Looking at ourselves and the world through the lens of the 21st century.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Self-care is the Best Care

Hello everyone! This week on the podcast, we are talking about what we do for self-care and why self-care is important. What is self-care? According to the Global Self-Care Federation, self-care is defined as “the practice of individuals looking after their own health using the knowledge and information available to them. It is a decision-making process that empowers individuals to look after their own health efficiently and conveniently, in collaboration with health and social care professionals as needed.” Simply, take care of yourself.

Why is this such a problem for people? As I’ve learned in life, not taking care of yourself will simply kill you. That’s the bottom line. My mother was great at taking care of things. My dad, grandma, and I (and her pets) were her world. She didn’t eat until everyone else ate. She spent endless hours making sure my grandmother ate, took her pills, watched her favorite shows, and took a bath to the point that she sometimes forgot to do those things for herself. My mom didn’t eat the things she wanted to eat; she always let everyone else choose. My mom didn’t do the activities she wanted to do; she went along with what I wanted to do. Her family and friends were her world, and when she wasn’t spending time with us, she was at work for endless hours (until she was forced to medically retire). My mom ran ragged worrying about other people and oftentimes neglected her health. As a result, she suffered a series of strokes at the age of 59 and eventually died of heart failure just shy of her 64th birthday.

I, too, was going down the same path as my mother. I had just turned 30 when my mother suffered her strokes, and I moved in with her and my grandmother to take care of them; it was like my life turned upside down. Before that, I lived alone and I had a routine. I woke up at a certain time every day, took my medication, ate at a certain time, followed a daily regime of skincare, and went to the gym regularly. I put all of my things in storage and started sleeping on my grandmother’s extremely uncomfortable couch when I wasn't sleeping in a chair at the hospital. Eventually, with the help of my cousins, I was able to move a bed into my grandmother’s sewing room, but this was after months of sleeping where and when I could, showering whenever I had the chance, and eating from the hospitality station next to my mom’s hospital room…which consisted mainly of yogurt and cheese sticks.

After my mom eventually got well enough that she didn’t need someone attending her 24/7, I was able to start working again. However, in my new place, it was hard to get back into the strict routine that I had. Unfortunately, I had let myself go. I gained weight, I started breaking out, and I became too comfortable with a sedentary life. As the years passed, I slowly slipped into putting others’ needs above my own and eventually began to lose myself in the needs of others. 

After my separation in 2020, I began to slowly pick up those routines again. I started a strict skincare routine of cleansing my face daily and applying shea butter lotion to the rough skin that had developed on my arms and legs. I started giving myself regular pedicures and manicures and wearing the right makeup that didn’t break me out. Other than that I started dressing for my body type and picking up old hobbies that I had lost over the years. Slowly, I began to feel satisfied with myself again. I started working my way out of the slump that I let myself fall into. Eventually, I started eating better as well. Is everything perfect? No. Do I need to go to the doctor more? Yes. Will I get back to the routine that I want in my life, taking years of time and effort? For sure. But, I have given myself a level ground to continue on because I can still be there for other people and maintain myself. That is the takeaway. You can be both. You do not have to be one or the other.

I want to hear from our readers. How do you practice self-care? Do you have any self-care tips that you want to share? Please comment below!

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