This week a regular patient of mine and I were chatting and she said: "But Keila, I don't have time to exercise, and take my vitamins, meditate, walk, stretch, journal or any of that stuff!".
This also wasn't the first time I'd heard this phrase. Often, it's me saying it in my own head.
Maybe you've got stuck in the "Busy" trap. It sounds something like, "So, what've you been up to?" "I've just been soo busy!". Newsflash: We're all busy! We're all stressed!
This bouncing around from one activity to the next is exhausting. We end up eating on the run, not exercising, becoming sleep deprived and getting short with our loved ones.
It is no big secret that stress is associated with insomnia, anxiety, depression, heart disease and even periodontal disease. Yet, we become addicted to that feeling of being indispensable, needed and useful.
While the notion of "self-care" may seem self-indulgent to some, really, it's a lifeline. Creating a plan for self care is really about creating practices that benefit your well-being, be it socially, emotionally, spiritually, physically, mentally or financially.
Taking time out for yourself allows you to show up more effectively, confidently and rested in the rest of your life. It's about self-preservation.
I like to break down self care into three parts:
1. Physical. This should include some daily movement, regular visits with your health care providers, healthy balanced meals, water, plenty of sleep.
2. Mental. Getting things off your chest via talking to someone, journaling, creating a plan.
3. Emotional. Spending time alone to process, as well as being social. Finding an outlet for our emotions that is constructive.
I often recommend that my patients create a list of activities that they can do to take care of themselves, from each of these categories.. and then schedule some Non-Negotiable Time with themselves to do some of them on a regular basis. Scheduling is key. Treat it like any other commitment and show up on time.
Here are some basics to get you started:
1. Take a 30 minute walk outside, alone or with a friend
2. Turn off the TV, phone and computer
3. Take yourself out for lunch or a coffee
4. Read a book for fun
5. Work out
7. Call up a friend to catch up
8. Prioritize sleep. Set a regular bedtime and waking time.
9. Spend less time with people that drain you
10. Take a class, join a choir or a team
If we can't set aside time for self-care, then we really have to look at our priorities. What can we delegate, or let go of? Really, if we can't care for ourselves, what's the point?
The question isn't about not having the time or being able to afford to take care of ourselves. It's about using the precious time we have because we can't afford not to take care of ourselves.
Naturopathic Medicine is really all about self care. As a physician, I teach people how to take good care of their bodies and minds, whether it is improving their diet, getting good quality sleep or acting as a sounding board. In many cases, a combination of herbs, supplements and acupuncture can do wonders for that sense of burnout. That same feeling that can drive us towards disease. The bottom line: can you afford to feel sick, tired, and burnt out? I know I can't.
If you are interested in improving your energy, getting a good night's sleep and feeling better, you can schedule a free health strategy session with me here.
Grab your FREE copy of my Calm the F Down Self Care Guide here.
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Dr. Keila Roesner is a Naturopathic Doctor. When not treating patients she is also an enthusiastic barefoot-strolling, music-loving, yoga-doing kitchen wiz - who also happens to be a wrestling fan.