I’ve never considered myself a caregiver to myself. I think of my role as my husbands partner and my dog’s custodial parent. In each case, I give my all to helping them and addressing their needs.
But that’s not how I have to feel about myself. No one is there to take care of me but me! I have one life, one body, and one chance to be the best I can be. It’s my duty to take the best possible care of myself that I can.
Too often, I put other people or other things in front of my own self interest. I sacrifice sleep, time, energy, or sanity for the sake of others… Like so many other women in my world. I follow the example set forth by my own mother — who would throw out her back to cook us a good meal, give us the food off her plate so that we’d feel full, and work three menial jobs just so my dad could go to a great university.
My mom never put herself first. She wasn’t acting as her own caregiver. Now, her health is poor even though she’s still very young! She had us when she was in her late teens/ early twenties – so she’s not even fifty yet but suffers from arthritis, chronic pain, and several digestive issues (which I suspect stem from malnutrition in her early life).
Even now she’s putting others needs before her own! As much as I want to grab her and shake her and have her take better care of herself, I can’t. Afterall, who am I to talk?
It would be hypocritical to wag my finger at her for choosing foods that are junky and just hurt her tummy when I do the same thing! I couldn’t ask her to listen to her body’s limits and not push to hard to avoid pain or injury when I do this daily!
The only thing to do is lead by example and be the change I hope to see in her.
I have to be my own personal caregiver and put my health and best interests first!
I’ll do this by first, by choosing foods by ability to fuel my runs and make me feel good. Second, by slowing down and enjoying the moment and third by easing into my training sessions and not pushing too hard too fast.
Are you your best caregiver?
Do you put others first instead of yourself?
What could you gain from self-care?