Is it ok to play Mahjong when your parent is in the hospital?

A gut reaction may be no way; but if you take the time to ask yourself your reason for saying “no” it will help you see your unwritten rules on the subject.

Simona from

Simona Hadjigeorgalis

It can be challenging to think rationally when our loved ones are not well, so for many of us, the decision-making process will be a journey. Be kind and patient with yourself as you travel this journey. But when you are ready, it is important for you to assess how your decisions impact you in this moment and beyond.

The Unwritten Rules

We all have a set of rules on this topic but what is interesting is that for most of us, although those rules guide our actions, we may not have ever taken the time to deliberately evaluate them.

One benefit of bringing your “rules” into your conscious mind is that it gives you the opportunity to determine if they serve the greatest good. It will also give you an opportunity to better understand why you may make different decisions than your peers or siblings.

What are the “rules” that govern our choices?

Let’s start with looking at our rules. Take a moment and think about the rules you currently have. Here are some examples of statements. As you read them, notice if any resonate with you or repel you; your reaction will give you some insights into your rules.

If my parent is in the hospital, then

  • I should drop everything and spend every day at the hospital
  • If I am not at work, then I should be by my parent’s side
  • If I am not caring for my grandchild so my children can be at work, then I should be by my parent’s side
  • It is important that I continue to nurture myself and my inner circle of loved ones even though my parent is in the hospital
  • It is not ok for me to play with my grandchildren unless my child needs me for day care; if I am not needed, I should be at the hospital
  • It is more important for me to be at the hospital then it is for me to be home eating dinner with my spouse (and/or children, grandchildren)
  • It is important that I take time to go to the grocery store and fuel my body and my family well

Where is your line?

  • Would you miss your own doctor’s appointment?
  • Would you forego care for your physical body? For how long? A day? A week? A month? A year?
  • What is the line for “reasons” you can spend time with your non-hospitalized loved ones? Is it only if they “need” you? Or is it ok to enjoy time with them?
  • Would it be ok to spend time with dear friends since they fill you up with the positive energy needed to maintain your own wellness?

Take a moment to breath. For most of us, these questions bring up a lot of emotion. We’ve been trained to be “good”, but what does being “good” actually mean?

What does it mean to serve the greatest good?

In this particular situation, what does it mean to serve the greatest good? There are so many factors to consider, and everyone’s conclusions will be personal to their circumstances.

What I’d like to remind you is that it is NOT SELFISH to prioritize your own wellness. A decision to forgo your own wellness or to change how you participate in your inner circle of loved ones has a rippling impact on your own wellbeing as well as those that love you. Be as deliberate as you are able to be about your decisions and be sure to be transparent with the other people in your life that are being impacted by those decisions.

Can different people have different rules?

Now that we’ve brought these “rules” into the light, it becomes a little bit more obvious that they are actually not a common set of rules that we all operate from. They are actually an individual set of guidelines that have been influenced by a combination of factors from our personal values and life experiences.

Yes, different people have different rules. And that is ok. The important thing is to be clear about your rules and your own guiding principles. This is important because without acceptance (of yourself and/or of others), we leave room for judgment.

Harboring negative emotions like judgment of others will impact the subtle energies all around you and are not good for you, the other person, or your parent who may thrive better with positive energy around him or her.

Being Judged
The other reason it is important to be clear about your own rules is that once you’ve evaluated them and you are comfortable with them, when others raise their eyebrows at your decisions, you can listen to your inner voice of clear decision-making, rather than ‘shoulding’ all over yourself.

What if others judge your rules?

Hopefully you are surrounded by mostly loving people. And hopefully you will not need to worry about experiencing negative feelings directed at you. Unfortunately that is not always the case. If you find yourself on the receiving end of judgment, here are some tools that may support you….

1. Deliberate decision making
One solution is just what we have been talking about—bring your rules to your conscious mind and be deliberate in your decision-making.

2. Energy healing
Another useful tool is the “zip up”. This is adapted from part of an energy healing technique that Donna Eden teaches, so if you’d like to read more, she’s got a wonderful book called “Energy Medicine”.

Start with a moment of quiet. Then stand tall and breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth nourishing all the cells in your body with oxygen. Now zip yourself up by placing both hands at the bottom end of your central meridian, which is at your pubic bone. Inhale deeply as you move your hands straight up the center of your body to your lower lip. This motion is slow and deliberate.

Continue upwards, past your lips exuberantly raising your arms into the sky with your hands open while you release your breath with a satisfying exhale. Then, circle your arms back down to your pubic bone and repeat 2 more times.

When you finish your third zip up, bring your hands to prayer position and take one more cleansing breath. My wish for you is that you feel nestled in a protective layer of loving light energy.

3. Fuel yourself
Even in challenging times, such as having a parent in the hospital, be sure to keep yourself well by filling up with the things that fuel you. Whether that is through prayer, nurturing relationships, laughter, exercise, eating foods that fuel your body well, or a combination of those things—take care of yourself so you are well enough to take care of the people that are counting on you.

So is it OK?

Back to the original question…Is it ok to play mahjong when your parent is in the hospital?

There are so many benefits to mahjong. The important social connection, especially if you play with people that fill you up in positive ways, nurtures your emotional health. Plus, mahjong has other health benefits, such as exercising your brain.

If you made a decision that it is ok to include your own wellness on your list if priorities, then, the answer from my perspective is yes.

About Simona Hadjigeorgalis
Simona Hadjigeorgalis is a writer and advocate for women's self-care. She's the author of The Busy Woman's Guidebook to Vibrant Vitality, creator of the Digestion Zone, and co-founder of the wellness website

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