020, or is it because of my own personal situations? All I know is that patience is a challenging attribute to achieve. It can be as simple as being patient while waiting for that perfect brew of coffee in the morning to start off my day. It can be waiting in line at the grocery store while there are 5 people ahead of me. How about sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office?

Those are just a few examples, but probably the most trying part of patience is dealing with people. I am at the point in my life where I am done with negativity and craziness around me. I have only recently learned to set boundaries to keep me away from the negatives in my life so that I learn to be more patient. I also give myself permission to “just be”. I am ok with taking my time to ease into my day and be gentle with myself when I don’t accomplish everything on my to do list. If it isn’t urgent, then it just gets added to tomorrow’s list.

It has been shown that having patience has health benefits! From reducing your stress levels to feeling more calm, having patience is one of the keys to living a good life.

What are our biggest stressors in life? Certainly our jobs, financial worries, family obligations and our health most likely top the list.

My job can be challenging. I am a caretaker. I need to be extremely patient with my client. They have special needs and demanding criteria to be met and even though I know I do a good job, I make mistakes and I can get on their nerves at times. They will lose their patience or get annoyed and I have to just listen and keep quiet and just continue doing my job. It can take a toll on me sometimes. There have been days I have left feeling upset or exhausted not just physically, but emotionally. It takes a very patient person to do what I do. Sometimes I wonder if I’m the right person.

Despite my doubts, I love what I do because I am helping another person. However, my patience has been put through the wringer and what happens is that I keep it all bottled inside and later lose my temper or become irritable later after leaving the job for the day. It’s not healthy because my family gets the short end of the stick. I am working on improving and be more intentional on to not take my emotions home with me. I have incorporated tools to help me start my day off on the right foot. Some of that is having certain rituals, like making a good cup of coffee, sitting on my deck and doing some yoga stretching. I also try to just sit and listen to the sounds around me and breathe. These little things have helped ground me and I do find that I’m not as irritable.

My afternoon routine is a bit different. Because of Covid, everyone is home…my husband, my kids. I don’t have a quiet space to just relax and unwind anymore since the self-quarantine began in March. After work, I tend to take a drive, grab something to eat, run errands if needed, but more importantly, find a place for me to just sit and decompress. Part of that does involve checking my social media, but sometimes it’s walking at a local trail, garden or just sitting in my car and listening to some tunes.

My family is sort of polar opposite of me and that can drive me a bit nuts. I am a talker, dreamer, and gal who thrives on interaction with others. They, on the other hand are quiet, reserved and keep to themselves most of the time. This environment tests my patience in a different way. Therefore, I find outlets to keep me going and try not to get upset if no one feels like talking to me. I rediscovered new hobbies and have made new friends. I don’t ever give up and continue to do what makes me happy. If I find myself losing my patience, I try some of the tips below. The key is to be mindful and intentional. As with anything, practice makes it better.

Here are tips to practicing patience:

  1. Write down your “to-do’s” in order to have your tasks in front of you and you can mark them off as you complete them. Many get satisfaction checking off their tasks as “DONE”. Visuals help!
  2. Reduce your expectations and be gentle with yourself. Once we let go of expectations, we don’t have anything to be disappointed about if things don’t work out how we hoped. And without that disappointment, we can then feel calmer, therefore, be more patient when life throws us those curveballs.
  3. Start your day off by doing something good for yourself. Exercise like walking or yoga, having a coffee date with a friend, writing in a gratitude journal or just listening to your favorite music are just a few ideas that can help. They can make you feel grounded and ready to conquer the day!
  4. Smile more. No, I’m not quoting from “Hamilton”, but smiling and laughing helps release endorphins, which in turn, reduce our stress. And if we don’t feel stress, we have the ability to have a clear mind and in turn, be more patient.
  5. ENJOY THE LITTLE THINGS! This is my mantra for life. Enjoy the little things or moments. Love nature? Go out in your yard or visit a park and stroll around, observing the colors, scents and sounds. Tuning into our senses does wonders for our soul.

So, what are some ways YOU are striving to be more patient? Please leave a comment and share! I’d love to hear from you!

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