I’m a mother and protector by nature. Even before having my daughter I’ve always been the one in the group who makes sure to plan things, check in on your health, worry about you… And then worry some more. As I trained for the Nike Woman’s 15k I wanted to train hard and be a true leader for our group. That meant extra training for me and tons of text, email and phone call encouragement for my team.
As we cruised into week 7 I started to feel a strain in my foot worse than usual. Having pins in my hip means I always have pain all over my leg, so when I notice something more it’s usually really bad. I can shush off quite a bit of pain, I hate to complain, but when I got to kilometer 5 on our 7k group run I had to stop short. Being me, I really didn’t want to give up, I tried to walk it off, even traded shoes with one of my teammates to see if that would help at all but the pain became so intense I had no choice but to stop. By the time I got back to our meeting spot my foot had began to swell. Swell enough that putting my shoe back on after icing became too difficult.
When I finally admitted that there was something wrong I made a rush appointment with the chiropractor who has literally saved my athletic life. From fixing my pregnancy carpol tunnel (yes, it’s a thing) to getting me back to walking after crazy hip strains, Rachel is my savior. The only problem is I always go too late. I wait until it’s the last moment to fix something that could have been avoided if I had just taken the time to stop being a hero and start giving myself a little bit of love.
I’m mentioning this today because I seem to be surrounded by women (and some men) who are just like me. We fix everyone else in the world before fixing ourselves. Fill our family and friends with love, compliments and support and never stop to give ourselves even a minute.
Self care is one of those things that’s harder to do than you think but man is it important. How can we be there for our families and friends if we’ve worn ourselves out?
I recently read something on this very subject that really stood out to me:
“Remember the oxygen mask instruction you hear on an airplane. “In the event of an emergency, please put on your oxygen mask before assisting others.” Only when you are well, can you be there for someone else. Proper self-care is your oxygen.”
To be there for everyone you have to first be there for yourself.
Here are a few things I’ve learned and am trying to slowly implement into my life:
1. Ask for help and take it when it’s offered. It doesn’t make you weak, it makes you smart! People want to help but sometimes they just need a reminder.
2. Put your name on your daily list – schedule yourself into your life. Even if you literally have to put yourself into your calendar to ensure that you’re going to take a second for you, do it. Start booking off even 5 minutes of ‘me’ time, close your eyes and shut off or use that time to book those appointments you’ve been avoiding that you know will make things better for you.
3. Self care is a journey with no destination, it isn’t a goal or a target, it evolves just like you do. I got this from THIS awesome article (no. 5)
4. Further to number 2, meditate. This is something I’ve never been good at, my mind reels at even the thought of it, but with practice I’m finding more peace.
5. Eat and move regularly – and not just to fit into your favourite jeans. Since having a kid I’ve found myself putting so much effort into meal planning for my family and getting my girl to gymnastic, modern movement, ballet and etc that I many times find myself shoving my face with her disgarded mac and cheese. Remembering that it’s important to be fueled and fit for more than just vanity reasons makes it easier for it to be a lasting part of your lifestyle. But trust me when I say, I feel you, it isn’t easy.
Take care of yourselves my friends.
Please share any insight or tips that you have, I am so not an expert, just an observer.