Giving and doing more for everyone else equaled being more noticed and loved. And really none of that was true. My family loved me just for being me. It didn’t matter what was for supper, if it was served on time etc. It was a vicious cycle that I had put myself in. Then I had something happen that physically made me stop and think. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Whoa – what? That was my first thought. Mostly what I knew about multiple sclerosis was that the people I knew who had it were in wheelchairs or bedridden. (Which isn’t true, but those are the ones that you know about, not all the others who are doing well with it!) But it has been a great learning journey for me. Stress, how much and how you handle it, is a big deal with MS, at least for me. So here are three things I’ve learned about self care through my journey.
- Naps are okay – It may not always be a nap, but a little down time or some meditation goes a long way. Learning to listen to my body and take the down time when I needed it was far better than pushing forward until I crashed and then having to recover from that.
- Find your outlet – Self-care involves finding what you love that helps relieve stress and taking the time to do it. It may be listening to or playing music. I love to play the piano and sing, though it is something I don’t do near often enough. Exercise, massage, reading and the list could go on and on. Finding out what you enjoy and what resonates with you and then do them! It doesn’t have to be long – just a few minutes is great!
- Learn to say no – I have found that when ever I say yes to something I’m saying no to something else. If I say yes to every service opportunity or business adventure that comes my way, that is telling my family and myself no. I have to keep a good balance. Only I know what that is for me and it’s different for everyone. But finding that out, accepting it and sticking to it is what helps me remain at my best.
Remember this, there is only one you! Take the best care of you that you can. I like to think of an old wagon wheel. I am the hub at the center. I have many spokes going out from me – those are my responsibilities (like family, job, church, etc.) I can only choose to focus on one of those spokes at a time, well maybe two because I’m pretty good at multitasking! But in reality there are at least 10 spokes on that wheel, and I can only do so much. So picture this, if I focus on the center, the hub (me) it gets bigger and when it does it takes in all the spokes at once, not just a few at a time. Can you picture it? I hope so! (If not, next time you see me ask me to draw you a picture of this concept!)
I hope through all these ramblings you have gotten several take aways and can implement them in your life. But if nothing else I hope you can mull over the thought that it is not selfish to take care of yourself! My motivation for taking care of myself now is so that hopefully my family will not have to be my care givers for a long time to come. My reality is MS is unpredictable but I will do everything in my power to help me be my best self for as long as possible and I know self care is one of the keys to doing that! Self care is what allows each of us to not only be healthier but also to better serve and bless the lives of those around us – an empty cup has nothing to give or the ability to sustain anyone!
Wonderfully well said. Blessings to you