I Gave Myself Permission to Practice Self Care
After 3 months straight of living in a hospital and frequent hospitalizations leading up to that, I found myself not feeling so great about how I looked and felt.
My husband became very sick last year from a genetic lung condition that he was born with called Cystic Fibrosis. He was hospitalized frequently as he became sicker and sicker, waiting to be listed for a double lung transplant that would come January 8th 2017 and that would be followed by a long recovery. We basically spent December 10th-March 7th in a hospital, with the exception of two days at home. The sicker he became, the less time I had to take care of myself. When he was inpatient, I usually stayed at the hospital with him 24/7. When we were home I juggled caring for him and our twin toddlers, while also working and running my business.
While the hospitals we were at didn't have horrible food, they also didn't have a ton of healthy choices either unless I wanted to resign myself to salad for lunch every day. Don't get my wrong, I can appreciate a good salad and salad bar, but I don't love it enough to eat it for one of my meals every day and I probably have less desire for salad when I'm a stressed and eating my feelings.
Exercise was also nonexistent in my world. If I'm truly honest, exercise had not been a part of my life for a very long time. When our twins joined our family, I lost my desire to invest the precious minutes I had for me each day to exercise, something I know many parents, particularly moms, can relate to. I took our twins and our dog for walks a few times a week if the weather was nice, but that is about as active as I got.
Fast forward to today. When my husband was discharged after this 3 month stay, I decided that I was ready to start taking care of me again. Our twins were still living out of state with my parents, and my husband was getting healthier and more independent. I returned to my eating plan of choice, nourishing my body with healthier foods and options, while not leaving myself feeling deprived.
I also decided to begin exercising again, but this time I did things differently than what I have done in the past. In the past when I jumped back into exercise I would feel like I had to kill myself to be healthy or lose weight, which led me to dread exercise. This time, I searched online for a trainer that I knew I had liked in the past. The more time I spent doing her workouts and learning about her philosophy regarding exercise, the more I appreciated her workouts.
She supports those who are making the time to exercise in doing what they are capable of, even if they can't do the all of the moves, and encourages them in taking the time for themselves. She repeatedly says that exercise, even hard work, can feel good and should be energizing, not draining. She feels that self care is a privilege that we should extend to ourselves. She is positive and encouraging and hopes to bring peace and motivation into the lives of those who do her workouts.
I'm not seeing drastic changes in my body, but I feel better. I feel healthier and I know I am focusing on getting healthier, mind, body and spirit. I feel good about using my sparse minutes for me each day, on me. I look forward to exercising and making healthy meals for myself.
For a long time I didn't feel like I had time to take care of me. The demands of life felt crushing and suffocating and time for self care felt like it might happen "some day", but that I couldn't give myself time and space to invest in me and doing so felt more like a burden than gift to me. I have now given myself permission to invest in me and invest in myself the way that feels good to me rather than adding more stress and pressure. In a way that isn't focused on transforming me into a different version of myself for the sake of others and how they view me, rather in a way that focuses on becoming a healthier version of myself for myself and my family, so that I can feel better, stronger and in turn be a better wife, mother, friend and business owner.
Give yourself permission to take care of you and practice self care that feels good to you. Remember that it isn't selfish and that it will many times positively impact the relationships in your life.