The sandwich generation. Membership in such a group might sound mouthwatering, but according to Randi Ziorio Dunlop, nurse educator in MacEwan University’s Bachelor of Psychiatric Nursing program, the term actually explains why many people are unhappy. “People are trying to fit everything in,” she explains. “They’re trying to work, take care of kids, look after parents and older adults, and go to school at the same time. It just stresses people out and they can get very down or negative about it.
With schedules stuffed as full as a turkey bacon club, positivity tends to plummet. As a result, one of the top New Year’s resolutions of 2016 was to focus on the positive. If this resolution speaks to you, here are Randi’s thoughts and advice on penciling positivity into your hectic life.
Why do you think this resolution is such a popular one?
We have trouble making time for things that are positive for us because we have all this other stuff going on. Self-care is probably the biggest thing people are willing to let go of, but it's really important in order for them to do the things they need to without burning out.
What is the biggest challenge in staying focused on the positive?
“Focus on the positive” is a little too general of an idea. I think people have to reflect on what it is specifically that makes them happy. You have to think, “What do I really want? What do I value? What is enjoyable to me?” and try to find things that fit within that, because everyone's different.
How can people be successful in their pursuit of positivity?
You have to plan it into your day. Even as a mental health professional, I have to carve out time for myself the way anybody else does. I've learned to schedule time for myself. That can be hard and people might think they don't have time, but it can take just five minutes of mindful meditation, where you're just sitting, not doing anything and really trying to clear out your thoughts. Or it can be as simple as turning the TV off 30 minutes before bed to read a book, if that’s something you like to do. You have to make that time or you’ll let a hundred other things pile up.
We acknowledge that the land on which we gather in Treaty Six Territory is the traditional gathering place for many Indigenous people. We honour and respect the history, languages, ceremonies and culture of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit who call this territory home.