I read a book last year called “Extreme Self Care” by Cheryl Richardson. I thought I took good care of myself until I read it. The hardest part about self care is it often feels self indulgent. Especially for women. We spend so much time as women taking care of other people. Our children, our parents, everyone, but ourselves. It is ok to take care of yourself.
Taking care is really a reflection of how much you love yourself. If you care about yourself it’s not selfish to put yourself first. It’s the most important thing when you have an illness. You have to be careful how you use your energy. If you use too much energy, you may be in pain, or end up in the hospital. I once went into crisis because I went to lunch and walked around the mall. Seriously. I met a friend when I did not feel well. We ate lunch at the mall and then I walked a short distance and when I got home I was in such pain. The only reason I went to lunch was because I was recuperating and (I had cabin fever) I had been home for weeks. I wanted to see my friend. I felt good, but I wasn’t ready for lunch. I felt good and yet, I ended up at the infusion clinic for two days in a row.
I took care of myself. The problem is not me. I know that sounds delusional, the problem is explaining to healthy people how you feel. They don’t often understand why you can’t go to lunch. Lunch is not taxing. Its not difficult. Yet when you are ill it’s the hardest thing. Driving yourself, not taking a pain pill so you can drive, being achy. We spend our whole lives doing everything when we feel bad, so sometimes it hard to differentiate what’s too much to do. For me that day lunch was too much. I now ask my friends to bring lunch and visit me at home for an hour. I still have people over and I don’t have to go anywhere. I get to visit without being exhausted. This is the key to caring for yourself. Make adjustments to make you happy. If your friends want to see you have them over. I had a friend over recently and served hot tea and cookies, while I wore a warm up suit, I would have felt comfortable in my pajamas. If this person is a true friend they will understand your limitations.
I have since sent at email to several friends explaining how my energy level is. Here is a copy of the best explanation I have
Once I sent this out–everyone understood. I even tell my husband. I don’t have the spoons to cook dinner, bring home take out.
[blockquote style=”1″]Taking care of yourself means learning to say no to others, eating well, being strong, and staying as healthy as you can, for as long as you can.[/blockquote]
Start eating well, exercise to stay strong, drink lots of water to stay hydrated, and do something you enjoy. Find a hobby to occupy your time when you are ill. You need something that is not to taxing to do when you don’t feel well. I read or knit. I like puzzles also. Sometimes like today I write an article. Find a hobby you can do when you don’t have energy. Something you can do at the doctors office or in the hospital. It needs to be portable. I get joy in knitting something when I feel awful. I feel that I am being productive in between bouts of sleep.
[blockquote style=”1″]Try self care, then try extreme self care. It will change your life, and if anyone tells you it’s selfish, they are trying to push their agenda on you. It’s not selfish to take care of yourself it may save your health. No means no. Take care of yourself.[/blockquote]
What are the ways you practice self care?