It’s Time To Take Care of Yourself
By: Dr. Peggy Malone
Last week we talked about ‘The Disease to Please’ and how it is affecting your health and your life.
I gave you some really great tips on how to cure yourself of this ‘disease’ and how to say ‘No’.
Today we will move into the next step in your journey to cure the ‘Disease to Please’ which is to actually take some time to take care of yourself.
We have established that you have been over committing and never saying ‘No’ and running around like a headless chicken.
So with all of this taking care of everyone else, when is the last time you took even 5 minutes to do something special just for yourself?
When I encourage women to take some time for themselves or to something special just for them, they usually reply with…
“Yeah, I should do that but I’ve got to _______________”
Fill in the blank with what ever people pleasing, taking care of someone else activity/chore/commitment that is the latest on their list. (And of course it is very important, and very pressing and needs to be taken care of immediately!!)
Are you someone that leaves yourself to last? Someone that never takes time for your needs?
I would guess that the answer to these questions is yes.
Here is your first assignment for self care:
Schedule Time For Yourself
I know that you have a busy schedule filled with work commitments and your kids piano lessons and your brother’s birthday party and taking your mom to the doctor and scheduling appointments for your husband etc etc etc.
I’m pretty sure that you have all of these things written down (or electronically inputted) in your calendar.
In order to take time for yourself you must make a commitment to yourself.
Write that commitment down in your calendar as an appointment with yourself and take it as seriously as you would an important business meeting or doctor’s appointment.
Start with 5 minutes
I know that you believe that there is no time for you to take care of yourself in this busy hustle bustle people pleasing world that you live in.
Start small. Self care is a muscle that needs to be exercised; a habit that needs to be developed. So be gentle as you slowly start to add this new habit into your schedule and into your life.
Right now… look at your calendar and find 5 minutes in 3 days over the next week. Call the 5 minutes ‘Self Care’ and schedule it in.
When it is time for this appointment with yourself, close a door or sit in your car or any private space. Close your eyes and just be still and silent all by yourself for 5 minutes.
Focus on your breath and your body and leave your list of things to do outside the space in your head for those precious 5 minutes.
Use this opportunity to focus on what YOU want and what YOU need.
You have a responsibility to yourself to take care of your needs
Many women feel that they are being selfish by taking time for themselves. They feel GUILT when they take the focus off of everyone around them and focus on themselves.
Guilt is the most common obstacle to taking care of yourself.
Guilt is a dangerous illusion. There are languages that don’t even have a word for guilt because it does no good. It is, in my opinion, a useless emotion that just makes you feel bad.
Regret is different than guilt. If you have made a bad choice and you regret the choice, acknowledge it and choose to make a better choice next time.
Guilt just eats you up and steals your power.
So take guilt out of the equation. Understand that taking time for yourself is actually the opposite of selfish. You have a responsibility to yourself to take care of your needs so that you will be rested, relaxed and able to then help those around you.
You will feel some guilt when you are working toward beating the ‘Disease to Please’. You will get some resistance from yourself at the beginning as you make some changes and take time for self care.
So increase your awareness of what that feels like for you and when guilt shows up because you are taking time for yourself… recognize it as a sign that you are on the right track to doing something important for yourself.
With practice and time, you will be able to set guilt aside because it doesn’t serve you.
Some Examples of Things You Can Do For Self Care
- Sit still in quiet
- Get a massage
- Get a manicure or a pedicure
- Get a facial
- Take a bath
- Sleep more
- Take yourself out for a coffee. Sit by yourself, enjoy your coffee and watch the world go by or read the paper or your favourite magazine.
Set boundaries to help you take care of your needs
To help strengthen your personal boundaries and the habit of staying firm on them, consider having a space in your home or in your work environment that is yours alone and if anyone else wants to come into that space, they need to get your permission.
This is setting a boundary physically to help you to take care of yourself similar to the emotional boundaries we talked about last week when you practice saying ‘NO’.
I mentioned that you may get some resistance from yourself as you go through this process. As you make changes, you may also find that you get some resistance from others in your close circle. This could be family, friends or co-workers (or all of the above).
Tell them that your priorities have changed and you are taking care of your needs.
You don’t need to tell them anything else… remember that there is no need to explain, justify or defend.
When you put yourself first, you will then be fully available to others without resentment or anger.
Take some time for you.
You need it. Your body will thank you. You are worth it 🙂
Dr. Peggy Malone is a Chiropractor and an Athlete who helps other athletes to overcome injury and get back to their sport. Her weekly Television Series ‘Living Well” inspires people from all walks of life to take control of their health to be as happy and as healthy as they can be.
A former varsity Basketball and Rugby player, she has since entered the world of endurance athletics where she has completed 2 Ironman Triathlons, 3 Marathons, several Half Marathons and many other Triathlons, Road Races and Off-Road Adventure races of varying distances.
Her own athletic endeavors and injuries have given her valuable insight into working with athletes in her practice for both the care of injuries as well as for the improvement of athletic performance.