A caretaker by nature, I have filled my adult years with making others happy. I’ve arranged countless activities, events and vacations, I’ve changed my passions to match those of my significant other, I have sacrificed time to “help” (probably enable) a friend who suffered from substance abuse, and I have otherwise compromised my own physical and mental health in the process. “Self care” was foreign terminology to me until recently, when I have finally slowed down enough to realize that I cannot take care of others if I don’t take care of myself.
What is self care? It isn’t just the obvious… showering and getting dressed. We can do that with our eyes closed! True self care takes a conscious effort to make sure our body, mind and soul are nourished. Cheryl Richardson’s “The Art of Extreme Self Care” provides a framework for beginning to make ourselves a priority in our own lives. Richardson teaches principles such as proper sleep, nutrition, and how a bit of planning, pampering, and relaxation can contribute to a balanced life.
Having learned the value of valuing myself, I now fill my free time with comforts such as coffee and birdwatching, and with healthy activities including exercise, a Mediterranean diet, and journaling. I am true to myself before I take on responsibility for others. I am energized and confident because I know that what I have to offer comes from a nourished soul, not an exhausted one.