The Importance of Self Care

 

I caught up with a friend over coffee this morning (something I HIGHLY recommend for soul nourishment!) and, knowing that I’ve been going through some challenges lately with my family and ex-family, she asked, “What have you been doing to take care of YOU?”

Here’s what I told her. Even as a busy self-employed person and advocate/caregiver for an adult child with a disability, I nurture myself with:

  1. Regular massage therapy, reflexology, and acupuncture. I’m lucky to have great relationships with colleagues in alternative care, and I enlist their help in staying healthy. Between 2 LMTs, 2 certified reflexologists, and a wonderful acupuncturist, I receive some kinds of bodywork almost every week. And I add chiropractic adjustments and sessions with a physical therapist when I need them to keep me going as well.
  2. Eating healthy. I now give myself permission to supplement what I have time to fix each week with a food service that delivers fresh plant-based meals and snacks to the house, all beautifully prepared and ready to eat. It costs a little more than making all my own meals, but it’s a huge time saver. And it’s very healthy. And at least I’m not throwing produce away because I can’t prepare and eat it all before it goes bad.
  3. Daily exercise. I got a dog. Six months ago I rescued an older lab mix who was so depressed and out of shape from being in the kennel for too long, that she couldn’t take long or brisk walks. I took her to obedience school where we had fun while learning and bonding. I gradually increased her walks and added run/walk/run intervals 2-3 times/week. Now she is healthy and happy and so full of energy we’re questioning if she’s really as old as we thought she was! She makes me laugh and makes me exercise and gives me tons of love and good protection.
  4. Classes for enrichment. Right now I’m taking a class at Flagler College called “World Geography.” It is “world geography,” but it explores the globe in a way that is of particular interest to people who like to travel: a little history, a little culture, a few travel tips. It’s easy, fun and interesting. Sometimes it’s good to open ourselves up to new experiences and challenges! I’ve also taken continuing education classes for my licenses, Spanish and American Sign Language, art workshops, writing seminars—there’s so much to choose from, it’s easy to be a lifelong learner.
  5. Creating art and crafts. When my younger son asked if he could move back home, I wanted to support his quest to save money and continue his education. It’s worked out well because he offers valuable emotional and logistical help as well. The only drawback was that I had to relinquish my craft studio. I moved all the supplies into my office and created a tiny workspace there. It’s a bit cramped, but actually, it’s great because I can work on projects little by little when I have gaps between client appointments. I don’t have as much time to work on this as I would like, but it’s a good example of doing the best you can with what you’ve got to work with.
  6. Rest. I have to remind myself sometimes that “a good day” is not necessarily defined by how much I accomplish. I need downtime, especially on weekends, and I honor that. Even if it means saying no to some social things that might be enjoyable in order to stay home on a nice day and look at a magazine out on my swing with a cup of tea or glass of wine. I simply can’t cram non-stop activities into every available moment. In that way, I’m kind of not as much fun as I used to be. But I am at peace.
  7. Cutting myself some slack. The house is a mess. Seriously, I would be pretty embarrassed if someone stopped by unannounced and saw how we really live. It’s not dirty, but it’s cluttered from multiple projects that seem to never end, and from being generally very, very lived in. There are lots of things I don’t do that I would like to. For example, one of my New Year goals was to meditate, journal and stretch each day, even for just 5 minutes each. I don’t do it, not even close to every day. 

But every day is a balancing act. As I contemplated the things I do to take care of myself to answer my friend’s question, I realized this was a pretty good list. As I do love to travel, I’m planning to see my sister in Phoenix in May, and finally visiting Italy in October (a bucket list item!). It’s good to have things to look forward to. I also discussed with my friend my vision and plans for growing the reflexology side of my business, and for helping my son achieve more independence and a better quality of life. We’re slowly chipping away at long-term goals while juggling work and some fun stuff and all the necessary chores and errands.

Do I feel overwhelmed some days—yes! Do I have trouble sleeping some nights—yes! But that’s all the more reason to take care of myself with the 7 things outlined here!!

What do you do to take care of YOU? Your list might be very different from mine, but I hope you do make self-care a priority.

Category : Blog &Health &Personal Growth Posted on March 20, 2019

Leave a Reply