Self care is not a luxury. It’s not something we should occasionally allow ourselves to indulge in. To be honest, self care is kind of boring, and that’s why it’s a discipline. It takes discipline to do the things that are good for us. And it takes discipline to make yourself a priority and take responsibility for your own well-being, especially when you have others to consider.
It requires you to be tough, to have an understanding of your priorities in life, and to respect both yourself and the people you choose to spend your life with.
I know firsthand just how much damage you can do to your health when you don’t pay attention to the little things. A few years ago I went through some personal trauma and suffered from high levels of stress and chronic lack of sleep. I ignored these issues for so long that the chronic stress and sleep deprivation put me on the pre-diabetic scale, even though I had no family history of diabetes, I didn’t eat a lot of sugar, I exercised regularly and I had a good muscle % (all of which are risk factors for diabetes). My mental health suffered and I lived in a constant state of anxiety, something I hadn’t suffered from before.
Self care is about getting enough sleep regularly, it’s caring enough about what you put into you and your family’s mouth, it’s about making time to exercise, or making movement part of your family time. It’s not something you do once in a while when you ‘find time’. It’s important to make time every day, every week, every month. It’s taking care of yourself in a way that doesn’t require you to ‘indulge’ to restore balance. It’s making the commitment to stay healthy and balanced as a regular practice.
When you truly care for yourself, you have the energy to take care of others joyfully.