My Word of the Year 2015: Self-Care

I like the way some people find an overarching word that really speaks to them and represents a theme of focus for the year ahead.  But most years I can’t narrow it down.

But this year … by George, I think I’ve got it!!  SELF-CARE.  

Most days, I think I’m fairly good at balancing family, work, friends and community.  I don’t typically feel like I’m overextended and try hard to keep us from being too heavily scheduled.  Definitely the work hard, play hard mode.  We have lots of fun and I wouldn’t trade a thing.    Except for one small problem.  Somehow I fail (forget?) (ignore?) to tend to those things that are specifically for ME.

Things that in isolation seem small – annual physical, dentist visit, OB/GYN exams, eye exams, time for an exercise class, attending a small group at church, important personal paperwork, personal finance stuff that isn’t on autopilot.

For someone who gets an incredible amount done, when I made a list of the personal ‘stuff’ that I had neglected, ignored or underinvested it – well, let’s say that it was a little long.  So this then became a two-parter.  (1) realizing that this is not a good, healthy pattern that I want to live and model for my kids and that I want to do better and (2) the root cause analysis (because this is me!)  WHY?  I am known for ‘getting stuff done.’  What’s going on here??

The answer is not TIME.  I think, for me, it would be more honest to say that its about PRIORITY.  About believing that investing the time to be the best person I can be – physically, mentally, spiritually – deserves to be high on my priority list, not dead last.   And aside from being the right thing, it also just makes logical sense.

  • Instead of the simple preventive care checkup, I might become ill.
  • Instead of the basic eye exam with some darn over-the-counter readers, I might end up with headaches that keep me from reading (which I love.)
  • Instead of taking care of the paperwork I needed, another quarter/year/more goes by without starting toward that personal goal that required me signing up for something.
  • Instead of feeling renewed and relaxed from a yoga class, I might instead be tense or agitated.

You get the idea … yeah, so do I.  No need to sabotage my health and happiness by neglecting important ‘me’ things.  I have an incredibly supportive family who I know wants me to take care of these things, and will flex to help me make things work.  But my mental ordering of what’s important will have to shift.

I do well in some small spaces of self-care – I make an effort to enjoy the morning quiet to read and journal.  Spending time with friends.  So that’s a good start to build off of 🙂

Not exactly sure of the tactic I will follow, but I’m going to try.  Wish me luck!  And if you are reading this and can see traces of yourself, join me!

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