I enjoyed lunch with a new friend recently, a courageously authentic woman who left her husband, a woman who grew tired of enabling his unhealthy habits. She felt she would “die a slow death if (she) didn’t leave.” And 6 months later, she still wrestles with the question, “Was it selfish to put herself first?” It seems the message that she is being selfish comes not from within as much as from others.
Even at the time she made the decision to leave, I sensed she still needed to hear this was the right choice. I applauded her decision in making this difficult, but healthy SELF-preserving, SELF-nurturing choice.
I found myself thinking how I’ve noticed women tend to put the needs of others well before their own, without even realizing this is happening. Some friends have been uncomfortable with my direct questions. Others have thanked me.
So, if you will, let’s have lunch together. I hope to stir future conversations with your friends. And stir up some questions only you can answer.
Do you often give more of your SELF than feels healthy, or appreciated? Are you always “on”? Are you always on the go? Do you find yourself exhausted at the end of each day? Are you always tackling a never-ending “to-do” list? If you answered yes, don’t be discouraged and please consider reading further.
Do you regularly put yourself on that list? On top of that list? Do you even put your SELF on that list? Do you make time to slow down and care for your SELF? Do you recognize when you’re stressed out? Do you take conscious deep breaths? If you answered no, please see this as an opportunity to make life-altering changes. See this as a new day, a new path that can gently lead you toward caring for your SELF.
Please consider making a list of ways to nurture and care for your SELF. Put it on your refrigerator. Tape it to your computer. Consider committing to one thing each day that is only for you; one thing that nurtures your soul; one thing that feeds your SELF. Perhaps you will commit to adding one healthy loving act to your “to do” list each week that nurtures and cares for your SELF.
The time is now. And, only you can care for your SELF. Only you. Nobody else. Only you. The time is now. Right now. Put down the paper, grab a pen and paper and start writing. Your health depends on it. Perhaps you will start small.
Eat something healthy.
Drink more water.
Move your body.
Pamper your feet.
Stretch your muscles.
Enjoy a massage.
Perhaps you will notice more often when you are not at ease, doing something about it long before dis-ease settles into your being. Perhaps you will choose to DE-stress your SELF out, long before you stress everyone around you out. Perhaps you will find yourself taking deep breaths, long before other people remind you to chill out.
And if you don’t provide SELF care, how much can you really provide for others? We can only give away that which we have to give. When we run on fumes, we only have fumes to give. When we have recharged our batteries through SELF care, when our cups runneth over, when our gas tank is full, we have so much more to give to others.
SELF care is a vital element in a healthy, balanced woman’s life. Nobody else can do it for you. Mandy Hale said, “It is not selfish to love your SELF, take care of your SELF, and to make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary.”
Kristine McPeak is a spiritual, outgoing introvert who loves being outdoors! She helps people regain their balance as a physical therapist assistant, and practices Healing Touch and Emotional Freedom Technique out of her Marquette office. Look for PeaceShine on Facebook, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 906-869-4953.
This article was reprinted with permission from the Fall 2013 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, copyright 2013. All rights reserved.