Are you someone that forgets to take care of yourself? Is your life in constant "go-mode"? Are you suffering from a chronic illness or chronic stress? Most of us these days have busy, go-go lifestyles and we tend to save self care for very last on our "to-do" lists. I get it! Your busy and you don't think you have time to take care of yourself.
In fact, I used to be the same exact way, until that lifestyle caught up with me and then I slowly became sicker and sicker and about 4 years ago I was finally forced to resign from my job at the time. I had built my life around my work, my work schedule which included frequent travel, and the unreasonably high expectations I had set for myself in terms of life and career goals. I was at my computer very early every morning and sometimes late into the evening.
I was also very much a "people pleaser" and when I wasn't working, I would devote my energy to attending social events, hosting dinner parties, helping friends or family, and I even took on a second job. I was always running late or behind on everything I did because I ALWAYS over-committed myself. Sound familiar?!
BUT....I had a high tolerance for the pain and fatigue that I felt everyday and was driven to "power through" and "meet my life goals". I rarely had any downtime or quiet-time and if I did, I would sleep since my body was desperately screaming "REST WOMAN". I got sick easily and much more often than any of my friends in their early 30's.
Then about 6 years ago my lifetime of mild depression turned into severe depression, I suddenly had high anxiety about the smallest of things, and I noticed that my brain just wasn't able to focus and process things like it used to. I realized I couldn't do basic math in my head or remember my phone number any longer. I even got lost driving home from the grocery store one day in my own neighborhood!
I worked from home so in terms of flexibility, I had a lot, but it wasn't enough and my boss at the time urged me to take some time off for myself and figure out why I was sick and couldn't get well. At this point, I was in so much pain and so run down that could barley even walk around my house. My very stubborn self finally gave in and realized that my boss my indeed right - thank you Regi! I needed to take some time for MYSELF and figure out how to get well again!
About 6 months after I left work I was finally correctly diagnosed with the disease that had been plaguing me for the last 20 years - Late Stage Chronic Lyme Disease. I was also diagnosed with an "army" of other pathogens that had made their home in my body besides the Lyme. I was so sick I didn't leave my bed or couch most days and found it difficult to do basic things like take a shower. I was completely non-functional physically, mentally, and emotionally!
I often see this same commonality among those who are chronically ill, like my fellow Lyme Disease warriors. We are those who give the most to others and save no time or energy for ourselves. But if you don't slow down, self-access, re-prioritize, and make time for self-care, it won't be long before the constant stress continues to deplete your health and symptoms start to appear. Symptoms like insomnia, fatigue, pain, depression, and anxiety are all small "signs from our body" that something is out of balance or not working optimally. I IGNORED the signs and "powered through".
Don't be like me! Don't wait until you have a chronic, deadly illness to make time for self care in your life - trust me- not a fun way to go! These days my everyday life revolves around my self-care, it comes FIRST! I COME FIRST! Treatment for Lyme Disease the last 3 years has been very rigorous and the self-care portion is just as important, or MORE IMPORTANT, than the medications that I use to treat my illness. When I don't focus on self care, I find that treatment is more difficult, I don't make much progress, and my symptoms escalate quickly!
The truth is that our bodies need time to heal and rest EVERYDAY no matter if you are sick or not. And it's YOUR RESPONSIBILITY, not your doctor's, to make self-care a priority in your life. You are in charge of whether or not your body, mind, and spirit are in a "healing place" or a place or stress, pain, and fatigue!
So what do I mean by self-care? Focusing on self care means implementing small habits into your life EVERYDAY to give yourself the attention and care you need in order to lead a truly healthy and balanced life physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
The self-care practices below are simple to implement into your life and don't require a lot of time or money. Start by picking 1-2 things on this list and make them a priority in your day, EVERYDAY. Block off self-care time on your schedule if you have to - seriously!! Repeating these practices everyday will slowly make them habits in your life and that's when change, wellness, and more balance and peace starts to happen friends!
Even though everyday is still an uphill battle for me and treatment is very difficult, I have a much more balanced, present, and healthy mind and spirit than I ever have. I've found my place in the world and have purpose, reason, and hope to continue to fight my illness with courage everyday and make my life my own! I did this by focusing on self care and you can to. Check out this week's What's That?! Wednesday post below...
10 Self-Care Practices that Promote Healing & Relaxation:
Because I center my energy around self care first and my passions second, I'm leading a much more fulfilling present life than I was before and I'm helping others do the same which brings me enormous joy and motivates me to continue to focus on my own healing as well!
I hope you've found this long (sorry) blog helpful:) What are your daily self-care practices? I'd love to hear your feedback!
Billie Shellist, FDN-P
I practice functional nutrition, an approach that allows me to look at your entire health history and help you find the "root causes" of your chronic health complaints.
This cuts out the trial and error process and helps you get real symptom relief and resolution!
Food is medicine and knowledge is power -I hope you enjoy my anti-inflammatory recipes which are gluten, dairy, and soy free as well as very low grain and sugar.
If you'd like to heal from the root cause(s) of your chronic symptoms, try starting with a complimentary 15-minute consultation. Click here to request your free session.