Self-Care: Can We Rank It Higher?

I’m nursing a low back spasm as I sit here writing this post.  Why?  I didn’t make the time to do my physical therapy exercises for the past few weeks.  I had the time but I didn’t make the time.  And now I’m in pain.  This led me to think about how I have been prioritizing my time for the past few weeks.

Why do we allow other things in life to take precedence over our physical and mental health?  Why don’t we have enough time to prepare healthy meals, exercise, socialize, relax, and sleep? 

There are always seemingly good reasons why we put self-care behaviors on hold.  But why do we rank these “good reasons” higher than self-care?  Do any of these reasons sound familiar to you?

 

Money

I have to have this job with the long hours and long commute because the money is good and that allows me to…

Provide for my family. 

Never worry about being poor again.

Buy nice things – they make me feel better about myself.

Survive – hey, I’m just getting by with this job!

 

Reward

I love my job – it gives me a lot of satisfaction. 

I feel engaged in my work.

I won’t be able to find another job like this.

 

Time

My children and spouse need me to attend to them. 

Between work and family, I have no time for myself. 

Commitment to my job means very little free time.

My elderly parent needs me – I have no time for myself.

 

So, is this it?  Are these valid reasons for putting our health on hold?  I would argue that they are not.  The balance is a house of cards.  When we never schedule time to take care of ourselves, our health suffers.  Compromised health impedes our ability to work and/or take care of others.  And then we are back where we started.

 

How do you make time if you don’t have it? 

Good question.  I would offer that there is always time.  Somehow, we have to rank our health as important as all of the other things we hold so dearly (our spouse, children, parents, job, etc).  So, let's make those hard choices. 

As long as we rank our health lower than work and care for others, we will never find the time to take of ourselves. 

I only share these thoughts since I struggle with this myself.  Life is precious and so very short.  So what on earth are we waiting for? 

 

Best to all,

Kathy

 

Katherine Isacks, Registered Dietitian, LLC http://www.brillianteating.com/ 

3 Responses

  1. RoseMary Wirfs
    Hi Kathy Appreciate your healthy "words of wisdom". Are females and males equally guilty of putting their health on the lowest rung of the ladder. I also continue to work on doing better with caring for my self. RoseMary
  2. J
    Kathy - I'm such a huge fan of multi-tasking! I love watching TV, and doing 20 lunges during commercial breaks. I love making time for a nice, hot bath, while reading a book - or making a meal while listening to an audiobook. Make a certain evening every week your "self care time", and don't let yourself schedule anything else in there - the time's already booked. You can't take care of others unless you're taking care of yourself. It takes an effort, at first, but your loved ones understand (and may follow your lead), and it's as important as anything else. Balance in nutrition AND life, right?
  3. Yeah, it's all about balance, isn't it?