I feel moved to share with you a recent, personal story of the cost of neglecting one’s self care. We hear the message all the time and, as a holistic psychologist, I say it all the time to others: It’s so important to take care of yourself, especially if you are one who takes care of others (children, family members, clients/patients, friends, etc). And yet, this past winter, when I had a grueling schedule of working full-time and taking a 30-hour-per-week internship in chaplaincy, I was reminded how hard it is to live this premise when we feel so tired and over-booked with responsibilities. Although I did eat right and think positively and practice some self care (i.e. monthly massage), I also dropped my exercise routine as well as my meditation and I severely limited the renewing activity of time with friends/family and other nourishing habits. I heard myself saying the familiar refrain I hear from my clients, “I don’t have time.”
I paid a significant price for slipping, and received a reminder from The Universe that self care is not optional nor is it self-indulgent. It is a basic need.
The internship lasted 6 months. By the middle of the 4th month, I had developed tachycardia (very rapid heartbeat) and was emotionally and physically exhausted. There I stood in the health food store being told by the naturopathic doc just what I told others – “start taking better care of yourself or you will not be able to finish the program.” So, instead of spending time walking or meditating, I was running to doctor appointments, medical tests, drug stores, health food stores and massage therapists. Amazingly, I DID have the time for those appointments once the crisis hit! Thank heavens, I did finish the program. And, yet, a month later, while trying to slowly resume my walking routine, I fell and knocked myself out briefly!
The Universe was giving me a strong message. What was the message now?! I am trying to get healthy by walking! I meditated (since I had to stop walking for awhile as the exercise made the post-concussive headaches worse). Ahhhh. So, not only do I need to resume walking in order to heal, I need to resume meditating. Thus, in many similar “aha” moments, each step of the recovery from the tachycardia and post-concussive syndrome led me to re-create the many aspects of a healthy and balanced lifestyle I had let go of, and start living my Truth about the benefits of these healthy habits, giving myself permission to nurture myself, as well as reminding me of the cost of minimizing their import.
After only two months of following the recipe below, I am feeling invigorated, healthy, and full of joy and optimism! I have no symptoms of tachycardia and only minor reminders of the post-concussive syndrome. My life is again feeling fresh and exciting.
As much as a reminder to myself as for others, I share
The Recipe (for self care that I used in my recent recovery):
~ Healthy eating
~ Meditation/reflection time
~ Time with Nature & Beauty
~ Time with friends, family & pets
~ Massage/Body work
~ A personal retreat
~ Supplements to maintain health
~ Permission to relax & take time off
~ Nurturing my spiritual self
~ Re-connecting with my joys & dreams
~ Speaking my Truth
Do you need a renewing adventure? A retreat from your hectic life? A weekend of of pampering self care that embodies nearly all of the aspects of the above recipe? If you do, then check out the retreat Tracie Nichols and I have created just for you – a retreat to Deep Restoration.
Great reminder Teresa! I love your recipe. I’m going to print it out and hang it where I can see it daily.
Great idea, Tracie, I may need to remind myself, too!