Shellharbour City Library

The Importance of Self Care

Let’s face it, life can get pretty hectic. Kids, grandkids, work, even husbands can be demanding of our time. Some days I have a ‘to do’ list a mile long long. It’s no wonder there isn’t much time left to take care of ourselves. However, self-care is fundamental to our well-being, physically, mentally and spiritually. That’s why when #MichelleWorthington of #ShareYourStory suggested #SelfCareSeptember, I was on board straight away. My calendar for September seemed reasonably clear after a full August with my book launch of ‘A Lighthouse in Time’ and all the events associated with that. So I was looking forward to a quieter September. Time to relax, unwind, breathe. It is too easy to be on the go and run ourselves into the ground. By the end of August, I was mentally and physically exhausted and I had finally succumbed to a winter cold. I’m not complaining, I enjoyed every minute of the month and I would do it all again, but I need to learn to pace myself.

The first of the new month arrived faster than expected, I logged onto Facebook and immediately breathed a sigh of relief. Michelle’s first self care task was easy, Read! Take time out during your day to read. No problem. As an author, I always do that. Day 2, Nap, perfect, any excuse for a Nanna nap in the middle of the day. Day 3, Visit a friend. I did that too, even though it was included in a visit to Shellharbour City Library for an author talk. This was going great so far. Then it all started to unravel. I missed day 4, managed day 5, Meditate, well, I justified that one with my daily walk listening to all the sounds in the bush. I enjoy my walks with Snowy and sometimes when my grandson comes along , even better. It is time to slow down, breathe the fresh country air, relax and listen to the birds high in the gum trees and watch out for kangaroos and echidnas.

After that, forget it, I meant well, but just didn’t seem to get around to it. I glimpsed Michelle’s posts each day, liked them, even laughed at some of them, but did I take heed, no, life was too busy as usual. I try to walk our dog everyday or simply stop and watch the kangaroos grazing in our yard. I consider myself lucky to live in this beautiful country region.

That’s the problem, we always have good intentions, we always say we will look after ourselves, then we find excuses. I’m too busy, the kids need me, I just need to finish this bit of housework, the bills need to be paid, I have to shop, someone is waiting on this email reply, I promised to write this review, the list goes on. I have come to realise, I have to learn to say ‘no’, I can’t do everything and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with having some self care time.

As most of you know, hubby is working overseas in PNG for a couple of years. We do our best to make this work with home visits as often as possible. During September he realised at the last minute that he had a long weekend and asked me to book him a flight home. Naturally, the flights out of Port Moresby to Brisbane were all full. I told him I could book him on a flight to Cairns then on a connecting flight home to Canberra, but instead he suggested I meet him in Cairns. This turned out to be the best result for his self care possible. After 4 days in tropical far north Queensland, walking trails through the rainforests, he returned to PNG looking more relaxed than I had seen him in a long time. It did both his mental and physical health the world of good.

So, I am going to make a promise to myself, and I urge you to too. Find and do at least one thing each day for yourself. Whether it’s reading a book for half an hour, taking a nap, binge watching your favourite show on Netflix, taking the dog for a walk, doing a gym or yoga class, cooking something special, or simply relaxing and watching the sunset, just remember to breathe and take a few moments in the day for you. It’s really that simple, you will be happy and healthy and everyone around you will be too.

What do you do each day to take care of yourself? Share it in the comments below.