It is a well-known fact that women are caretakers by nature. But in order to nurture others, we need to maintain our own well-being. While we’re busy caring for others, let’s not forget to be kind to ourselves.
Most of us give generously of our time and energy to family members, friends, or church members – and often ignore our own needs. It may not be until we become physically or mentally exhausted that we wake up and pay attention to our own needs. At that point we remember the wisdom of the flight attendant: Put on your oxygen mask first, and then you’ll be able to help others.
Before you can take care of anyone else, you need to be able to care for yourself. Many women are “jugglers” and are really good at it, but often their own well-being is the ball that’s dropped. So do take time to treat yourself to the good things of life, playing with your children or grandchildren, window-shopping or even purchasing something you really want. On occasion you can even spoil yourself with a forbidden sweet dessert or some other form of reward for managing to survive another day such as a facial or a massage. You are also absolutely entitled to some “me time” such as having your nails/hair done once a month. It may be hard to swing this luxury in terms of time or finances, but you are worth it, and the health and satisfaction of your family in many ways depends upon it.
Sometimes illness, colds, flu are a relatively benign warning that we have been under too much stress, and that we should be grateful to our body for alerting us to that. Remembering this when someone is ill helps me care better for myself in ways that I never would have considered. I try to never consider myself a victim anymore; only someone who has been warned and needs to change her behavior.
I recommend doing a positive “gratefulness” meditation every night. To do this, you just sit quietly and allow yourself to feel the sentiment of gratefulness for all the blessings in life. You can avoid the negative energy of feeling a victim by generating a positive force of gratitude. This will replenish your mind and body with the strength to take care of yourself and others for whom you have responsibility.
Tomorrow I’m going for my mammogram. I’ve resolved to cut my food portion size, choose healthy foods, make sure I’m drinking more water, and try to get 8 hours of sleep at night through this busy stressful season.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday I took time to walk every day. When I walk alone, I admire God’s trees, the flowers, the sky. I’m walking partly because I realize I need to stay in shape, but I don’t remind myself of that when I walk. Rather, I focus on positive “I can do this” thoughts. I don’t want my happiness to be contingent on numbers on a scale, but on what I accomplished towards making myself a better person and the world a better place today.
I have found that the key component to adhering to a proper eating plan and getting in exercise is planning. I know, not very exciting. But it works! If I have meals planned ahead, then I am less likely to nibble mindlessly. It also helps to have meals prepared ahead whenever possible. Also, regular meals tends to reduce the temptation to stray from my eating plan. This takes some time to do, but if you are wanting to improve your overall health, it’s worth the time it takes. And remember, good will to yourself translates into good will to your fellow human beings.