Self care is not self-ish. What do I mean?
When it comes to caring for ourselves, we women are last on the list. Seemingly, everyone and everything else takes priority, whether it is our children, our significant other, our jobs/careers, elderly parents that we may be caring for … the list goes on and on.
Why do we put ourselves last and not think of ourselves also?
Well, let me tell you a bit about my story. The past few years were pretty rough for yours truly and our family as we were dealing with elderly parent issues. I will admit, I did not take the best care of myself. I was a bit of a mess actually. Couple that with the onset of menopause symptoms and an increasingly stressful work life and the weight crept up and I generally wasn’t in the best place. Because both myself and my husband were taking care of our respective mothers (in different cities), the thought of indulging myself in anything but a glass (or three) of wine seemed … well indulgent. Over-indulgent actually.
The truth is, I felt guilty entertaining the idea of focusing on myself. I felt guilty thinking about myself! How could I even think about doing anything for myself when I was so tired most days, I was emotionally drained and members of my family were not doing well. Not good.
The thing is, if you don’t take care of yourself, you are only hurting yourself. Self-care does not mean you first. It means you also.
Below are three areas where I have implemented (or at least tried to implement) a self-care regimen on the road to getting back to a better “me”. This list is by no means the be all and end all. It’s just the beginning!
Exercise is self-care. No, really, it is! It isn’t punishment, although at times, it does feel that way. We all know the benefits of exercise, right? If that is the case, why is it so hard to stick with a routine? I am by no means perfect … far from it. However, when it comes to starting an exercise routine, I’ve come to realize a few things:
- You have to do it when you are ready and you have to really want to do it; and
- You have to realize there are so many benefits to exercising other than losing weight and fitting into a smaller size anything.
A good sweat session or a killer weight session can help you better deal with stress, feels indulgent because you are taking time out for yourself and can make you feel like a bad-a$$ (i.e. you can take on anything this world throws at you girlfriend!).
How cool is that?
Mental Health Time Out
When we think of taking better care of ourselves, we often only think about exercising more and eating healthier foods. As noted above, exercise is definitely important. However, the truth is that self-care includes mental and emotional care as well as physical care. I would suggest diving into some books (fiction or non-fiction) … you know, the ones that you’ve been meaning to read (I know there’s a stack on your book shelf. I know this because I have the same stack).
If reading isn’t your jam or you literally don’t have the time to sit down with a good book, there are many podcasts that you can listen to in the car on your way to work or on your phone when running errands or when you are out for a Sunday stroll. In addition, you can check out an online seminar or attend a live seminar or two this year.
This may be the most important area to focus on. Rest doesn’t simply mean sleep or a hot bath (but it definitely does include those things). I tend to think rest also includes concentrating on your hobby, hanging out with friends and family, watching television, listening to music or basically doing anything that relaxes and de-stresses you.
The key is to make the time to implement self-care into your daily routine. Schedule your self-care in your planner and make it a priority. It is really important to include yourself in the care that you give to others.
So, how about you? What are some of your self-care routines? I would love it if you shared in the comments so we can help others with some ideas!
Until next time!
Yours in health and wellness,
Francine Alleyne (RHNP™)
Holistic Nutritionist, Registered Holistic Nutrition Practitioner™
DISCLAIMER: Please consult your healthcare practitioner if you are experiencing any symptoms. I am not a doctor. This post and anything else you find on this website is intended for informational, educational and self-empowerment purposes ONLY and is not intended to treat or diagnose any condition or disease.