100% Self-Care Plan

February 7, 2020

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.

We must implement self-care tools before everything hits 
the fan and we reach a point of no return Click To Tweet

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 NetworkThe MightyPatient 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.

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14 responses to “100% Self-Care Plan”

  1. Julie says:

    Chronic overdrive. That’s what has been happening.
    Thank you, this was very informative. I’ve been addicted to social media on my phone, mostly. I will be up unto 3:30 a.m. without even realizing it, and even when I do realize it, the urge is so much stronger because, hey, I’m up anyway. Having someone say “put it in the other room” does not help. I have wanted to hire a babysitter or something to get me to bed on time, at lease the first 1 or 2 days. Unfortunately people think that’s “weird” so not many want to do it. But thank you, I will be listening to this again!

    • Tom Seaman says:

      I think what you describe is a challenge for a lot of people nowadays, so in my opinion, nothing about it or what you want to do for help is weird. I would also be happy to help if you want to do some coaching sessions. We can set up a free consult to discuss it if you would like.

  2. Kay Denny says:

    Thank you so much for this article Tom. I have such a problem with ‘self care’. I remember about 30 yrs ago I was told I needed to ‘nurture’ myself. I lost my mom (she died in childbirth and was buried cradling my deceased infant sister) when I was 8, all grandparents by age 15, and my dad at age 20 (he was an alcoholic). My childhood ended at age 8 and I became a caretaker and later a codependent an caretaker. I’m so in need of taking care of ME. My health is failing and I’m pushing so hard to stay above ground. You are such a blessing! I’m printing this, and putting it in front of my computer where I spend 8 hours a day! Sending a hug of gratitude!

    • Tom Seaman says:

      You are very welcome Kay! I am so glad this came at a good time for you. I can’t even begin to fathom or say how sorry I am for having to endure so much at such a young age, let alone as an adult. My goodness. Please please please take time for you. If anyone deserves it, it is you! Maybe to help with this is to plan the night before or the beginning of the day, what you will do for yourself that day. And then at the end of the day, do a summary of your day to see if you did it and if so, celebrate yourself. If not, no beating yourself up. Instead, think of how you can do things differently the next day so your needs are met.

  3. Griselle Barbosa says:

    Thank you so much Tom for sharing this information about self care. It helps me a lot
    with my day to day handling of my Dystonia.I am also sure it is helping a lot of more patients.

    By reading this today, I became aware that I still have to work on accepting that I need to take care of myself first if I want to take care of others or even function on a day to day basis.

    • Tom Seaman says:

      Thank you Griselle. I am so glad to hear this was helpful. I think for a lot of us it is a daily challenge to set aside time to take care of ourselves. It is very easy to forget to do. I try to add self-care to my daily schedule so it hold me more accountable to myself, which then allows me to give more to others. Thank you so much for your comments and best wishes.

  4. Hi Tom: We have known each other for many years now and I must say that your wisdom continues to feed my soul.

  5. Connie Mason says:

    I love Tom Seaman. Like an excellent gardener, he tends the soil of my heart and life by feeding my mind, heart , body and soul with his sincerity and rich words of wisdom . A true friend. Thank you for all the deposits of good you sow into my soul by sharing your thoughts and life experiences with me and the infinite numbers of others you help everyday. I thank God for allowing me to know you.
    Gratefully,
    Connie

    • Tom Seaman says:

      Hi Connie! It is so great to hear from you! I am truly grateful and moved by words that come from someone such as yourself who described me just as I would describe you. We are both blessed to know each other. Thank you!

  6. Anne says:

    Hi Tom I have read your book and followed you for awhile, but have a quick question. I can’t remember if in the book you said exactly what medication you found success with? Obviously I realize we are all different, but I’m always looking for other’s ideas and stories. I was on Trihexaphenidyl for a long time but weaned off it a year ago, and now I’m worse…. I do take some natural supplements but who knows if they’re doing anything. I appreciate your response, Anne

    • Tom Seaman says:

      Hi Anne. I discuss medications in the book, but the specifics are left out because what I have taken has changed over the years depending on various things I am going through at the moment. I take plenty of supplements as well, which I find helpful for my overall health, which then correlates to better pain and symptom management.

  7. Sue Burge says:

    I was diagnosed with cervical dystonia at 22, I’m 54 now. I took care of both my parents my entire life until my Dad passed in 2018. Since then my cervical dystonia has progressed rapidly to blepharospasm and oromandibular dystonia. I think I’ve lived my life in a constant state of anxiety and I know it needs to change. I’m working on it and begin to see a therapist Feb 18th. I bought your book and plan to read it soon.

    • Tom Seaman says:

      Hi Sue. I am so sorry about the passing of your Dad. I know of so many people who had a re-emergence or exacerbation of symptoms after the passing of a loved on. Trauma can have very damaging affects. In my book, please read the section on stress, specifically the part about the freeze response, which discusses information about trauma, and feel free to reach out anytime of I can help in any way.

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