For the past 27 years, I have focused all my attention on caring for others. Recently, I was given a stark reminder that life is fragile when I unexpectedly lost my dad, and less than two months later, my mom as well.
Given my lack of self-care, I must have thought I was invincible. I had let my health go and lost interest in things that I once loved to do. I found myself staying up at all hours of the night for “me time.”
At a recent doctor’s appointment, I was asked several questions about my health, including how long I was going to wait until I took it seriously. Wow! You could have knocked me over.
After several minutes, I answered, “Starting now, I guess.” She was pleased with my answer and listed several items I needed to take care of, with suggestions on my next steps.
Over the past few months, I have been busy doing things for myself. I hired a personal trainer to work on my strength, balance and stamina. I scheduled appointments for my well-woman checkup (this was years-long overdue), mammogram and dermatologist to look at some unexplained growths.
I have a digestive health appointment coming up in a few months and plan to keep that appointment as well. Long-term goals are now my priority.
I also started doing things I enjoy again. I recently attended a hockey game, went to dinner with a friend I had not seen in a while and completed a puzzle and a craft project. I find time for long showers and play mindless games on my phone. I am also present during family time.
The result: I am a happier and healthier person than I was when I started this journey.
I still stay up at night, but I have come to realize I enjoy the quiet and time for reflection.
If you have been putting yourself on the back burner, I encourage you to consider your own well-being. Self-care is not selfish, nor is it earned. Remember self-care can happen on a moment-to-moment basis. It does not have to be carved out. Take advantage of these moments, however brief they may be. You deserve it!