14 Ways to Start Taking Better Care of Yourself


Why does it seem that at times when we most need to take care of ourselves, we let self-care go right out the window? Or maybe that's just me. That's what I did in my life pre-cancer. I'd get so wrapped up in life and work and the stress of both that I'd totally forget to take care of myself. 

And that's the worst possible time for us to neglect ourselves, isn't it? When we're involved in a stressful situation or working under a deadline.

I'm sure you've all done it too. Rescheduled doctor and dental appointments because you were too busy. Ignored little aches and pains rather than going to the chiropractor or, heaven forbid, getting a massage. Eating something quick on the run rather than sitting down and eating something healthy, or skipping meals altogether. Using coffee to keep you powered up throughout the day rather than making sure you got a good night's sleep the night before. Postponing that vacation, or that dinner with an old friend. Staying inside all day. Sitting for hours at a computer without walking around, stretching, or even going to the bathroom until your bladder is screaming. 

Once I recovered from cancer surgery, I knew I had five to six months of chemotherapy ahead of me. I was fortunate enough to be able to take medical leave from my job; and my primary focus became taking care of myself and my newborn daughter. So, aside from managing the side effects of treatment, how did I take care of myself?

I started eating healthier, and taking the time to make healthy choices rather than decisions out of convenience or time restraints.

I began taking vitamins and herbal supplements, paying attention to my digestion, thyroid, immune system, bones, circulatory system and organs.

I kept in regular touch with my primary care physician, reporting any changes or symptoms in my body.

I became more mindful, paying more attention to my mental health. I started setting aside quiet time for meditation and reflection.

I read more books for pleasure.

I tried to practice deep abdominal breathing several times during the day, whenever I thought of it. (Like right now. Go ahead ... try it.) 

I scheduled regular massages, for lymphatic drainage as well as to sooth my achy joints and stretch my atrophied muscles.

I went to bed earlier, savored sleep whenever I could get it. Kept devices out of the bedroom.

Rather than a rushed shower in the morning, I took bubble baths after our daughter was down for the night. 

I started drinking more water, and largely replaced coffee with green tea.

I enlisted the help of a Pilates instructor and had her give me private lessons to get me in good enough shape to join group classes.

I spent more time with friends, became more social.

I started writing more.

I became more grateful, thanking the universe every day for all that I have been given.

And I'm still doing all of these things, for the most part.

It has occurred to me more than once that I'm doing the things for myself that I should have been doing all along. I did not have to get sick to make self-care a priority, but that's basically what happened.

What is a better investment than one's self? Because if we fail to do that, none of the rest of it really matters, does it? 

My hope is that if I'm given a second chance at life, I don't ever again become complacent.

Every day that I have here is a gift, and I want to make the most of it.

What about you?

Image via Mark Montgomery

emotional health, healthy habits, natural health

9 Comments

To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

butte... butterflyfreak

Thank you for another beautiful post!

lucky... luckygirlyo

Seven years ago, I was in a car accident. 6 yrs ago-I started taking much better care of myself. I had stalled in my recovery. Now? I can honestly say I'm doing well.

kcanela kcanela

@joanna . I can't even comment about the blog. Wtf ? Thanking the universe? That's weird

t0vanal t0vanal

Great post!  all things that are so important but always get pushed aside in the rush of life.  This just reminds me of what my real focus in life should be-- not my chores, job, or errands but taking time to take care of me.

pinkm... pinkmadge

Love this post.  Getting enough sleep and drinking enough water are HUGE, as is being grateful.  :)

lynge... lyngerdam

I had thyroid cancer in 1998 - kids were still young. It brought me up short and made me realize that I needed to slow down, take control of the family schedule and take care of me. I also learned to be very grateful for simple things like 10 fingers that work and can carry things. I am grateful for good parking places. But most of all, I am grateful I learned to seek peace. Most of the time, I have it at home, sometimes it's manic inside my head and I need to seek that peace I know I can find with deep breathing and prayer. God Bless you and Keep you as you go on this journey.

Michele Lopez

I am trying to get more sleep!

nonmember avatar Melanie

Hi there!

I have a quick question about your blog! Please email me when you get a chance.

Melanie

sally... sallyjohnson48

Thanks for this post! I will keep these tips in mind. My sister has been having thyroid problems. She is currently looking for a <a href="http://www.hypothyroidnews.com">thyroid specialist in los angeles</a>. I will tell her about these ideas. Great post, keep up the good work!

1-9 of 9 comments