I went to the doctor the other day and had my bloodwork done. After a few days, the doctor called me back and told me that I had high cholesterol and that I needed to be taking better care of myself, specifically through exercise and eating well.
This was the perfect feedback for me to get. Because honestly, I’ve kind of lost taking care of myself in the midst of taking care of my kids. I am detailed as all heck when it comes to making sure my son has medication. But I’ve had an unopened bottle of fish oil supplements on my counter for months.
I make sure my son never misses a therapy appointment. But I’ve made excuses over and over again about how I don’t have time to go to the gym.
It’s so easy to lose yourself in the care of other people. It’s so easy to be so focused on the care/comfort/feeding of someone else. You forget that all of the things you do (and don’t do) have an impact on your own body. And that impact isn’t always good.
It was a significant eye-opening moment for me. It made me realize that doing everything I can for my son doesn’t make a damn bit of difference if I die of a heart attack when he’s still a teenager. So, in some sense taking care of him means taking care of myself.
But it’s more than that. I need to take care of me for me. I need to be the best that I can be. It’s tremendously difficult to think about yourself through this process. In a way, I am selfish with my time because I am selfishly hoarding time to take care of my kids.
But sometimes, it’s okay to be selfish just for yourself. I’ve realized that a 40-minute run on the weekends, away from my kids…is really, really healthy for me. My time working out is my time and that’s okay. Not only is it okay…it makes me a better father and husband.
So in short: Take that time for yourself. Take the time to do the things you need to do to be healthy…and that doesn’t just mean physical health. It means mental health, spiritual health, health in your relationships, etc.
It’s good for you and puts you in a better position to serve those who need you the most. You have to take self-care seriously and just do it.