We’re a busy people, and a lot of us take a lot of pride in that busy-ness. I know I certainly have at times, and I still struggle at the times I consider myself to be “not busy enough.” It’s a badge of honor to be busy. It means we’re making use of our time, doing something with our lives, whether we’re taking care of the Self at the same time or not.
But that comes at a cost. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services:
“U.S. health care spending grew 5.8 percent in 2015, reaching $3.2 trillion or $9,990 per person. As a share of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, health spending accounted for 17.8 percent.”
And in 2016, PBS reported that annual spending rose to $10,345 per person.
All that money represents us not feeling well. Missing work. Missing time with family and friends. Missing out on our lives.
We have excuses for why it’s inevitable. We have to care for our families, we can’t miss work, and so on. And I understand that. It’s a fine line we walk in this society.
But I don’t think all the stress, sickness, and sadness is inevitable. The self-care movement is gaining steam, and if you look at Instagram on the weekend you’ll see lots of photos of people with their feet propped up, citing #SelfCareSaturday as the reason.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, because I’ve been needing a lot of self-care. My move back to the States has been a little bit wild for my mind. It’s such an adjustment, and it’s requiring a lot of essentials that I need to pin down: a move, a car, a home, along with so many variables and unknowns. This is exciting, for sure, but it’s got me running. And with all that running, I’ve been neglecting myself. My workouts and yoga practices have been cut short. I haven’t been going on many fun excursions. I’ve let me mind wander when I should be disciplining it to the here and now. I’ve had more than one savasana turn to nap.
I know the dangers, and sure enough: over the course of a couple of months, I’ve had a sore throat, then a cold, then a stomach bug, then another cold. Illness like that is so very rare for me, so to deal with it one after another like that is alarming. Then I started getting this nagging sort of pain in my stomach: not nausea, just total discomfort. Stress.
It’s a bit frustrating and embarrassing, because I KNOW how to prevent this. I know how to deal. I know what I should be doing. But like I wrote about a few months ago, sometimes it’s hardest to do yoga when we need it most.
So this week, despite running from car dealership to car dealership, I’ve reset my focus on self-care.
We often think of pedicures and margaritas, or maybe some Netflix and a nap, when we think of self-care. And this might be true for you. Sometimes it is for me. But taking care of the Self means something different for all of us. It’s important to figure out what it is that makes you feel nurtured and recharged.
I also believe that taking care of the Self goes beyond diet and exercise and pampering. We have to take time to tune in to what our bodies are feeling, because they offer so much information–but when we’re hustling around, it’s really hard to hear. I think we need a few minutes alone, be it in meditation or yoga, because that gives us time to listen. We can slow down long enough to ask ourselves, “Do I really want a pedicure or a glass of wine?” so we’re delivering the type of care that we truly need.
This morning, I woke up extra early to take a really long walk and have a nice yoga practice before I got started looking for cars or working. Later, we’re going to meet with some friends. I started the Healthy Reset, and it feels good to be taking care of my body that way after a few weeks at other people’s dinner tables, Vegas, and Easter candy. 🙂
Right now, that’s what self care looks like for me. Today, it feels good. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.