This month I am discussing Self-Care and how it is important in our lives. Self-Care is essential for our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. We need to be healthy so that we can do the things that we need to do every day. And the first person that you need to look at taking care of is yourself. One may ask “Isn’t self-care being selfish?” No, it is not. And let me tell you why it isn’t. In our lives we are not only responsible for ourselves, but we have multiple responsibilities to others as well. Whether it is parenting, our professions, or our hobbies; we wear multiple hats in this journey we call life. But the question remains… “how are we able to do take care of what we need to for others if we are not taking care of ourselves?”
I wanted to tell you a little of my personal story and why self-care is so important. You see, not too long ago, I was hospitalized for over a month. And the bad part about all of this was the fact that I had been warned by my doctors prior to my hospitalization that I needed to take better care of myself. My lack of self-care put an enormous amount of stress on my body.
I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a cousin, and a friend. Each hat that I wear require a lot from me. I am quite sure you can relate. And did I mention that my husband is in the military? There has been plenty of times where I had to “run the house” all by myself. That meant: getting the boys ready for school, going to work, paying the bills, picking the kids up from school, taking them to activities, going to their performances, cheering in the stands for all the sports and game functions, helping my parents, just trying to be there for everyone. I would wake up in the mornings and maybe eat breakfast. Some days I would stop by somewhere and get a biscuit or grab a cereal bar when I was heading out the door. I always ate out for lunch and the snacks during the day usually were not all that healthy.
Work was very demanding and required me to travel to over 14 different counties. Hitting the clock and heading home to pick up the kids was next on the list. Dinner needed to be cooked and the boys either had track practice, guitar lessons, soccer games, etc. Once we would get back to the house, there was the nighttime routine. The y had to get homework, take baths, get clothes out for the morning, and go to bed. After they were asleep, I was left to finish my own homework (working on another degree), laundry, clean the kitchen, and whatever else that needed to be done. So, a lot of times sleep wouldn’t find me until 12am or 1am in the morning. And I was back up to repeat this 5 day a week cycle in 5/6 hours. One may say “well, at least you had the weekends to rest.” Weekends were used to catch up on what I didn’t get to finish through the week. So where was rest and relaxation suppose to find me?
Can you imagine the amount of stress and strain that I put on my body? I wasn’t eating right. Quick sugar fits and fast foods made me gain weight and I didn’t have any energy at all. I started experiencing headaches, body aches, and pains. It appears I would catch colds and sinus infections all the time. I would become anxious and sometime irritated. But, regardless of how I felt I would just continue to keep pushing on. I mean, things had to get done regardless of how I felt.
My doctor told me that I was putting a lot of stress on my body because I wasn’t’ taking care of myself. His exact words were “Shica, the speed limit is 55mph and you are going over it. If you don’t slow down and get a hold of your life and start taking better care of yourself; who’s going to be here to take care of your boys?” My doctor took me out of work for a while for me to focus on taking care of myself mentally, physically, and emotionally. It was much needed.
Stress has numerous affects on the body. The American Medical Association has noted that stress us the basic cause of more than 60% of all human illness and disease. Below is a list of how stress can affect your body:
Headaches, dizziness, anxiety, irritability, & anger, panic disorders
Grinding teeth and tension in the jaw
Increased heart rate, strokes, heart disease, hypertension,
Digestive Disease Disorders, upset stomach, abdominal pain, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
Decreased Sex Drive
Weight gain and obesity
Muscle fatigue, Fibromyalgia
Stress was the major breakdown for me. It’s effects on my body was an eye opener. It made me realize the importance of Self-Care. Self-Care is now implemented into my everyday life. And I can tell the difference!!! It’s such a wonderful feeling!!! I wanted to share with you a few things that I have done to implement Self-Care in my life. I think that these may help you as well. I’d love for you to try them and let me know 😊
Make a plan for your day.
Do one thing at a time and designate a specific time for it.
Make certain tasks become your mediation time. (Cooking is relaxation for me. I can get lost in the kitchen)
Learn good coping mechanisms.