The importance of taking care of yourself
I was out walking around my neighborhood on a beautiful, sunny October day. The sky was clear and blue and the trees looked as though they were on fire with color. I felt so good to be outside. While on my walk, I ran into a friend as she was getting out of her car. She is a person who has endured many challenges throughout her life, including the recent loss of a very dear friend. She told me she is just now learning how to take care of herself. I am not a very good judge of age, but I am guessing she is around 60. As is the case with many women, she was focused on caring for her husband, children, home, parents and friends. She admitted not really knowing what it meant to “take care of yourself” for most of her life. Recently, she discovered it meant taking care of your body by eating well, exercising, making and keeping preventive health care appointments, taking care of your soul by doing what you love (She loves gardening.) and taking care of your mind by feeding it beautiful thoughts about yourself and letting go of negativity.
After our conversation, I continued on my walk and thought about how many of us are guilty of not caring for ourselves. Many of us simply don’t know how. This is especially true when we are faced with a life altering change. We become caught up in the tasks at hand and the needs of those depending upon us. There appears to be little time to worry about our annual physical or what feeds our soul and makes us happy. This was true in my case. Following my husband’s death, I was so focused on my children, keeping the house in order and creating a new sense of “normal,” I never thought about myself. I paid the price for this neglect with fatigue, aches and pains in my shoulders, feet and stomach. My body and soul were talking to me, but I was not listening.
A little over five years later, I look back and see clearly the error of my ways. AS the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. I encourage you, especially if you have suffered a loss or life altering change, to honor yourself by taking good care of yourself. Take care of your body. Do something that feeds your soul. Have fun. Remember fun? Yes. It is ok to have fun! Laughter IS good medicine. Fill your mind with positive thoughts. By all means, give yourself a break. Contrary to what you may be feeling, the world will continue to spin on its axis even if you sit down and relax for 10 minutes. You and everyone who depends on you will be happier and healthier.