“Sometimes you look straight into the tired eyes of a woman staring at you in the mirror, telling her that she deserves the best kind of love, the best kind of life, and tells her everything. You may have to concentrate on giving again. ”~ SC Lurie
Self-care. An important concept that has become a buzzword. what do you mean? The answer is … it’s up to you. Google and you will find lists, articles, and suggestions for self-care tasks. These can serve as inspiration, but self-care is unique to you.
I am working on suicide prevention and promoting mental health. I often talk about self-care. I encourage others to take regular self-care. I ask them to make a list of self-care tasks that make sense to them. You would imagine me becoming a self-care expert. Am I? no. But I’m working on it. And I’m much better than before.
How did you get better? I started hard self-care.
What is the difference between easy self-care and difficult self-care?
Easy self-care for me is like a bath or shower. Hiking with family on weekends. Send a text message to your sister about your daily frustration. Bake sourdough. Meditation practice.
Simple self-care is about filling a bucket, making time without excuses, and feeling good at the moment.
This is the first type of self-care I focused on when I was feeling burnout. Most in their twenties didn’t realize they were busy and tired, doing multiple jobs at once, filling their unpaid time with volunteer work, meeting friends, and going out. I was known for using the “sleep when I die” mantra.
When my thirties hit, the mantra began to feel too real.
The first child was 30 years old and the second child was 34 years old, and the go-go-go lifestyle began to catch up with me. Working full-time, volunteering, meeting friends, never saying no, and staying busy has hit me differently than my partner, who took turns working with my two kids.
I was always tired. Tired of not touching sleep. I didn’t know where to find the energy to do my daily routine before bedtime, so I was tired of sobbing at the dinner table. I was so tired that I begged the doctor for a test and wanted him to find something wrong so that I could fix whatever was sucking my energy.
I had streptococcal pharyngitis every other month. I had a stomach problem. I was burned out and I wasn’t feeling well. I was so tired that I didn’t have the energy for the kids at the end of work. Exhausted as if the amount of hot shower and meditation had not been modified.
I consulted a doctor several times in eight years and explained my symptoms, but turned my back on the rationale for having a young child. I have to expect to get tired.
At some point, I decided that this was unacceptable. I declared 2019 my own year of health and booked an appointment with a naturopathic doctor. In my first promise, she asked me to rate my energy level on an average of 1 to 10 daily.
I told her that my energy level was 2 on average, but it could be 3 on a good day.
She looked at me in shock and stated, “Are you two on average every day?”
of course. “
She told me, “Honey, this isn’t normal.”
I suddenly shed tears. I was seen and felt not ignored. After fast-forwarding to several blood tests, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. This explained many of the symptoms I was struggling with.
Here, hard self-care began. Everything that helped keep the bucket full and feel good, such as hot baths, meditation, and how to bake sourdough, was important. But in the long run, it’s where I’ve shifted to feeling better, having energy for my family, and the self-care (difficulty) needed to live life rather than survive.
Knowing that you can change the way you care for yourself has empowered you. I finally have some control over my feelings. And by changing our perspective to see this as part of self-care, we were able to prioritize difficult things.
Advocating for healthcare providers, changing diet and exercise methods, changing rest and body charging methods, setting boundaries, choosing how to use energy-these are the choices you need to change your symptoms and feel better. But they don’t come easily for me. Still, they are all part of my own self-care. If I wanted to feel better, I had to start these things. And if you want to keep feeling better, keep doing it.
And I feel better. I am currently taking thyroid medicine. I know that dairy products make me feel sick. You can feel the time to enter Hashimoto’s flare and know when you need to rest more.
I know what exercises help me and what makes me sick.
Be honest with your partner when you need to get more out of it so you can rest.
We know the difference between fatigue and fatigue and can handle both feelings.
For the past three years, hard self-care has been worth the effort on how I feel overall.
Hard self-care will probably be what I’m always working on. As I practiced, some of the most difficult things became much easier.
I’m much more likely to claim health with my doctor than I was three years ago. I am much more confident in setting work boundaries with my time and abilities. I am much better at listening to my body and accepting the need for rest.
In terms of increasing productivity, I still have an internal discussion with myself (my trick is to write a “rest” on the to-do list, which makes rest productive rather than lazy. Helps to reconstruct as!), But the place I’m in now is very large, unlike just a few years ago.
When talking to others about self-care, encourage them to think about self-care that is easy for them and also about self-care that is more difficult for them. Both are important and necessary to make sure you respect yourself.
Let’s start today.
1. Consider one of the simple self-care tasks you can perform now (or today). This will help fill the bucket and make you feel better or feel better at this moment.
2. Think about one difficult self-care task you want to undertake. It may be like making an appointment that you have postponed or considering how to set a difficult boundary for you. It can even be like drinking more water — it sounds easy, but it can be very difficult for some people.
3. Be kind to yourself. Please know that everyone’s journey is different. Things that are difficult for you may be easy for others, and vice versa. Self-care is personal and some of us have the privilege of prioritizing self-care in ways that no one else has.
It may not be easy, but when you’re on the to-do list, you’ll see how things start to change.