100% Self-Care Plan
If you were given $100 a week to feed your entire family, how much of that would you use to feed yourself? Change this question and replace it with emotional support and care. How much of the 100% energy you have at the start of any given day do you give yourself? What does self-care mean to you? What does self-love mean to you? Perhaps write these things down and then add your own definition. Then, determine how much of these things you are giving yourself so that you are also well taken care of.
There is great honor (and importance) in taking care of the needs of others and something we should all do. I just know far too many people who extend themselves too much and don’t have enough left in the tank for themselves. This can lead to exhaustion, high stress, lack of sleep, depression (despite the good feelings of being there for others) and even anger, resentment, and self-shaming. I am not saying everyone feels these things, but I know many who give so much that they feel beaten down and don’t know how to give to themselves, or have any energy left even if they wanted to, so they do something even more egregious… they beat themselves up more than they already are for giving away so much of their precious energy.
If this in any way describes you, it is time to take some self-care inventory. Going back to the question above about $100 a week to feed your entire family, how much are you eating of that $100? Or, think of the battery level on your cell phone. At what percentage do you recharge it? Do you let it drop all the way to 10% or lower before you plug it in? If this is your self-care approach, it is probably going to catch up to you if it hasn’t already. If you live with a health condition like I do (dystonia) where self-care is paramount, your battery needs recharging more often than the average person. AND if we don’t do this for ourselves, the health condition will do it for us, which will not be pleasant. We must implement self-care tools before everything hits the fan and we reach a point of no return.
I like to be active, but at times I also need to rest because my dystonia and pain can overwhelm me. For many years, I felt guilty if I took a break and rested during the day because I felt like I was wasting time and being lazy. Even though my dystonia symptoms required that I rested, I still felt guilty because it is not my nature to be idle. I was not comfortable doing what I perceived as “nothing.” It was not until I changed how I looked at it and realized that doing “nothing” was a form of self-treatment and care that was vital to my health. I also realized that I didn’t do enough “nothing” for the vast majority of my life, which kept my mind and body in constant overdrive, creating a chronically stressed, unhealthy state. To learn more about self-care and coping with the many things that accompany life with dystonia and other health challenges, please get a copy of my book, Diagnosis Dystonia: Navigating the Journey.
For me, self-care includes eating well, exercise, quality sleep, stress management, massage therapy, listening to music, resting by the pool or at the beach, meditation, prayer, avoiding toxic people, refraining from activities and events that overtax my body, taking breaks from my computer and phone, walking in the park, reading inspirational books, watching my favorite movies and TV shows, and spending time with people who lift me up.
It also requires setting boundaries and learning to say no, and to follow my intuition as to what is best for me regardless of what others think. I know this is a tough one for most of us, but with anything, with practice it becomes easier AND is very empowering. When I realized the benefit of my self-care activities, I am now more comfortable doing these things because I value how much they improve my life. Please be good to yourself. You deserve it.
Tom Seaman is a Certified Professional Life Coach in the area of health and wellness, and author of the book, Diagnosis Dystonia: Navigating the Journey, a comprehensive resource for anyone suffering with any life challenge. He is also a motivational speaker, chronic pain and dystonia awareness advocate, health blogger, volunteer for the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) as a support group leader, and is a member and writer for Chronic Illness Bloggers Network, The Mighty, Patient Worthy, and The Wellness Universe. To learn more about Tom, get a copy of his book (also on Amazon), or schedule a free coaching consult, visit www.tomseamancoaching.com. Follow him on Twitter @Dystoniabook1 and Instagram.