Practice What I Preach: Self-Care & Mindfulness
If you know me either in a personal or professional way, you know that I am a big advocate of practicing self-care and mindfulness. But, like so many others, I often fail at practicing what I preach. I struggle sometimes to stop, take a moment to reflect, and make time for my own needs. I want to share with you how so many of us can get caught up in the cycle of every daily routine and how to move on from that so we can make time for self-care.
My goal is to help you remember and evaluate the times you’ve had to say “enough is enough,” and be forced into taking some time for self-care to fix a problem, rather than using it as an everyday, preventative tool. I’ll empower you realize that you don’t have to wait until you have no other choice but to take care of yourself, but should view self-care as preventative, as opposed to only a solution to your problems. I want you, right now, to say that you deserve to take care of yourself and commit to it. (See my other blog post on the relationship between self-esteem and self-care). You can do it, and I am here to help.
Putting Off Your Own Emotional Needs
So let me tell you a little story (maybe you can relate). Everyone in your family gets sick at the same time – your kids and spouse. You were the last one to be attacked by these common viruses, which are more common when you have little kids. You knew that eventually you would get sick too, so you take extra vitamins, supplements, water, etc. As everyone starts to feel better and finishes their doses of antibiotics or other meds, you are getting worse and it seems to last forever. But regardless of how you physically feel, you mentally and emotionally feel fine, so you keep doing your thing: going to work out, working, spending time with your kids (who by the way are feeling better and have so much energy, so you try and try to keep up), taking care of household chores, etc. At this point you’re probably doing more than you should be doing, but you think that you don’t have time for self-care right now and don’t make it a priority. But, as you get physically worse and worse, your emotional and mental health starts to take a toll. You start feeling sad and sorry for yourself. Everything seems out of control and catastrophic. (Does any of this sound familiar?) As you are caught in that cycle of negative thinking, you make yourself both emotionally and physically sicker to the point that you can’t sleep. Finally, you concede and go to the doctor because you just have no other option. You have a serious throat infection, but just to be sure you are treated for the flu too, because apparently the test is not accurate and it’s better to be safe than sorry… but then you have to deal with the side effects of the treatment. If only you had taken better care of yourself on day one of your illness.
We’ve all been in this situation. Waiting until the last minute to take care of our own needs, only making things worse and drawn out. Sacrificing your happiness and well-being is NEVER the correct choice. When we don’t make our own needs a priority, we aren’t able to effectively care for others. Whether it’s a physical or mental ailment, it’s a sign we not STOP, EVALUATE, and CHANGE what’s not working. Only after you’ve listened to your body, trusted your instincts, asked for and accepted help, and taken the time you need to heal, can you keep going. Self-care is most effective when practiced all the time, not just when you need it most. Don’t wait until things are at their worst. Avoid catastrophe and burnout. If you need to nap, watch tv, relax, or read, do it. Don’t feel bad like you’re being lazy. It’s your self-care and preventing things from getting worse. It’s more respectful to yourself and others to take it easy when you start to feel sick, rather than ignore the symptoms and push, push, push to the last minute and then collapse. When you allow yourself to slow down and heal, you’ll notice that catastrophic mindset melting away and making room for peace and happiness.
Healthy Bodies, Minds, & Hearts
Our bodies are intertwined with our minds and hearts, so when one of those weakens, it takes the others down with it. As you read this, I want you to ask yourself how many times you’ve probably felt that stopping and making time for self-care wasn’t an option, only to find out it created more problems? This happens not only when we get physically sick, but also when we engage in patterns of behavior that make us stressed and unhappy. We do a lot of things based on instinct and habit, rather than analyzing, being mindful, and listening to our inner wisdom and bodies. Notice how much you use your body everyday – treasure it and be mindful of the cues your body gives you. Does something hurt? Feel sore? Feel a little off? Listen to what it’s saying and treat it before it gets worse. When we lose our physical functioning, we end up feeling sad, depressed, and realize that we’ve been taking our bodies and good health for granted.
If you are still struggling with finding happiness, or can’t seem to prioritize your needs and emotional well-being, know that you are not alone and I am here for you. Through mental health counseling, I will empower you so you can get back on track to being the best version of yourself. If you live in or near Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, contact me today to schedule a therapy appointment. I also offer HIPAA compliant remote therapy.