Self Care -- sounds Self-Ish, doesn't it? Apparently it is a buzz word amongst the Millennials.
I am neither -- selfish or a millennial.
However, I am a boomer and a female and that means that I was raised with a 50's sit-com mindset -- like vacuuming in heels and pearls.
I was raised by a mother who believed the house should be clean -- all the time -- and the meals should be cooked -- from scratch -- by her and that she could solve everybody's problems. My mother was a woman who was the consummate caretaker.
She took care of everybody but herself.
Even though I became a wife and mother in the 70's, my mother's beliefs were firmly imbedded in my brain.
I became a caretaker.
I became last.
My parents have gone on to glory and my children have grown up and have families of their own.
Here I am realizing that I should be taking better care of myself.
Physically, yes, but emotionally and spiritually as well. Changes need to be made.
I am trying to form a few new habits. New habits are hard to forge -- old habits are hard to break. It is a conundrum.
I have been following the "moderation" movement life plan for eating. I have been using "Thin Within" as a guide. Basically you listen to your body, eat when you are hungry, don't eat when you aren't, and stop when you are comfortable, not full. Sounds simple. It is. But I got the flu and that sort of messed me up and I am trying to get back into the swing. This method sort of makes you feel guilty -- like if you aren't counting something, or weighing or measuring stuff or keeping a diet journal you must be cheating. But, you aren't. You are just being real, normal (yes, there really is a normal), and eating like we used to when were --you know -- kids. The whole premise is to listen to your body.
After eating this way for a bit I have learned to pay attention to what my body is telling me. My body doesn't like dairy products. It upsets my stomach in ways you don't want to know. If I use milk, like on cereal, I use Lactaid but sparingly. My body also doesn't like sugar. That is the tough one and the struggle is real. I have learned that if my meals are roughly 1/3 protein, 1/3 carb and 1/3 fat, my body is pretty happy. I try to include each of these in each meal.
Eating isn't the only way to listen to your body.
I am also listening to my memories. I would love to be thin -- really thin -- and I was at one time when I dieted myself into a waif. But that wasn't real. I am not a waif. I am not real tall, I am square with a thicker, high waist. I have always been that way. I have spent too many years trying to be something I am not -- I can't lower that waist no matter what I do so I think I need to be working on acceptance.
I was also raised to believe that you couldn't "play" until your "work" was done -- homework, chores, housework later on -- so as a result -- I never get to "play". That is changing. Let's face it, the housework is never finished so I am going to change my attitude and my expectation -- after all, it isn't the 50's anymore! So, there are certain things I do on a daily basis -- some laundry, the dishes, and I cook one meal a day. I am abandoning the idea that I have to vacuum and dust the whole house in a day. My knee won't let me do that so I am doing a certain amount each day and then that is all. I can start over again the next day and continue on. After all -- housework never really gets done, right?
And I will allow myself to "play" everyday, if just for a half hour.
I have been listening to my body in regards to sleep too. I used to take a nap and now I don't. I am suffering for that. I start falling asleep about 8:30 every night. I sleep in the chair until I get up and go to bed. Clearly my body needs sleep. So, I will be going to bed earlier from now on.
Again, listening to my body.
Another thing that is happening to me is that I am fraught with anxiety. I am not sure why. I never used to be but in the last six months I have been really miserable with anxiety. Hopefully having play time and addressing my sleep issues with help the anxiety issue.
However, I think that in order to really combat the anxiety I need to look at my spiritual life. I have made a couple of changes --simple changes but something I am having to concentrate on and make time for. I always pray at night when I go to bed. I don't always make it through the whole prayer because of my sleep issues but I do start out my night that way. Now I have been making the effort to start my day the same way -- before I bound out of bed (I don't really "bound" anymore, creak, creep and crawl is more like it) I like to open my eyes and give thanks for another day. Nothing long, nothing involved, just a thank you. I think it sets the tone for the day.
I have also downloaded a different Bible version on my Kindle -- it is called the Christian Standard Bible and it is written in plain English. I am reading a chapter or two a day. I really believe that getting into the Word will help my anxiety. I am not sure that it is the best translation but I am reading it and that is the point.
So, what does self care mean to you? Spas? A good cup of coffee?
Yes, I agree, those things are good ways to care for yourself but I think the best thing is to examine how you are spending your time -- are you spending any of it on yourself? If not, maybe changes should be made -- if you don't take care of yourself, you can't take care of anybody else.
Play? Play is good for mental health. Everybody needs to play -- whether it is reading a book or doing a craft or baking a pie -- spend some time doing something that gives you joy.
Physical awareness? We should all take the time to be aware of ourselves, what our bodies and minds need. We take care of everybody else's physical needs -- why not our own.
Spiritual needs? I believe we all have spiritual needs that are just as fundamental to our well being as what we eat. I honestly believe that in order to be a strong, functional member of society, we need to be in touch with our spiritual selves. Find a way, find the time, just do it.
So, as you can see, I have been giving a bit of thought about the self-care concept and I believe this is something we can probably all learn more about and improve areas of our life but we can't wait for other's to do it for us -- this is all about us.
So, just do it.