Sunday, December 18, 2016

Self Care and Why You Need To Do It

Dear Reader,

It's time we talked about self care. This is important for normal people and for us spoonies. I know a lot of you don't invest in self care which is why we are going to have ourselves a little chat. Now you may be asking yourself, what makes this random blogger an expert? Well dear reader, I have lived with fibromyalgia and an autoimmune disease called CREST for over 5 years now. If I do not take care of myself daily and set up boundaries I get myself in a whole mess of trouble. Trouble equals a flare and me being in bed for days if not weeks. It is my goal in this blog to impart to you some of my hard-gained knowledge in the world of self care.

Go grab yourself a drink. Coffee or tea if that's what you need. Something stronger if that will help. I'll wait... Are you ready? Then let's do this.

Step One - Figure out the energy you have. In the spoonie community we call this our number of spoons. For my readers who might not be familiar with Spoon Theory you may find it here. Now your energy level should be what you can accomplish on a normal day. Not a full on emergency situation day. This is the energy level you have without being totally wiped out. The kind of day where you go to bed tired, not the kind of day where you literally fall into bed.

Step Two - Now that you have figured out what you can get done in a day, you need to prioritize your day. What must get done versus what you'd like to get done. These priorities might change from day to day. For example, must the laundry get done today? If you still have clean clothes to wear and you have more pressing matters, I'd put that on the "like to get done" list. It is very important you learn the difference between "like to get done" and "must get done." You are not Superman or Superwoman. There is no reward for getting it all done right this minute.

Step Three -  Learn to forgive yourself. I know you have been taught you must get everything done in one day and what you don't get done you must lay in bed and flagellate yourself over. I know, I know, we have been conditioned by society that we must put on this facade of a perfect life. Guess what, there are no awards for having the perfectly cleaned house or always helping out people when they ask for it. Which leads me to step four...

Step Four - The magic word. This is going to be a tough one. Deep breath and repeat after me. NO. Let's try it again. NO. Use this magic word (NO) to create boundaries for yourself. Your time on this planet is finite. Don't waste it all doing everything for everyone. You can't be all things. If you are running around trying to do everything asked of you, you will have no energy for yourself.

Step four is a very hard step. I get it. You want to be a good friend, a good sister, a good child. However, if you are constantly using your energy for everyone else and leaving nothing for you, your batteries will eventually just run down to zero. Then what? You can't do anything on a dead battery. Learn to set boundaries and take care of yourself first. This step is critical for self care.

Are you still with me? You've evaluated your energy, figured out the difference between have to's and like to's, learned to forgive yourself for not being superhuman, and learned to say no and set firm boundaries. Are we ready to move on?

Step Five - Recharge. What can you do just for you? This might be taking a bubble bath, or reading a good book with a glass of wine. Maybe going for a walk. Figure out what you can do just for you. I know you're used to putting yourself last, but this must change, dear reader. You need to put your own needs first. Now now, I'm not telling you to be selfish and never do anything for anyone else. All I'm saying is put yourself first, take care of what you need to do, including recharging your batteries. If you have energy left over after you've done what YOU NEED to do, then you can help others.

As to not overload you dear reader, I am going to leave it there. You can start practicing these five steps and see how it goes. Please report in on how you feel after practicing. You know I love to hear from you!

Do you have a recommendation on self care? Did I miss a step? Please comment below. I too am learning how to do this "self care" thing.

Until Next Time <3

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