Thursday, March 8, 2012

Self Care Is Not an Option

Now before I get you all mad at me, let me finish my thought: Self-care is not an option, it is a necessity. Yes, it is a necessity and no, it is not selfish!
Why is self-care not selfish? That's easy! When you take care of yourself you are better able to take care of others and when you can give yourself what you need, you are better able to give to others.
Why is self-care a necessity? Another easy one! You need to regularly practice self-care in order to keep your body (physical, mental and emotional) functioning at an optimal level.
I am constantly baffled by our readiness to take care of our cars and our unwillingness to take the time to take care of our bodies. Yes, a car is a necessity to get us from point A to point B, to go to work, to school, to see friends and family, and to just do all the things that need to get done every day. But guess what? A strong, healthy body is a necessity to get us through life. All of life! What use are cars if a person is not well enough to get in them and drive off when he/she feels like it. There is also one really huge difference between these two vehicles and it's this: You cannot trade in your body for a newer model (not yet anyway)! So shouldn't we be more invested in taking care of the body we do have? And shouldn't we make more of a commitment to a self-care routine that will give us the best chance for a healthy and happy life?
A self-care routine doesn't have to be exhausting (that would defeat the whole purpose), nor does it have to be time-consuming (our time is "consumed" enough as it is!).
Here, let's go back to the car for a minute (or two). Do you take your car in for regular maintenance? Do you have the oil changed regularly, the tires checked, the brakes tested, the freon replenished, the wheels changed and aligned, the steering wheel oiled, the windshield wipers replaced? Do you "feed" the right kind of fuel it needs to operate at its best? And after you do all of these things, how do you feel when you drive your car? Do you have peace of mind knowing that it will get you safely to your destination?
But what happens when you ignore your car and you ignore its needs for regular tune-ups? The answer is pretty simple. The car breaks down and what would have cost you hundreds will now cost you thousands and what would have taken two or three hours to take care of now takes days.
Why would you expect your body to be any different? When you ignore your body's needs, it too breaks down. It goes into a state of dis-ease and when the body is not at ease, illness takes over. All ailments from more frequent or longer-lasting colds, to digestive issues and ulcers, to heart trouble to depression to cancer become fair game. True, it doesn't happen overnight but it happens much faster than you might think because everyone is dealing with so many different things these days and in all areas of their lives, from financial stress and worries about the future, to bad lifestyle habits, to too many responsibilities, to negativity in general. All these factors start to manifest themselves first on the emotional and mental levels in a person's body then on the energetic level which leads to blockages in the body's energy flow and finally they reach the physical level and show up as various diseases.
Creating and committing to a self-care routine is one crucial way to fortify your body against the assault of all these external factors. I mentioned above that self-care doesn't have to be time-consuming. All it takes is the equivalent of 20 to 30 minutes a day which you can spend doing something for you, that you truly enjoy, that gives you pleasure and that recharges your battery. It could be a massage or a get-together with close friends. It could be a new outfit or watching your favorite comedy. It could be a walk in nature or a nap. Whatever it is for you, do it. Honor yourself and those you love and do it. Commit to a routine and stick to it and before you know it, you will feel better about yourself and you will feel better about life.

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