Self-Care. What is it? Why is it Important?
We've all heard the phrase 'you can't pour from an empty cup'. And if you've ever been on a plane, you know to place the oxygen mask on yourself before you help others. The reason self-care is so very important is just because of that. If you have people who count on you, you have to stay in good shape to continue to provide. In today's society we have glorified 'busy'. You look important if you list the number of things that you have to do. You might use 'busy' as excuse to be dismissive of friends and family, or to avoid intimacy with your significant other. Let's face it, most of us these days are BUSY. That's not a bad thing, ALL the time. So there are some things that you just can't avoid. Your kids really do need a lift to soccer practice. Your child really does need a parent present for dance classes, and let's face it, we all need to eat and homes need to be cleaned.
I lived life by a simple rule for years. It served me well, 'if it can be done in 5min or less, why put it off?'. But this no longer serves me. I have learned that this meant fast approaching burn out. Your body will let you know when enough is enough. Generally, we power through these signals, 'it went away', 'I don't have time for pain', 'I'll deal with that ache/cough/stiffness later'. Well folks, those are your yellow flags! Your body is sending you SLOW the F**k down signals. What follows those yellow flags when ignored? A head cold, the flu, a broken bone, a car accident, a pain that leaves you unable to move. These are not yellow flags, these are not small hints from the universe telling you to slow down, these are signals of your body now screaming THERES SOMETHING WRONG.
So what can we do? Your busy. You can't see past all the 'to do's'. You simply can not pear down the list. First of all, YES YOU CAN. Its your life, feel free to say no. Its not being dismissive of your friends to decline an invite for a night out. Rather, you can schedule a date in the future that will work for. A date when you know that you will be able to be relaxed and present. Pencil the date and protect it. Say NO to anything else that pops up on that day that might leave you too exhausted to enjoy the time with your friends. It's ok for your child to miss a soccer game....seriously, it is. Chances are they're not going to do that professionally. Its suppose to be fun, and part of that enjoyment should be for you too! Decide to take them to the next four games when you will be present and able to enjoy watching them.
What will you do with your sudden and random evening off? Well it's not going to be cleaning or cooking! It'll be whatever soothes your soul. For me, its yoga, meditation, snuggling with my parrot. For others maybe its baking, colouring books, reading, knitting, hitting the gym. If you haven't found your THING just yet - don't stress it. It takes years for some to figure it out. Try stuff! You are in a really cool position to try it all. Years ago, before I found yoga, I got my handgun licence. I use to shoot paper only (I'd sooner shoot my own foot then an animal) at a local firing range. I tried rock climbing, kick boxing, running, the gym. I tried writing (I still do that!). Sometimes if Im real stressed or feeling anxious, I crank (I mean LOUD) my favourite song and I dance. I put my hands over my head and I shake, I shake until I can't shake anymore, then I dance. Yup, you'll look ridiculous. You'll be embarrassed and you'll all alone. Its a great way to expel negative emotions, stress and anxiety.
Writing without thinking can provide some profound A HAA moments. Whatever it is, look for it and then protect it. Think you have something but you never get around to it? Might be that you don't have your 'thing' just yet. Cause when you find it, you'll find time for it. Say NO, protect yourself. Save a piece of yourself - don't give it all away, it'll leave you sick or broken.
This time of year is super busy for me as an Osteopath DO(MP). If your already busy, adding the busy Christmas season on top can break people, and I see daily, first-hand what stress can do to your body.
Take Care folks. Love yourself enough to take time for yourself, cause after all, you can't pour from an empty cup.
With love and thoughts of a peaceful holiday,
Dana Smith DO(MP) xoxox